A number of countries participate in the National Codification System (NCS). They follow standardprocedures when assigning National Stock Numbers (NSNs) to products that are part of their defenseinventory. Each NSN is unique and represents a distinct product. An NSN is never reused to avoidconfusion.

What is NSN?

An NSN is used to represent a unique item of supply. NSNs follow uniformity in structure, length, and composition. An NSN is a 13-digit number. It is divided into two basic parts.

The first four digits are referred to as the NATO Supply Classification Group (NSCG) code. Within theNSCG code, the first two digits represent the NATO Supply Group. The second set of two digits identifies the NATO Supply Class.

The remaining nine digits are referred to as the NATO/National Item Identification Number (NIIN). In recent times, the NIIN has moved from being completely numeric to alphanumeric. This is because of the significant number of items that have been added to the system.

The first two digits of the NIIN represent the country where the item is manufactured. Having come up with the system, the United States makes use of “00” and “01”. Codes to other countries were granted according to the order in which they applied. Exceptions to this rule include Australia and the UnitedKingdom. Both were offered their codes ahead of others as courtesy. Numbers 02 to 10 remain unassigned to account for future use by the U.S.

The last set of seven numbers is regarded as non-significant. However, this set represents a unique item’s code number from any given country’s inventory.

Listed below are NCB codes for some countries.

12 - West Germany / Germany

13 - Belgium

14 - France

17 - Netherlands

18 - South Africa

20 and 21 - Canada

26 - Portugal

31 - Israel

37 - Republic of Korea

45 - Philippines

57 - Russian Federation

70 - Saudi Arabia

98 - New Zealand

99 - United Kingdom

Organization in Charge of NSN

NATO Codification Bureaux or National Codification Bureaus (NCBs) are responsible for issuing NSNs.Participating member states have their own NCBs. Membership to the NATO is not a prerequisite for countries to join the system. All NCBs operate as NATO organizations and oversee the NationalCodification System (NCS). The NATO Allied Committee 135 (AC/135) governs the NSN system.

History of NSN

The United States government implemented the NSN on September 30 1974. It replaced the FederalStock Number (FSN), which was in use from 1949 to 1974. The NSN system came into being as an expanded version of the FSN. Inventory in warehouses that dates back to before 1974 is typically stenciled with corresponding FSNs.

Example Codes

Take these NSNs into consideration:

  • 2350-01-110-4660
  • 2350-00-440-8810
  • 2350-00-485-9662

In these examples, the first two digits (23) represent the NATO Supply Group (Ground effect vehicles, motor vehicles, trailers, and cycles).

The second set of two digits (50) identifies the NATO Supply Class (Combat, assault, and tactical vehicles, tracked).

The third set of two digits denotes the country of the completed product’s origin. In these examples,“00” and “01” represent the United States.

The last seven digits are assigned to a single item of supply within each codifying nation. The examples above are for the following products:

  • 2350-01-110-4660 – M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV)
  • 2350-00-440-8810 – M108 Light Self-Propelled 105mm Howitzer
  • 2350-00-485-9662 – M109A1 Self-Propelled 155mm Howitzer