History of NADCAP
Prior to Nadcap, aerospace companies audited their own suppliers to their own process requirements to verify compliance. As the processes that suppliers were providing to their customers were often similar to or identical, the customer requirements were comparable. Consequently, these duplicate audits were redundant and simply added to everyone’s workload, without adding value. For the Aerospace Prime contractors, conducting their own audits similarly meant duplication of effort, redundant audits, unnecessary administration and, ultimately, higher cost for no added value. Then, in November 1989, a US Government/Industry Equal Partners Conference recommended a consensus solution to the duplication of supplier process control system audits and in July 1990, the Performance Review Institute was incorporated to administer the Nadcap program.
What is NADCAP?
The National Aerospace and Defence Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) is an industry-managed approach to conformity assessment that brings together technical experts from both Industry and Government to establish requirements for accreditation, accredit Suppliers and define operational program requirements. This results in a standardised approach to quality assurance and a reduction in redundant auditing throughout the Aerospace industry because Prime contractors, Suppliers and Government representatives have joined forces to develop a program that:
• Establishes stringent industry consensus standards that satisfy the requirements of all
• Replaces routine auditing of Suppliers with one approved through a consensus decision-
making process of members from the user community.
• Conducts more in-depth, technically superior critical process audits.
• Improves Supplier quality throughout industry through stringent requirements.
• Reduces costs through improved standardisation.
• Utilises technically expert auditors to assure process familiarity.
• Provides more frequent audits for Primes, fewer audits for Suppliers.
How a NADCAP accreditation works
The Nadcap process typically begins with a notification from a customer to the Supplier that they should attain accreditation, although some companies choose to pursue Nadcap accreditation without prompting.
The Supplier contacts PRI to request the audit, which is scheduled according to the timeframe and content expectations of the Supplier and the customer. An appropriate auditor is assigned. Nadcap auditors typically have over 30 years’ experience in their field and are contracted after a rigorous selection process into which the Primes and Suppliers input.
After the audit, a report is submitted electronically via eAuditNet, the Nadcap audit software program. The Supplier has an opportunity to respond to any non-conformances identified and the report, with responses reviewed by the relevant PRI staff engineer. When the staff engineer is satisfied that the root cause of all non-conformances has been identified and sustaining corrective action has been implemented, the entire report is submitted to the special process task Group. This body of Nadcap subscribing Primes, who are also experts in the special process, verify the conclusion of the staff engineer and approve the audit for certification. At any stage, the staff engineer or Task Group may request more information before progressing the audit to the next stage.
The accreditation for Nadcap is an ongoing activity. Once initial certification has been issued, the next audit is usually automatically scheduled. Initial accreditation is based on a twelve-month cycle. However, the actual period of initial accreditation depends on audit performance.
Nadcap meetings take place three times per year and function as a forum for Nadcap Subscribers and Suppliers to ensure continual improvement in special process and product quality in the aerospace industry. All Nadcap participants are encouraged to attend the meetings to improve their understanding and experience of the Nadcap program. The meetings also provide valuable learning and networking opportunities. The meeting schedule, agendas and minutes are posted at pri-network.org/Nadcap/ in the Nadcap meetings section.
NADCAP Special Processes
The Nadcap program provides accreditation for special processes in the aerospace and defence industry, these include:
• Aerospace Quality Systems (AQS)
• Aero Structure Assembly (ASA)
• Chemical Processing (CP)
• Coatings (CT)
• Composites (COMP)
• Conventional Machining as a Special Process (CMSP)
• Elastomer Seals (SEAL)
• Electronics (ETG)
• Fluids Distribution (FLU)
• Heat Treating (HT)
• Materials Testing Laboratories (MTL)
• Measurement & Inspection (M&I)
• Metallic Materials Manufacturing (MMM)
• Nonconventional Machining and Surface Enhancement (NMSE)
• Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)
• Non-Metallic Materials Manufacturing (NMMM)
• Non-Metallic Materials Testing (NMMT)
• Sealants (SLT)
• Welding (WLD)
Aerofin & NADCAP
Aerofin Laboratories LTD is a privately owned laboratory established in 2006. Created out of the requirements of the NADCAP AC7108 chemical processing (CP) check list. To relieve load on chemical processing suppliers with the ability to outsource related chemical testing requirements to a NADCAP & ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.
Aerofin’s NADCAP Accreditation for independent test houses AC7108/4 checklist include:
• Solution Analysis in support of AC7108.
• Testing Performed Internally in Support of the Chemical Process Accreditation AC7108
• B03 – Metallographic Preparation.
• B04 – Microhardness Testing.
• B05 – Salt Spray Testing.
• B06 – Water Immersion / Humidity Testing.
• B09 – Taber Wear Testing.
• B10 – Adhesion Testing (Adhesion Tape Testing).
• B11 – Adhesion Testing (Scratch and Chisel Test).
• B12 – Adhesion Testing (Bend Test).
• B13 – Coating Weight Testing.
• B14 – Conductivity Testing.
• B15 – Resistivity Testing.
• B16 – Coating Thickness Measurement.
• B20 – Porosity Testing.
• B21 – Paint Colour and Gloss Testing.
• B22 – Solvent Resistance Testing.
• B23 – Other Testing.
Full scope of accreditation and certificate of accreditation can be found at aerofinlabs.com/approvals/.
Aerofin Laboratories will be attending the NADCAP meeting in London 27th -30th June 2022.
To organise a meeting please contact Alex French (Operations Director) on +44 1278 785131 or via
We look forward to seeing you there.