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
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.
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.
Take these NSNs into consideration:
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: