What does AN, NAS, MS and others mean?

Every industry tends to have its own set of acronyms and jargon to classify specific items in their fields. The aviation and aerospace industry is no different. In this industry, there are thousands of items under thousands of classifications, with hundreds more sets of rules and certifications. By having these acronyms and classifications, people working in the industry will have a smoother process of referencing such items and regulations. Below you’ll find a brief glossary of acronyms, many of which are used to categorize the standards of parts.

AS: Aerospace Standards; Created by the Society of Automotive Engineers, many military standards for aviation parts were replaced by AS standards. 

AN: Army Navy; This refers to a specification series that started in the early 1940s as a way of standardizing military items for World War II. This method was cancelled in the 1950s, but a few items with AN standardization have survived. 

MS: Military Standard; This standard started in the 1950s and has replaced the AN hardware series. In 1994, the Secretary of Defense canceled the MS series at the request of contractors needing to financially salvage parts, and yet many of the commercial companies continue to use MS standard hardware for all their products.  The cancellation caused the aerospace community many problems, and there was a rush to create new standards to replace the MS ones. 

NAS: National Aerospace Standards; This standard was put in use starting in 1941 and is handled by aerospace company, the Aerospace Industries Association. The NAS series is best known for its state-of-the-art, high strength, precision fasteners. In addition to all types of screws, nuts, and rivets, NAS standards define high pressure hose, electrical connectors, splices and terminations, rod end bearings, and many other types of hardware and components.

NASM: There are about 500 military standards that were converted by the NAS group to commercial specifications, but still retain the original MS part number. The spec that defines the part is NASM and then the numerical portion of the MS number. An example of this is the MS20426 rivet spec which went to NASM 20426, but part number stayed MS20426. 


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