Airman Battle Uniform (ABU)Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) Close up

Airman Battle Uniform

2003 - Present

The Airman Battle uniform was first unveiled in the summer of 2003 as a prototype, developed by Tiger Stripe products and based on the Vietnam-era Tigerstripe. The uniform was designed with feedback and input from airman returning from Iraq who had been temporarily wearing the Army issued ACU's as a temporary uniform and with a few functional recommendations borrowed from older BDU's.

Unlike the BDU, the ABU is "wash and wear", requiring no ironing, and is currently offered in a summer and regular weight. Early variations of the ABU included an inner blouse "map pocket" that was later removed due to complaints about having to unbutton to access, sweat bleeding through into the pocket, and not being accessible when wearing body armor.

As DOD regulations mandate that uniforms must not melt when exposed to high voltage or fire, for some AFSC's, a 100% cotton variation of the ABU is issued.

On 2 October 2007, the Air Force began the issuing of ABU's to enlisted trainees at Lackland Air Force Base and the Class of 2012 at the United States Air Force Academy on 26 June 2008. Since January of 2008, the ABU has been issued to airmen deploying to CENTCOM, including Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. However, in 2010, the Army Multicam became standard issue for airmen deploying to Afghanistan.


MSgt James Tritle - January 11th, 2015 - 12:38AM

“This has to be the worst uniform in Air Force history. It's an awful display of service vanity that has no place in the Air Force. Wish it would go away for good!”