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Commonly Used Military Standards, Mil Spec and Mil-Std

Updated on January 8, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.

What is Mil Spec or Mil Std?

The military standard, mil std for short, is a term used interchangeably with military specification or mil spec.

Military standards or military specifications have been created for everything from the materials used by military contractors to the test procedures to the design requirements. Military standards, also called military specifications or mil spec, even reach down to the smallest details of product testing and acceptance criteria.

This article covers some of the most common military standards for materials, their testing, product quality, design and assembly.

Military Standards for Inspection and Test

MIL-STD-00453 is the military standard on radiographic inspection.

MIL-STD-202 gives the standard test methods for electronic and electrical components. MIL-STD-2165 outlines the testability program for electronic systems.

MIL-STD-220 outlines the method of measuring insertion loss. MIL-STD-413 is the standard for the visual inspection of rubber and elastomeric o-rings.

MIL-STD-45662 gives the original requirements for calibration systems; this has been replaced by ISO standard 10012-1. MIL-STD- 810 gives the military standard for environmental testing and engineering considerations for these tests.

MIL-STD-826 is the standard for electromagnetic interference testing. MIL-STD-1312 describes the test methods to be used with fasteners like bolts. This is separate from the test procedures used for fasteners used on aerospace products like aircraft or satellites.

Military standards were set by the U.S. Department of Defense or DoD to cover the materials, construction and test of anything built per government contracts.
Military standards were set by the U.S. Department of Defense or DoD to cover the materials, construction and test of anything built per government contracts. | Source

Military Standards for Materials

MIL-STD-1201 defines the grades of ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol. MIL-STD-140 was the standard for determining the normal loss for petro-liquids like gasoline and oil. MIL-STD-140 has been replaced with standards like MIL-BUL-2516 through MIL-BUL-2519.

MIL-STD-455 is the military standard for designating different types of copper and copper alloys. MIL-STD-417 gives the classification system for elastomeric materials like rubber and their tests. Military specifications for materials are not limited to military classifications of those materials. MIL-STD-753 describes the methods of inspecting, sampling and testing corrosion resistant steel.

Mil specs for materials have often been replaced with ASTM and SAE standards.

Military Quality Standards

MIL-STD-109 gives the quality assurance terms and their definitions as set by the United States federal government. MIL-STD-105 describes the sampling procedures and tables for inspection by attributes. Sampling procedures and the frequency of inspection are given in a table and determined by the size of each lot or the total number manufactured. For example, if two items are manufactured in a lot, at least one of them must be inspected.

MIL-STD-1235 is the standard for single and multi-level continuous sampling procedures. Continuous sampling is the term used to sample material or product created in a constant flow like fuel, powders and liquids. These military specifications for statistical sampling can fit into an ISO 9000 quality management system.

MIL-STD-1535 describes the DoD’s requirements for a supplier quality assurance program. Suppliers are rated based on their performance to quality standards, while the number of defects and reworked products are documented. Suppliers who continually deliver poor quality materials or products can be dropped as a supplier due to their poor performance against quality standards, even if they meet cost and schedule requirements.

Military quality standards are being replaced with ISO quality standards such as ISO 9001.

Military Standards for Mechanical, Electrical and Equipment Design

MIL-STD-469 gives the design requirements for military radar. MIL-STD-1295 gives the ergonomic design criteria for helicopter cockpits, especially the electronics and display portions such as the control panels.

MIL-STD-198 is the standard for selecting capacitors for electronic systems. MIL-STD-1474 sets the noise limits for army material.

MIL-STD-1472 is the general ergonomic standard for designing military systems, equipment and facilities. MIL-STD-1800 sets human engineering performance requirements for systems. MIL-STD-981 gives the design, manufacturing and quality standards for custom electromagnetic devices.

MIL-STD-200 is the standard for selecting electron tubes. MIL-STD-1246 gives the classification levels for product cleanliness and contamination. MIL-STD-1250 describes the DoD’s standard for corrosion prevention for electronic components.

Military Standards for Welding

MIL-STD-20 gives the terms and definitions used in other military standards with regard to welding.

MIL-STD-1216 is the standard welding procedure for constructional steel. MIL-STD-1261 describes the DoD standard for arc welding constructional steel.

MIL-STD-418 was the military standard for testing welded joints. This standard has been replaced by ANSI/AWS standard B4.0.


Military Standards for Paint, Coatings and Material Finishes

MIL-STD-1504 is the military specification or mil spec for abrasive blasting, which can remove paint and debris from surfaces like metal or concrete. MIL-STD-1303 is the standard for painting naval ordnance equipment.

MIL-STD-1516 is the code for coatings and finishes used on Department of Defense materials. MIL-STD-171E is the military standard for the finishing of metal and wood surfaces.

Aerospace and Aeronautics Mil Specs

Materials and products used in aerospace applications are held to a higher standard than those used on the ground. For example, MIL-STD-1523 gives the process for controlling for age for age sensitive elastomeric materials like rubber for aerospace applications. This is separate from the standards like MIL-STD-417 for rubbers and other elastomeric materials used in tanks, trucks and boats.

MIL-STD-1540 outlines the test requirements for space vehicles. MIL-STD-1515 is the military standard for fastener systems for aerospace applications.

MIL-STD-1757 outlines the lightning qualification test techniques for aerospace vehicles like planes and helicopters. MIL-STD-411 is the standard for aircrew station alerting systems.


Submit a Comment
  • Ken Javor profile image

    Ken Javor 

    5 years ago

    MIL-STD-826 for EMI testing was obsoleted in 1967 by the adoption of MIL-STD-461, which in various revisions is in use to the present day.


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