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How Military Fastener Suppliers Support Our Goals Abroad

The United States Armed Forces is an expansive and complex organization, with over 1.3 million active personnel currently serving, bases located in at least 80 countries, and troops stationed in over 150 countries across the world. 

The U.S. Military’s mission abroad is vital to both ensuring U.S. national security and maintaining stability globally. Military missions range from policing, security, and law enforcement to humanitarian relief, rescue operations, and medical assistance in impoverished areas. At the time of writing, there are numerous inflection points in which the military, and the United States as a whole, have significant stakes. Areas of particular importance include tensions between Russia and Ukraine and between China and Taiwan. The U.S. military also plays a role in stabilizing global trade, which is of significant interest to the rest of the world.  

Ensuring that military personnel around the world are correctly supplied is of critical concern. The strength and success of the U.S. military, as well as the safety of personnel, is highly dependent not only upon recruiting and training the best people, but also on staying at the technological cutting edge. 

For this reason, sourcing of quality supplies that are sufficiently durable and reliable for military use, as well as complying with industry standards and regulations, is key. 

Why Military-Grade Fasteners Are Different 

At Fastbolt, we supply military-grade fasteners throughout the world. These fasteners are used to hold parts together and ensure that equipment such as vehicles and machinery retains strength and functionality. 

The term “military-grade” means that the products offer an exceptionally high standard of performance, able to withstand heavy use and the challenging environments in which they will be used. These products are made of hardwearing, durable materials such as alloy steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and superalloys. They may also be heat-treated or coated to enhance their strength and resistance to corrosion, pressure, and extremely high or low temperatures.

Military Standard (MS, also known as Mil-Spec) refers to a set of standards used by the U.S. Department of Defense to ensure that products meet the necessary requirements for application in a military context. The term is sometimes also used by suppliers and manufacturers outside the defense industry.  

Military Fasteners for Aerospace & Aviation

Aviation is a highly specialized area, and one in which the military has a particular focus. Because the failure of an aircraft or component part can be disastrous, military aerospace clients tend, understandably, to be extremely focused on the issue of flight safety.

Given the immense complexity of aerospace engineering and the intense conditions to which a military aircraft is likely to be subjected, including extreme pressures and both high and low temperatures, military fasteners for aviation must offer several specific characteristics. They must be resistant to corrosion and oxidation, light in weight, and extremely strong. In some cases, self-sealing and self-locking capabilities will also be required to ensure they do not loosen during use, which can be dangerous. 

In an aviation context, the term Army-Navy (AN) standards may be used. These broadly overlap with the Mil-Spec standards we discussed in the previous section. 

Certifications and Compliances for Military Applications 

Within the quality-conscious and highly regulated world of military-grade products and applications, various certifications and compliances are utilized to ensure that goods meet the required standards. 

  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Compliance: This oversees the manufacture and sale of defense-related goods and services. Fastbolt is certified as an ITAR company and all our products and property, both physical and intellectual, fall under the ITAR expectation.
  • Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR): This standard is required of companies competing for U.S. federal government contracts. Fastbolt is registered appropriately with the U.S. government to provide DFAR products, and all our products can be certified to this standard if required. 
  • National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP): This global cooperative accreditation program involves the processes applied to the product, as opposed to the product itself. Fastbolt is certified to provide services at this level.
  • AS9100D: Fastbolt has a quality management system (QMS) that complies with the AS9100 standardized QMS. Therefore, all parts and services offered by Fastbolt fall under AS9100D.
  • ISO 9001: This is an international QMS framework that guides quality processes for supply chains and manufacturers. It has become so closely aligned with AS9100D as to now be functionally considered part of the AS9100D system.

Fastbolt is certified for or compliant with all these standards, which allows us to provide goods and services to the U.S. military and related organizations. 

Traceability and Why It Matters 

Organizations such as the U.S. military must be able to accurately track and trace any and all parts that they source. In the event that there is a problem or fault with a part, that component must be able to be traced back to its origin. This ensures that suitable replacements can be sourced and helps to mitigate future issues, which is vital for ensuring ongoing equipment functionality and personnel safety. To guarantee traceability, it is essential to work with a reliable supplier. 

Trustworthy military fastener suppliers and other military contractors will apply methods such as First Article Inspections (FAI) to maintain quality control. In an FAI, the supplier evaluates an item (or sometimes more than one) from a production run to ensure the product meets the required specifications. They will produce a First Article Inspection Report (FAIR) to document the findings and prove that the product has been correctly assessed. A FAIR will also include traceability information should a problem arise with the product later. 

Ensuring traceability is also a vital part of the counter-counterfeit process, guaranteeing that military clients always receive authentic products of a high standard. 

Quality Control 

In military applications, equipment failures can be catastrophic, both in the context of precarious on-the-ground situations and larger strategic goals. This means that quality control is of the utmost importance. In the military, an equipment failure has the potential to lead to mission failure at a key point, cause an international incident, or—if not caught in development—set taxpayers back in terms of cost overruns.

For companies that provide sourced parts for government contracts, building and retaining trust must be at the heart of everything they do. In an industry where quality control is by necessity extremely high, failure to deliver on a promise puts all future possible contracts at risk. A failure could lead to consumers no longer choosing to purchase from that company, which is a significant branding issue. 

Learn More

The U.S. military carries out vital work across the world. In order to keep personnel safe, complete missions successfully, and continue to achieve its strategic goals in the areas of U.S. security and global stability, this expansive organization must have access to quality, industry-compliant equipment. As a leading military fastener supplier, Fastbolt is proud to support the U.S. military’s goals at home and abroad and to play a part in maintaining the supply chain of critical goods for our servicemen and women. 

If you are seeking a trustworthy and reliable supplier of military spec fasteners, the knowledgeable and experienced Fastbolt team will be pleased to advise you. Please contact us for more information. 

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