What Does a NSN Structure Look Like?

The aerospace and defense industry has an overwhelming amount of information including classification systems such as part numbers, NIINs, CAGE codes, USP numbers, and federal supply classifications. If you are doing business within the aerospace and defense industry it is important to familiarize yourself with all of the industry terminology as, without proper understanding, you may find yourself struggling to keep up with demand, or would be at a loss as to how to source a part.

Perhaps the most important classification system within the aerospace and defense industry is the National Stock Number system. The NSN system can be dated back to the WWII era wherein the military would use a specific component that had several different names depending on who supplied or manufactured the component. This made it difficult for the military to locate suppliers, or share items between the different organizational branches. An item could be in short supply in one location, but in surplus in another. To overcome this sourcing issue, the Department of Defense created the NSN system.  National Stock Numbers or NSNs, are 13-digit serial numbers assigned to all standardized items within the federal supply chain. All components that are used by the U.S Department of Defense are required to have an NSN, the purpose of which is to provide a standardized naming of components.

Also known as NATO stock numbers, NSNs are recognized by all NATO countries. The NSN can be further broken down into smaller subcategories, each providing classification information about the component. The first four digits of the NSN are known as the Federal Supply Classification Group. The FSCG determines which of the 645 subclasses an item belongs to. The FSCG is further split into the Federal Supply Group (FSG) and the Federal Supply Classification (FSC). The FSG is made up of the first two digits of the NSN that determines which of the 78 groups an item belongs to. The second 2 digits make up the FSC, which determines the subclass an item belongs to. The remaining 9 digits are made up of the 2-digit country identifier followed by the 7 National Item Identification Number (NIIN). The US for example,  has the country identifier, 00.

A manufacturer can not request a NSN as the item must first be formally recognized by a NATO country, military branch, or military contractors. Once the item has an official need within the federal supply chain, the DLA will assign a NSN. There are 10s of millions of NSNs that are applicable within the aerospace and defense industries. The Department of Defense produces the H2 cataloguing handbook that list every federal supply group and federal supply class. It is a handy reference guide to see what components fall under each FSG and FSC.

ASAP Purchasing, owned and operated ASAP Semiconductor, is a premier supplier of NSNs for the aerospace and defense industries. Our large inventory is conveniently listed on our website under various categories such as Federal Supply Groups, Federal Supply Codes, NIINs, and manufacturers. Our team of industry experts can help you find the exact NSN that you need. Visit our website, sales@asapsemi.com or call us at +1-714-705-4780  to source NSNs today.



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