Military and Defense

Durable, lightweight performance plastics that meet specifications for military hardware components

For decades, plastic materials have been specified for use in military hardware components found on missiles, tanks, submarines, fighter jets, unmanned aircraft, telecommunications systems, and other equipment.

To ensure consistent and reliable material performance, military specifications (MIL specs, ASTM specifications and/or SAE specifications) have been developed for a variety of polymers. In addition to standardizing minimum acceptable property values, these standards often specify acceptable shape conversion processes and appropriate uses for those materials.

In support of defense-related product manufacturing, Curbell Plastics is ITAR compliant company-wide and can supply you with plastic materials and fabricated plastic parts that require this compliance.

Benefits of Plastic Materials for Military and Defense Applications:

  • Grades available that meet flame, smoke, and toxicity requirements
  •  High temperature and low temperature capabilities
  •  Resistance to greases, fuels, and other chemicals
  • Toughness and impact resistance
  • Reduced weight
  • Reduced noise and vibration
  • Improved aesthetics
  • Sealing characteristics
  • Bearing and wear characteristics
  • Transparency

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.


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.



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.



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
  • Locking elements for fasteners
  • Radomes
  • Seals, valves, seats, gaskets
  • Spline couplings
  • Windows, covers, and cases


Due to its exceptional performance characteristics, PEEK is a popular material choice for military and defense applications, including seals, gears, electrical connectors, and portable missile fins. PEEK usage is also rapidly growing in space applications such as satellite components due to its resistance to high frequency radiation.

In addition to unfilled PEEK, 30% glass-filled, 30% carbon-filled, and bearing grades are available in standard stock shapes. Newer woven carbon fabric composite grades of PEEK exhibiting significantly higher strength (~100,000 psi tensile strength) and stiffness (~8.5M psi tensile modulus) are also becoming more commercially available.

Curbell offers PEEK materials in accordance with MIL-P-46183 and ASTM D6262-12 S-PAEK standards.

DuPont™ Vespel® Polyimide

DuPont™ Vespel® polyimide is a high-performance plastic material known for its broad operating temperature range and extreme wear resistance. For decades, DuPont™ Vespel® spline couplings have been utilized to connect rotating metallic shafts on military aircraft. These polymeric splines offer several advantages over their metallic predecessors such as being less abrasive to mating components, requiring no lubrication, reducing noise and vibration, and better accommodating misalignment in service.

Another application for DuPont™ Vespel® in military applications is as a self-locking nut element. DuPont™ Vespel® locking elements are often rated for use up to 450°F in threaded fasteners. DuPont™ Vespel® is also seeing growth in the space market due to its long-term reliability and ability to operate effectively in vacuum conditions.

Standard certifications for DuPont™ Vespel® polyimide include AMS 3644G and ASTM D6456-99. Note that these have functionally replaced the obsolete MIL-R-46198 spec.

Other Engineering Plastics

We regularly receive requests from military and defense contractors for a variety of other engineering plastic materials like nylon, Ultem®, acetal (Delrin®), PTFE, and PCTFE. Plastics are popular choices for seals, bearings, bushings, and insulative components.

They can offer many advantages over alternative materials including:

  • Reduced weight
  • Reduced noise and vibration
  • Self-lubrication
  • Resilience and impact resistance
  • Resistance to greases, fuels, and other chemicals
  • Improved aesthetics
  • 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 Status Notes
MIL-P-21922 Rev B Plastic Rods and Tubes, Polyethylene Superseded by MIL-PRF-21922C
MIL-PRF-21922 Rev C Plastic Rods and Tubes, Polyethylene Superseded by SAE AMS-P-21922
MIL-P-19336 Rev C Plastic Sheets, Polyethylene, Virgin and Borated, Neutron Shielding Canceled (no superseding spec)
MIL-P-22035 Plastic Sheets and Sheeting, Polyethylene Superseded by L-P-512 which has been superseded by ASTM D 2103
MIL-P-26692 Plastic Tubes and Tubing, Polyethylene Canceled (no superseding spec)
MIL-P-3803 Plastic, Polyethylene, Molded, & Extruded Shapes Canceled
MIL-M-19098 Molding Plastic, Polyamide (Nylon), and Molded and Extruded Polyamide Plastic Parts - Weather Resistant Superseded by MIL-M-20693
MIL-P-17091 Rev B Polyamide (Nylon) Plastic, Rigid, Molded Parts, Rods and Flats Superseded by MIL-M-20693 and L-P-410
MIL-P-46060 Plastic, Polyamide (Nylon), Rigid Rods, Tubes and Flats Superseded by L-P-410
MIL-M-20693 Rev B Molding Plastic, Polyamide (Nylon), Rigid Superseded by ASTM D 4066
MIL-R-46198 Resin, Polyimide, Hot Pressed or Pressed and Sintered Superseded by ASTM PS93, which is no longer active

Continue Your Research

Not sure which materials best fit your needs?

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, ASTM specifications, and/or SAE 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 material has special requirements related to flammability, fungal growth, corrosion resistance (salt spray), etc. Can you help?

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