The new Airman Battle Uniform is ready for production and will be available in fiscal 2007, said Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel...
The Airman Battle Uniform (ABU).
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The new Airman Battle Uniform is ready for production and will be available in fiscal 2007, said Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel.
Air Force Space Command will attempt to make the new uniforms available in January 2007, said AFSPC Command Chief Master Sgt. Ron Kriete.
Many factors were considered in developing the final uniform selection, with the concern for Airmen being at the top of the list, General Allardice said.
"We wanted to provide a uniform that the Airman wouldn't need to spend a lot of out-of-pocket expenses to maintain," he said.
Feedback throughout the process was beneficial in adding new pockets on the uniform.
"We listened to the Airmen's requests…they wanted pockets to hold small tools, and when they wear body armor, the existing shirt pockets are not accessible or usable," General Allardice said.
The new uniform will have four pockets on the front of the shirt, a small pencil pocket on the left forearm and two pockets on the lower legs. Smaller pockets sewn inside the side and breast pockets can hold small tools, flashlights or cell phones.
The new uniform design is a pixilated tiger stripe with four soft earth tones consisting of tan, grey, green and blue. The ABU will have a permanent crease and will be offered in 50-50 nylon-cotton blend permanent press fabric, eliminating the need for winter and summer weight uniforms.
The new ABU will “absolutely not” need to be starched and pressed, the general said. He added that in the long run it will save Airmen money on dry cleaning costs.
“I tested this uniform,” he said. “I wash it, take it right out of the dryer and wear it. We don't want people putting an iron to it.”
The fit of the uniform was also a concern for Airmen.
"We've taken the time to produce more sizes and tailored them for men and women," General Allardice said.
The current projected mandatory wear date for the new ABU is fiscal 2011.
"This is the uniform of the future," General Allardice said. "Eventually, when enough of these uniforms are manufactured, we will phase out the BDU and desert combat uniforms."
The only thing that needs to be determined is if patches will be worn, and the Air Force chief of staff will make that determination soon, General Allardice said.
Other authorized ABU accessory items:
(Information compiled from Air Force News Service and staff reports.)