To standardize the military products, the US Department of Defence (DoD) has introduced certain DoD MIL Specs. The purpose of these DoD MIL Specs is to ensure that all defence related products are manufactured as per a common requirement standard and similar defence-related objective. They should also have proper compatibility with logistics systems.
MIL-STD-129 is one of the major standards of DoD MIL Specs meant for uniform military marking for shipment and storage. Ammunition and other military equipments that are supplied through shipments are clearly specified in the MIL-STD-129 standard. Contractors who want to supply their products are mandated to follow the instructions as per the standard for the application of numbers, labels, symbols, tags, and colors to expedite handling during shipment and storage.
As per the DoD MIL Specs, the MIL-STD-129 standard has made shipment container labelling exercise a bit more rigorous. While one set of labels is required for unit and intermediate containers, and another set is mandated for exterior containers.
The MIL-STD-129 requirements for unit, intermediate and exterior containers are discussed as follows.
For Unit Containers:
Serial Number Barcodes are assigned by the manufacturer or the Government for identification or control and only then can be listed. The serial numbers for each item in the container should be in clear barcode format.
Every minute detail about the barcodes such as National Stock Number (NSN) Barcode, quantity, part number, contract number, item description, unit of issue, date of preservation, and method of preservation code should be listed in plain text format.
As per the MIL-STD-129 standard, Shelf life markings are a must for deteriorative items. The Shelf Life Markings indicate the date an item needs to be tested or disposed of.
For Exterior Containers:
Here the basic label format is similar to that of unit containers, however as per the DoD MIL Specs, there are a few exceptions. Like the Contract Number, NSN, and CAGE Code must be in barcode format. Also item description which was there in unit containers marking is not necessary here. Besides these, certain additional labels are also required which are summarized below.
Military Shipment Label (MSL): both the DoD and contractors are mandated to address this special markings using a bar coded MSL. This label includes barcodes for the transportation control number (TCN), Piece Number and to and from Mark-For address information necessary to route shipments to defense users. A 2D-barcode that encodes all of the data on the label for automatic process is also included in this MSL.
Direct-Vendor Delivery (DVD) Label: According to the MIL-STD-129 requirement standard, vendors are required to follow this DVD shipments standard address marking with bar codes format. This DVD label includes the NSN and composite barcode, requisition TCN, Unit of Issue, Condition Code, made up of Quantity, Routing ID Code, Unit Price, and finally the Distribution Code.
Serial Number Barcode(s): As per the DoD MIL Specs, "SERIAL NUMBER LIST INSIDE" should be clearly marked on the identification-marked side of the exterior container. If more than five bar codes are there, two serial number lists shall be provided instead of a single one. The first serial number must be placed inside the container while the second one should be in the packing list.
The intermediate containers follow the same rules as that of both the unit and exterior containers.