Sunday, July 3, 2011

Air Force Airman Battle Uniform Developments

U.S Air Force Photo by SGT. May
No the ABU is not changing its stripes, but it will get cooler and easier to wear in hotter climates. 

The Air Force Times announced the so called IABU, will be released in Spring of 2012 and feature the 50/50 NYCO fabric with a Ripstop weave as currently used in the Army ACU. 

This change drops the weight from the previous Airman Battle Uniform by 1 ounce per square yard. This can certainly add up, especially for the bigger boys where more yardage is needed. 

This looks to be the only improvement, which great in perspective to the previous option, it does not build upon other shortcomings. The camouflage failings were acknowledged as the IABU will not be worn outside the wire in Afghanistan, but if it does not work there for Battle, where will it work? The colorway is very derivative of the ACU and in the photo seen here doesn't work nearly as well as the Army's MultiCam, even in a Djibouti rock pit. Yet, they are still doubling down with the Digital Tiger Stripe.

DriFire Air Force Combat Shirt
Its reported that new recruits will first received the IABU, and other Airmen will have to buy it on their own dime to replace the current heavier uniform. MultiCam will be allowed only for those in the Air Force working outside the wire in Afghanistan, and will be donned on the so called Airman Battle System-Ground Uniform. 

Essentially multiple uniforms will be utilized once everything is rolled out, but the only one that is "Battle Ready" is focused on Afghanistan only. One would hope analysis has been given to possible future areas of operation for Airman, but developments seem to come on an as needed basis, which may provide horrible lead times for delivery. 

DriFire has not wasted anytime in preparing uniforms in the OCP (MultiCam) option for the Air Force, and just recently posted full details on their Air Air Force Combat Shirt and Combat Pant. Unlike the IABU the DriFire Air Force Combat shirts are Flame Resistant and  moisture-wicking to alleviate swampy perspiration. 

The AF Combat Shirt seen here has all of the modern designs that you see with these style of Combat shirts including an extremely durable elbow system with padding pockets. We had shown a demand in a previous post on a quickly cancelled RFQ, but it is yet uncertain as to how these new products may be utilized by Airman, but the obvious OEF implication is certainly ever present when OCP is involved. 

The outlook on the current uniform that is needed is constantly changing. Lets just hope there is a method to the madness and "improvements" have an all around effect for safety and comfort, so Airmen can operate in the most efficient capacity possible. 

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