MIL-STD-130 Versions

The Military Standard 130 is the “United States Department of Defense’s Standard Practices for Uniquely Identifying Military Property”. Listed below are the revisions which have referenced quality standards for bar codes and how each revision pertains to bar code quality testing. These documents also specifically spell out how the information is to be encoded in the bar code.

There are several models of Webscan bar code verifiers designed to support all versions of MIL-STD-130 (L through N).  There are models for 2D Data Matrix as well as Linear 1D bar code grading. These systems will not only check bar code quality to the appropriate specifications but check that the data content is in accordance to the MIL-STD-130 requirements.

The MIL-STD-130L

  • For Data Matrix ECC200 bar codes on printed labels print quality is based on the ISO/IEC 16022 specification. Bar codes are to be within a 7.5 to 15 mil nominal x-dimension range. Grading is to be with a 5mil test aperture utilizing 45 degree illumination from four sides at 660 nm +/- 10.  The bar code should pass the ISO/IEC 16022 criteria with B grades or better.
  • For Dot Peened, Laser or Chemical Etched Data Matrix codes the SAE AS9132 specification is to be used. Grading is per AS9132 charts with a minimum cell size of 5mil unless the contract stipulated smaller but no less than 3mil cell size.
  • Acceptable encodation options for Data Matrix UID bar codes are in accordance to ISO-15434. Construct 1 or 2 formats are acceptable utilizing Application Identifiers (AI)(05), Data Identifiers (DI)(06) or Text Element Identifiers (TEI)(DD)
  • Linear Code 39 bar codes are to be within a 7.5mil to 15mil nominal x-dimension with an aspect ratio of 2.5:1 to 3.1:1. They are to be graded in accordance to ISO/IEC 15416 and should receive a ‘B’ grade or better.

MIL-STD-130L Change 1

Changes in this revision pertaining to bar codes and quality testing were;

  • The ISO/IEC 15415 standard is referenced as the quality standard for Data Matrix printed bar codes. ISO 16022 is no longer recognized as the print quality standard for labels.
  • Code 128 is added as a symbology to be graded in accordance to ISO-15416 specifications minimum ‘B’ grade to pass.


Changes in this revision pertaining to bar codes and quality testing were;

  • Rules for using ISO-15415 on printed labels were changed to allow the use of a single scan to acquire the overall grade. ISO-15415 dictates the use of five scans at angles of incidence to the imager at 72 degree intervals. This rule is supplanted by the MIL-STD-130 from this revision on.
  • Exceptions were added to allow the Symbol Contrast (SC) and Modulation (MOD) grading parameters to drop to a ‘C’ grade. All of the five other grading parameters must maintain a ‘B’ grade in order for the overall grade to pass.  Reporting from the verifier must be clear as to the exceptions.
  • Nominal x-dimension range for Data Matrix symbols in increased to 7.5mil to 25mil
  • Linear bar code verification gets an overall set of rules specifying the minimum grade be “B’s’ or better and with at a test aperture of 5mil and a light source of 660 nm per ISO-15416 quality specification

MIL STD 130M Change 1

Changes in this revision pertaining to bar codes and quality testing were;

  • For Dot Peened, Laser and Chem Etched marks a new standard the AIM-DPM-2006 quality standard is allowed. Grades must be ‘C’s’ or better with no exceptions.
  • Multiple angles of incidence are allowed for illuminating the mark, low angle 30 degree lighting from four sides, two sides north/south – east/west as well as from any of the single sides. Medium angle 45 degree illumination from four sides and diffuse perpendicular illumination from 90 degrees.
  • ISO 15415 also is reference as an acceptable standard for Dot Peened, Laser or Chem Etched codes utilizing the same rules as printed labels.
  • Lighting wavelength changed from 660 nm +/-10 nm  to 640 nm +/- 20 nm
  • The ‘DD’ data qualifier in ISO-15434 for Text Element Identifiers has changed to ‘12’


Changes in this revision pertaining to bar codes and quality testing were;

  • The AIM-DPM specification is now allowed along with ISO-15415, and AS9132 for all marking methods
  • Inspection wavelength for data matrix symbols is set at 650 nm =/- 20 nm
  • Diffuse or off axis illumination is added as a light source
  • A curved surface rule is added which states the data matrix code may not exceed 32 percent of the radius (16 percent of the diameter, 5 percent of the circumference)
  • GS1 IUID equivalents are allowed in lieu of ISO-15434 syntax utilizing the Function one (FNC1) character.
  • Linear bar codes get an exception for UPC/EAN codes to be verified with a 6mil aperture and a nominal narrow bar range from 10.4mil to 26mil
  • Linear bar code GS1 code 128 is added to the referenced symbologies to be verified under the same rules as Code 128 and with a 5mil aperture



To meet the requirements of MIL-STD-130, the data matrix symbol must meet one of the following quality criteria: ISO-16022, ISO-15415, ISO-15416, AS9132 or the AIM DPM quality standards. Webscan UID verifiers can accommodate any of these quality standards.


The AIM-DPM standard is appropriate for direct part marks, including Laser, Chem Etch, and Dot-Peen symbols.  It may also be used on labels, but it will accept some labels which are actually poorly printed.

UID Data Parsing and Checking (Validation of Data Content)

Webscan bar code verifiers parse and check the data content of the bar code and detect common errors such as:

  • invalid characters (such as lower case letters in a part number)
  • invalid data fields (such as the wrong number of characters in a CAGE code)
  • invalid overall format based on construct and data type (missing or unacceptable control characters)

The data content of the data matrix symbol must be formatted properly in order to comply with MIL-STD 130. The data must be formatted in accordance with ISO/IEC 15434, GS1 or HIBCC formats. Additionally there are different construct and data identifiers which are all checked when the option is enabled.

Several Webscan products, including the TruCheck DPM Tower, can verify UID bar codes. All of these verify the print quality, providing in depth analysis, of both components of the symbol, and also parses and checks for errors in the data formatted strings. Webscan verifiers perform complete analysis on both components, providing in depth information on each component.

TEI (Text Element Identifiers)

Text Element Identifiers are one type of data field tags used in MIL-130 compliant bar codes to describe which part of the data matrix symbol contains the part number, serial number, etc.  TEI’s are commonly used in the aerospace industry. The Text Element Identifier Library is maintained by the Air Transport Association of America (ATA).


For more information, visit the Official UID Policy Website.