TYR Tactical

USAF OCP Transition Update

As you know, Airmen have been wearing Operational Camouflage Pattern and MultiCam for years. Unfortunately, it’s been based on either duty position or command of assignment. Everyone else has been saddled with that travesty of a camouflage pattern, Digital Tigerstripe, since 2006. Lately, I’ve been hearing lots of chatter from industry that an announcement of an Air Force-wide transition to OCP was imminent. These slides discuss the issue.






It looks like the long pole in the tent remains buying the Legacy ABU inventory from Defense Logistics Agency. They still don’t know how much it will cost or how they’ll pay for it. This same issue held up transition from Woodland/Desert to Digital Tigerstripe.

An interesting aside is that Airmen call ACUs.”, “OCPs” because they don’t understand the pattern is OCP while the uniform is the Army Combat Uniform. I guess they’ll have to refer to it as the Airman Combat Uniform.

Briefing courtesy of www.facebook.com/AirForceForum.

34 Responses to “USAF OCP Transition Update”

  1. Strike-Hold says:

    I wonder how ABUs over-dyed green and / or tan would look? Maybe they could do that with the excess inventory and sell them off to African Partner Nations or something….

    • Turd Polisher says:

      I’ve been fighting this fight for over 10 years with various dyes on UCP.

      Green anything usually ends up badly.

      The best I found was Sandstone RIT for nylon, and Taupe RIT for anything else.

      Still sucks, just sucks less.

      I’ve heard anecdotal stories about Olive Drab spray paint in Afghanistan, which definitely simulates dirt.

      This is the easiest of the mods, and drabs it down at the expense of what little color differentiation was already present.

      Again, still sucks, just sucks less.

      The ABU thickness of the material would also be an issue in Africa.

      Wear out dates and walk away, it’s the only practical answer.

      • bloke_from_ohio says:

        They actually came out with a 50/50 NYCO ripstop ABU to replace the heavy twill version that was the initial issue uniform. That is probably what the R in RABU is referring to in the slide show. The “current gen” ABU is a lot like the old BDUs in terms of fabric and cut. It took them literally years to print the new pattern on the old fabric, but they did fix that problem eventually. I have not seen the old heavy ABUs in any MCS for a while now. I imagine the lighter version of the ABU is what DLA has boatloads of at this point.

  2. Jeff says:

    We should just go back to OD Green. It would be cheaper…

    • Bill says:

      Creating a new uniform vs using the one the Army already put the time, effort and $$ into?

  3. tictac says:

    There are various Reddit posts supporting the chatter. I know it’s just a uniform, but I can’t wait for the transition.

  4. 32sbct says:

    Very interesting. If/when the USAF transitions to OCP that will have a majority of the DOD in OCP. I wonder if that will start to exert pressure on the Navy/Marines to eventually move to OCP in the future? That would be in line with Congress’s wish or goal (not sure which one it is) of a single pattern for all services. We all wore the BDU back in the day. I would think there would be some significant savings by having everyone in the same uniform.

    • Buckaroomedic says:

      Remember “back in the day” when we all wore BDUs and one could tell which branch of service a person was by the color of their t-shirt?

      • harry lipschitz says:

        usmc and usn utility uniforms are trademarked and exempt from uniform transition

  5. Alpha flight 509 says:

    Just more tax money being spent so some general can get his star.

    • SSD says:

      Actually, this decision will provide the Air Force an actual camouflage pattern and save the taxpayers untold millions of Dollars.

      • kurt says:

        Not really Alpha. Congress mandated we look into this transition to bring all back into 1 uniform pattern to save money as SSD stated.

  6. Ray Forest says:

    Timeline 2 @48 months is just about the same cost as one F35. The rest can be saved by making the AF deployment conditions the same as the other services. Cut down on hotels and stay in tents like everyone else. No more In flight ice cream service on all USAF flights to include fighters. You can do it guys.

    • Willy J says:

      Like everyone else? I’ll assume you meant TDY, but I guess you forgot about the Navy, guard and reserve components that also do the same exact thing. Also, our deployment situations are mostly the same. We stay in tents and CHUs and all that other shit you guys do. We just operate at different places at our DL. You’re being a reverse snowflake, but you’re also uneducated, so that’s twice as bad.

    • Bravo Whiskey says:


    • DSM says:

      Yeah, my former service does open the door on itself to this discussion. I met my wife while in uniform and hearing her stories of “deployments” made me rethink my life’s choices and we were in the same service. I was in Security Forces so nothing more than a jumped up MP but even we looked at some of the BS like outsiders looking in.

    • Dan says:

      Funny, last time I deployed, the Marines had the hard billeting and we, the ANG, stayed in tents.

  7. rotorhd says:

    Ray, Ha ha ha!

    This is about time.

    The bluish & grey “tiger stripes” were a complete joke! What a classic DoD fiasco. No usable pockets. The material was way too thick / heavy. Let us not forget the pattern NEVER camouflaged any Airman anywhere in the world. What a waste of our tax dollars.

  8. DUSTOFF says:

    “An interesting aside is that Airmen call ACUs.”, “OCPs” because they don’t understand the pattern is OCP while the uniform is the Army Combat Uniform.”

    A lot of soldiers call the, OCP’s for the same reason.

    • SSD says:

      I’ve yet to see the issue called out in official documents like it has been in the Air Force.

      • Bloke_from_ohio says:

        Referring to the uniform and the pattern together as OCPs is reasonably entrenched in USAF culture at this point. That is what they were called on deployment reporting instructions as of at least 18 months ago.

    • Doug says:

      Actually … Lots of people call the ocp pattern acu’s …. Ocp’s because the acu uniform is still in regs ATM.

  9. DSM says:

    At least e original blue tiger stripes were killed early on. Look those up if you haven’t seen them.

    I remember the discussion when the ABU was in development about “body armor accessible pockets.” Our wear testers who mocked the color palette to no end were practically jumping on the tables for sleeve pockets as were several other of the various testers. One of the test team pulled a buddy aside and related the SNCOs poopoo’d it because of their stripes. The retort was do what the Army does with rank to which the answer was no basically. In the end body armor accessible pockets morphed into those lower leg pockets copied from the ACU.

    But, thinking about it now, we were the only service to maintain sleeve stripes on our utility uniforms beyond Vietnam. In a way that’s become a point of enlisted heritage. I’d be inclined to keep them there with provisions for Battlefild Airmen while on deployment. Anymore they’re wearing combat shirts under their body armor anyhow.
    Old school AF BDUs were gaudy with MAJCOM, unit and individual insignia so let’s not repeat that please.

  10. TSgt FE says:

    So the Air Force calls it ACU-OCP because the original ACU was that dumb gray digital uniform the Army wore previous to the OCP pattern. Also, it will be called ACU in the USAF also. It will switch from Airman Battle Uniform to Airman Combat Uniform. I think if there is an issue with the boot buy back, just keep the green boots for the Air Force personnel and the Army can wear coyote brown or tan. It looks fine either way and will save money. Also they should go with timeline 1, 36 month transition. No use waiting to start the process. About half the force has the uniform already from deployments and AFCENT made the wear of them mandatory starting this year anyway. Plus thanks to the Army, all the gear is available in OCP patterns/colors already, just have to purchase it, which again is already required thanks to AFCENT.

    • bloke_from_ohio says:

      They could always let airmen wear green, tan, or coyote depending on what they have on hand until the stock of green boots is exhausted. None of the above colors “clash” with the pattern nor would the hit to uniformity matter much outside the handful of times in airmen are in a real formation outside formal training.

      • Rob Hutchins says:

        Good point, use existing stock until exhausted and then transition to tan or coyote. I say once the decisions is made let those that have them wear them.

  11. Battlewear says:

    DLA is not the only shareholder of ABU’s and related uniform accessories. The Base Supply Stores and AAFES also carry heavy inventories to support AF deployments and resupply of uniform items.

    Further downstream from the issue and retail supply points are the manufacturers of uniforms, boots, and accessories. Sage continues to be produced in significant quantities to meet the daily demands of the USAF.

    And further downstream still, the supply chain for textiles, leather, components, and rubber among others are supplying sage for the end item manufacturers.

    The Army provided roughly a 3-year runway for the entire supply chain and Service to fully transition from UCP to OCP. I think they did it correctly and hope the Air Force follows a similar path. Am encouraged that there appears to be serious consideration in that direction.

  12. bluedevil says:

    Calling them ACU-OCP’s would be correct in that the cut of uniform is the ACU, and the pattern is OCP. Current Airmen wearing OCP’s are wearing it in the ACU-cut if I’m not mistaken. We would not be transitioning to OCP in the ABU-cut.

    Bottom line: It’s a change in pattern and a change in uniform-style. I will say it is interesting that the AF is not going to Scorpion like the Army…

  13. Bloke_from_ohio says:

    I guess it takes the better part of a decade and a half to fix a bad uniform decision in today’s USAF. The DoD had scorpion back in 2002.

    AAAAAIR POWER!!!!!!!

  14. cimg says:

    Air Force has to cover every piece of Velcro with some patch, you should see some AF flt crews in the OCP flight suits and the amount of patches they have on them. Crazy.

  15. JMN says:

    Pretty much anything is an improvement over the failure that is BDU v2.0, the ABU addressed none of the issues Airmen wanted and needed in a uniform. Don’t get my started on the atrocious “PT uniform”.