Airmen Battle System – Ground Update

Back in May we published an article about the Air Force’s slow response to field an FR combat uniform. Well, it looks like there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. 2500 to 3000 ensembles consisting of jacket, pants, and combat shirt should be issued in February although officials don’t anticipate full fielding for at least a year. The Air Force is planning a much larger wear test of up to 10,000 sets next summer and fielding would follow from that. Why has this taken so long? Much of it has to do with the service’s desire to go their own way rather than just adapt Army or Marine FR clothing items by changing the clothing’s camouflage pattern. For example, sources tell us that development of the Airman Battle Shirt was stalled in order to integrate forearm pockets into the design. For a description of the entire ABS-G systems read this.

Additionally, efforts to field an Air Force variant of the IOTV have been stymied, and a completely new body armor system is under development. Naturally, the new armor will be in the Air Force pattern but no solicitation articulating requirements has been issued.


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