National Stock Numbers: An Overview

In industries as complex as aerospace and defense, there are countless parts and pieces of machinery in circulation. Manufacturers, buyers, sellers, and so on need to be familiar with each of them to do business. So how do entities in this industry navigate all these parts? One such way is through the NSN code system. An NSN, or National Stock Number, is a unique number given to a part that is commonly used throughout the federal supply system.

The system was put in place during World War II to help the Allies organize the large caches of parts they shared with each other. Rather than each allied country have a different name for a simple part, they implemented the NSN as a common language for the parts they needed. An NSN is a 13-digit code that includes the part’s Federal Supply Group and Class, its country of origin, and a unique code delegated to that specific part. An NSN is structured like this: 6240-00-357-7976. The first four numbers are the FSC, followed by the country of origin, and lastly the unique code. The code’s digits can represent a wide array of things from unit price to manufacturer, the physical characteristics of the part, and much more.

The NSN system is recognized by organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the U.S. government, and other governments throughout the world. Parts are given their individual NSN code by the Defense Logistics Agency of the United States. Codes are assigned after cataloging, a painstaking review process. During this process a part is named, assigned an FSG and FSC, its key characteristics are identified, and finally, the part is given an NSN.

NSN codes have made it markedly easier to track down the parts you need. For those parts, look no further than ASAP NSN Parts. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique NSN parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-714-705-4780.


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