In the military and defense industry, durable and reliable equipment is essential for the safety of personnel and the success of missions. As such, all of the components that go into military and defense equipment—including fasteners—must be designed and built for robust and long-lasting performance.
Military-grade fasteners—also referred to as military specification hardware or military spec fasteners—serve several purposes in the industry’s devices and systems. Regardless of whether they are used in aircraft structures or unmanned drones, they must produce strong joints and/or leak-proof seals to ensure the sensitive equipment maintains its integrity in some of the most challenging environments. For this reason, these fasteners are subjected to strict industry standards that dictate their design and construction.
Elite Fasteners is an ISO 9001:2015-certified supplier of high-quality hardware. Our broad selection of military-grade fasteners consists of over 150,000 line items, including bolts, cap screws, inserts, nuts, pins, rivets, screws, and washers.
Properties of Military-Grade Fasteners
The performance standards expected of military-grade fasteners—like other military-grade materials—is exceptionally high to ensure that equipment works as intended throughout the duration of its service life. These standards necessitate that the hardware be manufactured to tight tolerances using various precision techniques and high-performance materials, such as aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel, and steel, depending on the needs of the particular application.
The construction materials employed significantly influence the performance of fasteners. For example, they may impart special material characteristics that affect how they interact and react with the application environment, such as:
- Corrosion resistance: This quality ensures fasteners maintain their integrity when exposed to the elements and/or corrosive compounds for a prolonged period.
- Temperature resistance: This quality allows fasteners to withstand exposure to high, low, or fluctuating temperatures. In military applications, fasteners may be exposed to heat from the environment (e.g., the sun) and manmade processes (e.g., combustion). Additionally, in aerospace and naval applications, they may be exposed to extremely low temperatures high in the atmosphere or deep in water.
- Pressure resistance: This quality is critical to many aerospace, naval, and ballistics applications. Similar to temperature, the pressure in these environments can be at high, low, or fluctuating levels.
- Durability: As indicated above, durability and reliability are essential in military-grade fasteners. They should be designed and constructed for a long working life under demanding operating conditions.
The performance expected of a fastener varies from application to application. As such, fastener manufacturers must carefully choose the right material for the given application requirements.
Applications of Military Spec Fasteners
Military-grade fasteners find application in the construction of a wide range of military devices, equipment, and systems, such as:
- Land vehicles
- Missile systems
- Ships and submarines
- Unmanned drones
As the failure of a fastener can lead to catastrophic consequences, these fasteners are painstakingly designed, constructed, and tested to ensure they meet higher quality standards than standard commercially available fasteners.
Types of Military Hardware
At Elite Fasteners, we maintain an extensive inventory of military-grade hardware, including:
- Bolts: Military bolts are threaded fasteners that require a compatible nut for installation. We offer bolts that meet AN, MS, and NAS standards.
- Cap screws: Cap screws are a type of screw that, when tightened in a threaded or tapped hole, form a secure connection between mated objects. We provide AN, MS, and NAS cap screws.
- Inserts: Inserts are fastener elements used to add threads to holes and structural support to the base material. We supply AN, MS, and NAS inserts.
- Nuts: Nuts are used alongside bolts to form a secure joint. Our nuts are available in several variations that meet AN, MS, and NAS standards.
- Pins: Pins ensure machine parts remain in alignment or connected to each other. We offer MS dowel and spring pins and a variety of AN and NAS pins.
- Rivets: Rivets are a type of permanent fastener. We distribute several variations of AN and MS rivets.
- Screws: Screws are fasteners that generally do not require the use of a nut to form a solid joint. We supply AN, MS, and NAS screws in a variety of styles and sizes.
- Washers: Washers are fastener elements used to support other fasteners. We offer several AN, MS, and NAS washers, including flat, split helical, and internal/external tooth washers.
Industry Standards for High-Performance Fasteners
Due to their employment in critical applications where even the smallest failure can lead to serious injury or loss of life, military-grade fasteners are subject to rigorous quality standards. Different sectors within the military and defense industry have different applications. As such, the requirements and restrictions they have for fasteners may vary. Some of the most common standards used in the industry are:
- Military Standard (MS): These standards are used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for fasteners (and other equipment) employed in defense contract work. It is also sometimes utilized by companies not related to the defense industry.
- National Aerospace Standard (NAS): These voluntary standards are used in the aerospace industry to ensure quality and precision in mission-critical components.
- Army Navy (AN): These standards are used for aircraft employed by the army and navy. They generally overlap with MS standards.
- Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Fasteners that comply with this standard are identified as having been fabricated using material sourced from the United States or other qualifying country or manufactured in the United States or other qualifying country.
While the exact specifications can differ from industry sector to industry sector and application to application, they all focus on ensuring the components provide safe and reliable performance in the intended environments.
Contact the Fastener Specialists at Elite to Order Your Mission-Critical Parts Today
In the military industry, durability and reliability are key to ensuring the safety of personnel and the success of missions. For this reason, it is essential to source quality materials that comply with industry standards—including fasteners—for military applications. If you’re looking for a reputable supplier of military-grade fasteners, the Elite Fasteners team is here to help.
At Elite Fasteners, we have a broad selection of quality hardware, including over 150,000 AN, MS, and NAS fasteners. All our products are available with full lot traceability and test reports to customer-specified requirements.
As an ISO 9001:2015-certified company, we are fully committed to ensuring the quality of each of our fasteners. This dedication to quality is demonstrated by our adherence to numerous industry standards, including:
- MIL-I-45208A, U.S. Standards
- MIL-STD-45662A NIST, ANSI-Z540-1, U.S. Military Calibration Standards
- ANSI-ASQC Z1.4-1993, MIL-STD 105, Sampling Procedures and Table