Use of Military Grade Steel in Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing

Industries like medical, aerospace, and defense are all highly regulated because they require extreme precision for the tools and devices they use. From operating rooms to flight decks, the parts and assemblies used in all these industries can directly impact people’s health and safety. In most cases, as well, full assemblies are expensive machines facing dangerous conditions. Better precision limits the risk of equipment damage while operating. For over 40 years, MultiSource Manufacturing LLC has worked with OEMs and other customers in the aerospace and defense industries to fabricate essential parts for cockpit instruments, flight deck video systems, cargo handling, space systems, rocketry, and more. There are many different materials used in aerospace and defense manufacturing, from specialized polymers like Teflon™ to military-grade steels. We work with trusted suppliers to source every type of material needed to build flight-critical components and other assemblies used in defense and aerospace operations.

Military Grade Steels

Military-grade steels are unique alloys of steel with specialized properties that make them more resistant to the hazardous conditions they face. Not only are military-grade steels used to protect against ballistics and in the fabrication of weaponry, but they are also used for space travel and research.

Steels Used in Defense and Aerospace

Abrasion-resistant (AR) and MIL steels are among the most commonly used steels in aerospace and defense manufacturing.

  • AR400: AR steels have high abrasion-resistant properties, making them much harder than other alloys. AR400 in particular, while still extremely durable, has a slightly lower hardness than other ARs. It has fair machining, good bending, and excellent welding properties.
  • AR500: As another abrasion-resistant steel, AR500 is also a durable and hard alloy. Its higher hardness compared to AR400 makes it suitable for high impact and heavy wear conditions. Even at lower temperatures, AR500 maintains its high resistance to corrosion and impact stress.
  • MIL-46100: MIL steels are also exceptionally hard alloys that are often used in armor plating and parts that will experience high impact scenarios. While hard, MIL-46100 still has good formability and weldability. It is lightweight and has extreme ballistic resistance.

Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Materials

  • MIL-12560: Another armor plate steel used extensively in defense and aerospace manufacturing is MIL-12560. This steel has some of the highest ballistic resistance and can protect against explosives and other heavy impact shocks.
  • MIL-46177: For lighter-gauge armor plating, MIL-46177 is a reliable military steel alloy. It’s often used in thicknesses from ⅛” to ¼”. MIL-46177 plates are made to have good mechanical properties for tensile and yield strength.
  • A36: This steel has less than 0.3% carbon weight, making it easy to machine, weld, and form with. As a general manufacturing steel, A36 is a cost-effective material. It has a minimum yield strength of 36,000 pounds per square inch, making it a flexible and useful steel in the production of a wide range of defense and aerospace parts.


For more information about the military-grade steel and other materials we use in aerospace and defense manufacturing, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC today at (952) 456-5500. You can also request more information or request a quote to get started with us.