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United States Military Specifications and Standards
In the United States, military contractors, commercial entities, educational institutions, etc., often purchase products to the requirements set forth by the United State's Military Test Specifications. These standards are often referred to using acronyms such as, "MIL-STD" Military Standard, "MIL-SPEC" Military Specifications, or (informally) "MilSpecs" Military Specifications. They representa set of very well thought out test specifications and procedures that are designed to achieve the high-quality and high-reliability objectives of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Testing to these standards ensures interoperability between products; consistency in electrical, mechanical, and thermal specifications; total cost of ownership; compatibility with logistics systems; and similar defense and commercial related objectives.
Below is some information and resource links that we have assembled at ES Components to help our customers quickly locate these specifications, and their related documents, such as defense handbooks and defense specifications.
Definition Of Document Types
Although the official definitions differentiate between several types of documents, all of these documents go by the general rubric of "military standard", including defense specifications, handbooks, and standards. Strictly speaking, these documents serve different purposes. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), military specifications "describe the physical and/or operational characteristics of a product", while military standards "detail the processes and materials to be used to make the product." Military handbooks, on the other hand, are primarily sources of compiled information and/or guidance. The GAO acknowledges, however, that the terms are often used interchangeably.
Official definitions are provided by DoD 4120.24-M, , Defense Standardization Program (DSP) Policies and Procedures, March 2000, OUSD (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics):
Defense Supply Center Columbus, OH
Below are links to some of the commonly referenced performance and test method specifications:
DSCC – Military Specification Website Links
Below is a direct link to the Defense Logistics Agency where you can search for MIL Specs and Drawings.
Type the document number in the search field (example: MIL-PRF-38535)
You may receive an alert from your search engine (Chrome, Explorer, …) because the DLA App site is NOT SECURE (not https).
To get the document, you need to proceed to the site from advanced setting.
Mil Spec and Drawings Search page:
Mil Spec and Drawings For Your Reference
MIL-PRF-123 (CAPACITORS, FIXED, CERAMIC DIELECTRIC, (TEMPERATURE STABLE AND GENERAL PURPOSE), HIGH RELIABILITY, GENERAL SPECIFICATION)
MIL-STD-750 (TEST METHODS FOR SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES)
MIL-STD-750, Method 2072 – Is no longer in this document, and can now be found in MIL-STD-750-2. The entire test method scheme has changed. MIL-STD-750-2 includes test methods 2001 to 2999.
MIL-STD-750, Method 2072, 2073 and 2074- On page ix, this document contains links to Test Methods 2072, Internal Visual – Transistor, Test Method 2073, Visual Inspection for die (semiconductor diode, as well as Test Method 2074, Internal Visual Inspection (discrete semiconductor diodes)
MIL-STD-202G Test Methods Standard Electronic and Electrical Component Parts This military standard establishes uniform methods for testing electronic and electrical component parts, including basic environmental tests to determine resistance to deleterious effects of natural elements and conditions surrounding military operations, and physical and electrical tests.
MIL-STD-883 (TEST METHODS STANDARDS FOR MICROCIRCUITS)
MIL-STD-883, Method 2010 – Begins on page 233.
MIL-PRF-19500 (TEST METHODS FOR SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES, DISCRETES)
Mil-PRF-19500 Appendix G – Begins on page 128. (Discrete Semiconductor Die / Chip lot Acceptance)
MIL-PRF-38534 (HYBRID MICROCIRCUITS, GENERAL SPECIFICATION)
Mil-PRF-38534 Appendix C - Begins on page 35. Element Evaluation begins with paragraph C3 on page 36.
MIL-PRF-38535 (INTEGRATED CIRCUITS (MICROCIRCUITS) MANUFACTURING)
MIL-PRF-55342 (RESISTOR, CHIP, FIXED, FILM, NON-ESTABLISHED RELIABILITY, ESTABLISHED RELIABILITY, SPACE LEVEL, GENERAL SPECIFICATION)
MIL-PRF-55681 (CAPACITOR, CHIP, MULTIPLE LAYER, FIXED, CERAMIC DIELECTRIC, ESTABLISHED RELIABILITY AND NON-ESTABLISHED RELIABILITY)
Please note that military specifications can change at any time
and always to be sure that the latest revision is being referenced.
C of C (Certificate of Conformance)
1. Original manufacturer’s name, address, telephone number and CagE number
2. Purchase order number
3. Part number
4. Drawing or specification number and revision
5. Serial numbers or date code or lot number (as applicable)
6. QA signature and date
7. Statement of conformance to all requirements
Note: The supplier shall also retain the C of C and all relevant supporting data on file for a period of time after completion of the purchase order.
GAGE Code (Commercial and Government Entity code)
A five-digit number assigned to a company to represent the company’s physical address. Formerly referred to as FSCM (Federal Supply Code for Manufacturers).
It is used for mailing, payments and administrative records. A vendor cannot do business with the government without a CAG E code.
COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf)
Any item of supply that is (i) a commercial item; (ii) sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace; and (iii) offered to the government, without modification, in the same form in which it is sold in the commercial
Date Code Restriction
Product must be manufactured within a specified period of time prior to shipment.
DFAR (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations)
Procurement regulations used by organizations in the Department of Defense. Also called Defense Acquisition Regulations (DAR).
DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement)
Interpretation and regulations specifically for Department of Defense Procurement. Supplements the Federal
Acquisition Regulations (FAR).
DFARS 252.225-7014, Preference for Domestic Specialty Metals, Alt l
Specifies that specialty metals must be melted in the United States or a qualifying country, or they can be melted anywhere but must be incorporated in an article manufactured in a qualifying country.
DLA (Defense Logistics Agency)
The Department of Defense (DoD) Agency responsible for supplying military needs. The Agency is headquartered at Ft. Belvoir, VA and maintains several Inventory Control Points (ICPs) including DLA Land and Maritime, DLA Troop Support, and DLA Aviation.
DLA Aviation (former DSCR)
Serves as the Aviation supply chain manager for the Defense Logistics Agency. They support major weapon systems and are one of the U.S. military’s integrated materiel managers for repair parts and operating supply items. They manage aviation parts, including spares for engines on fighters, bombers, cargo aircraft and helicopters; airframe and landing gear parts; flight safety equipment; and propeller systems.
DLA Land and Maritime (former DSCC)
Serves as the Maritime and Land weapons systems supply chain manager for the Defense Logistics Agency. DLA L&M is one of the U.S. Military’s largest suppliers of weapon systems spare parts, and they also manage the MIL Specs and Drawings for the DLA.
DLA Troop Support (former DSCP)
Provides United States armed services members with food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical equipment, and construction supplies and equipment. They also support United States humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
DPA (Defense Production Act)
Under authority of the Defense Production Act of 1950 and related executive Order 12656, the Commerce
Department is charged with identifying critical defense-related industries, assessing their capability to meet
peacetime and national security needs, identifying current and potential production constraints, and proposing remedial actions as appropriate. Title I of the DPA requires that: (i) contracts or orders relating to certain approved defense and energy programs be accepted and performed on a preferential basis over all other contracts and orders and (ii) materials, facilities, and services be allocated in such a manner as to promote approved programs, facilities, and services be allocated in such a manner as to promote approved programs.
DPAS (Defense Priorities and Allocation System)
The goals of the DPAS are to (i) assure the timely availability of industrial resources to meet current national defense requirements and (ii) provide a framework for rapid industrial expansion in case of a national emergency.
There are two levels of priority established by this regulation, identified by the rating symbols “DO ” and “DX”. All DO rated orders have equal priority with each other and take preference over unrated orders. All DX orders have equal priority with each other and take preference over DO rated orders and unrated orders.
DSC, DSCC, DSCP, DSCR
Former abbreviations for the supply Centers, which procure supplies for the Military. Each supply Center manages different types of items.
DSC = Defense Supply Center
DSCC = Defense Supply Center Columbus (Columbus, OH)
– now DLA Land and Maritime Maritime and land weapon systems support
DSCP = Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pa) – now DLA Troop support
–Food, clothing, medical, construction, and equipment support
DSCR = defense supply Center Richmond (Richmond, Va) – now DLA aviation
–aviation weapon systems and environmental logistics support
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
The electronic communications of business transactions; specifically the exchange of trade-related documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and corporate Electronic Funds Transfer (EFTs) in a standard format.
ESD (Electrostatic Sensitive Devices)
The devices supplied under contract shall be packaged in accordance with the latest revision of the MIL-STD- 1686 (Electrostatic Discharge Control Program for Protection of Electronic Devices) and MIL-HDB K-263 (ESD Handbook for Protection Parts, Assemblies and Equipments). Packaging shall be marked with an ESD cautionary note or symbol.
E-REL (Established Reliability)
A quantitative maximum failure rate demonstrated under controlled conditions specified in a Department of Defense specification and usually expressed as percent failures per thousand hours of test.
The probability of failure per unit of time of items in operation. Sometimes estimated as a ratio of the number of
failures to the accumulated operating time for the items.
Failure Rate Level Designation / Symbol
Failure rate (Percent/1000 Hours)
Note: Failure rates U and V require Group A and B inspection run on each production lot.
Failure Rate Substitution
V, u, s
V, u, s, R
V, u, s, R, P
V, u, s, R, P, M
FSG (Federal Supply Group)
The first two digits of a four digit federal stock class (FSC) and therefore, the first two digits of an NSN. It is the broadest categorization of an item.
Information contained on documentation may be subject to International Traffic Arms Regulations (ITAR) or Export
Administration Regulations (EAR) Controls and may not be disclosed to any foreign person(s) or firms, including persons employed by or associated with your company, without first complying with all requirements of the ITAR, 22 CFR 120-130 and the EAR, 15 CFR 730-774.
Some items at the DS Cs are required to be manufactured in accordance with a drawing. The drawing may have been designed by either a government agency or a commercial vendor. If a drawing is cited in the Acquisition Item Description (AID), the vendor is responsible for assuring the product offered meets the standards and requirements of the drawing.
MIL-HDB Ks are generally how to do documents intended to standardize and educate.
Some items at the DS Cs are required to be manufactured in accordance with a specification. The specification may be designated as a Federal Specification (Fed-Spec - applicable to all military services), a Military Specification (MIL-Spec - used by a specific service) or a commercial specification such as North American Specification (NAS ) or American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If a specification is cited in the Acquisition Item Description (AID), the vendor is responsible for assuring the product offered meets the requirements of the specification
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)
The average time a component works without failure. It is the number of failures divided by the hours under observation.
NIIN (National Item Identification Number)
The second of two main parts of the National Stock Number. The NIIN is a unique number with no two items having the same NIIN. An item can be tracked in technical files using just the NIIN. Contract files require the full NSN to track information.
NSN (National Stock Number)
A unique government tracking number assigned by the General Services Administration consisting of a Federal Stock Class (FSC) and a National Item Identification Number (NIIN). The number is used by requisitioners to identify the item needed and is associated with all buys related to that item. More than one part number may be associated with an NSN; however, all parts associated will have to be the same in form, fit and function.
Prohibited Materials (Tin Whiskers)
Unless otherwise specified in the product specification, material supplied meet the requirements of ANSI/J-STD-002, Category 3 Test Method A, B, or C as applicable. In addition, constructions and finishes containing pure tin are prohibited unless they contain a minimum of 3 percent by weight alloying element(s) (i.e. lead, silver, etc.).
QPL (Qualified Products List)
A list of pre-tested qualified manufacturers and products as they related to a specific military specification.
A solicitation specifying a QPL restriction requires contractors to supply only the source and part number
specified on the QPL list.
• Failure Rated QPL
–– Established Reliability product with a verified Failure Rate that has been qualified to a military specification.
• Non-Failure Rated QPL
–– Product without a verified Failure Rate that has been qualified to a military specification or drawing.
Single Lot Traceability
Items provided in accordance with this purchase order clause requires each shipment (i) be from only one OEM; (ii) be from one Manufacturing Lot; (iii) components that are too small to have the Lot Code marked on them are to have their packaging identified with the appropriate Lot Code marking / serial number. Also known as Single Lot Date Code (SLDC) and Date Code (DC).