Military and Defense

Durable, lightweight plastics for military and defense applications

High performance plastics are used in the construction of missiles, shipping and storage containers, tanks, submarines, manned aircraft, drones, telecommunications systems, and other military and defense equipment.

To ensure consistent and reliable performance, the plastics used for military applications must meet stringent performance requirements including: ASTM, SAE AMS, MIL, MIS, and Federal Specifications. In addition to defining minimum property values, these standards often specify acceptable extrusion, molding, and machining processes and appropriate uses for the materials.

In support of defense-related product manufacturing, Curbell Plastics is ITAR compliant company-wide with a comprehensive export controls compliance program in place.

Benefits of Plastic Materials for Military and Defense Applications
Formulations are available with the following characteristics:

  • Enhanced flame, smoke, toxicity, and heat release
  • Broad operating temperature range
  • Resistance to greases, fuels, and other chemicals
  • Toughness and impact resistance
  • Reduced weight
  • Electrical insulating characteristics
  • ESD properties to control static electricity
  • Outdoor weatherability
  • Low permeability to water
  • Noise and vibration damping
  • Moderate modulus for effective sealing
  • Friction and wear performance
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Transparency to visible light
  • Low dielectric constant and low dissipation factor for transparency to RF

Plastic Materials for Military and Defense Applications



High strength, stiff, low friction engineering plastic with good wear properties.



Outstanding strong, stiff, clear plastic available in a variety of brilliant colors and finishes.


CE Canvas Phenolic

Electrical grade phenolic sheet material with cotton canvas reinforcement.


DuPont™ Vespel® Polyimide

Extremely high temperature creep resistant plastic with excellent friction and wear characteristics.


G10/FR-4 Glass Epoxy

Glass/epoxy composite material with outstanding electrical properties.



Durable, versatile, low cost, abrasion and chemically resistant plastic material.

KYDEX® Thermoplastic sheets in various colors stacked and fanned out

KYDEX® Thermoplastic Sheet

High impact, thermoplastic sheet that is tough, durable, and easy to form.


LE Linen Phenolic

A composite sheet material that consists of electrical grade phenolic resin impregnated into layers of linen fabric.



Engineering plastic with outstanding strength, stiffness, and electrical insulating properties.



Strong, stiff engineering plastic often used to replace metal bearings and bushings.



Strong, stiff plastic with outstanding chemical resistance; performs over a wide range of temperatures.



Transparent, strong and stiff thermoplastic with outstanding impact resistance.



Low friction engineering plastic with outstanding chemical, high temperature, and weathering resistance.



Extremely tough abrasion resistant, low cost plastic, used for a wide range of wear applications.



High strength plastic with outstanding electrical and high service temperature properties.

Plastic Applications for Military and Defense

  • Avionics and instrument panels
  • Bearings, bushings, gears, cams
  • Cases for transportation and storage
  • Electrical connectors
  • Electrical insulators
  • Flexible tubing
  • Locking elements for fasteners
  • Radomes
  • Satellite / spacecraft components
  • Seals, valves, seats, gaskets
  • Simulator screens
  • Spline couplings
  • Windows, covers, guards


Due to its exceptional performance characteristics, PEEK is a popular choice for a wide range of military and defense applications including seals, bearings, and electrical connectors. PEEK is also used in military spacecraft applications due to its low outgassing behavior, transparency to RF, wide operating temperature range, and resistance to radiation.

PEEK is available in unfilled, glass-filled, carbon fiber-filled, and bearing grades.

Curbell offers PEEK materials that comply with ASTM D6262, and MIL-P-46183 standards.

DuPont™ Vespel® Polyimide

DuPont™ Vespel® polyimide is a high-performance plastic material known for its broad operating temperature range and extreme wear resistance. DuPont™ Vespel® spline couplings are used to connect rotating metallic shafts on military aircraft. These polymeric spline adapters offer several advantages such as being less abrasive to mating components, requiring no lubrication, reducing noise and vibration, and better accommodating misalignment of mating metal splines. DuPont™ Vespel® is also specified for the locking elements in threaded locking fasteners. DuPont™ Vespel® locking elements are often rated for use up to 450°F in threaded fasteners.

DuPont™ Vespel® is widely used in military spacecraft due to its long-term reliability, radiation resistance, low outgassing, flammability characteristics, and ability to operate effectively in vacuum conditions.

DuPont™ Vespel® is available in grades that can be certified to AMS 3644G and ASTM D6456. Note that these specifications have replaced the obsolete MIL-R-46198 spec.

Engineering Plastics

Curbell supplies a wide range of plastic materials for military applications including nylon, Ultem®, acetal (Delrin®), PTFE, and PCTFE. These plastics are popular choices for seals, bearings, bushings, and electrical insulators.

Plastics are available in formulations that offer many performance advantages including:

  • Reduced weight
  • Reduced noise and vibration
  • Self-lubrication
  • Resilience and impact resistance
  • Resistance to greases, fuels, and other chemicals
  • Transparency

Inactive MIL Specifications Reference Table

Specifications for engineering plastics, change relatively frequently. Some inactive specifications for military and defense we commonly see requests for are referenced in the table below.

Inactive Specification Title
MIL-P-21922B Plastic Rods and Tubes, Polyethylene
MIL-PRF-21922C Plastic Rods and Tubes, Polyethylene
MIL-P-19336 Plastic Sheets, Polyethylene, Virgin and Borated, Neutron Shielding
MIL-P-22035 Plastic Sheets and Sheeting, Polyethylene
MIL-P-3803 Plastic, Polyethylene, Molded, & Extruded Shapes, Sheets and Tubing
MIL-P-17091B Polyamide (Nylon) Plastic, Rigid, Molded Parts, Rods and Flats
MIL-P-46060 Plastic, Polyamide (Nylon), Rigid (Rods, Tubes and Flats)
MIL-M-20693B Molding Plastic, Polyamide (Nylon), Rigid
MIL-R-46198 Resin, Polyimide, Hot Pressed or Pressed and Sintered

Note: Many MIL Specs and Federal Specifications have been superseded by newer, updated specifications. View a more comprehensive list of MIL Specs and Federal Specifications here

Have questions about a material specification? We can help, Ask a Plastics Expert.

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Our experienced sales and technical teams are available to assist you with material selection challenges.


Can Curbell Plastics supply materials that conform to MIL specs, Federal Specifications, ASTM specifications, and/or SAE AMS specifications?

Can you provide the material certifications and documentation I need to support my military application requirements?

Can Curbell Plastics process orders that require compliance with U.S. export control laws?

My application has special requirements related to flammability, fungal growth, and corrosion resistance. Can you help?

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