By Tech. Sgt. Jess Harvey
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The new, Rip-stop Airman Battle Uniform (RABU), featuring a lighter nylon-cotton blend, will be available to Airmen at 16 U.S. bases and through AAFES online starting in June.
The wear policy for the light-weight RABUs will be exactly the same as for the ABUs. The only difference between the ABU and the RABU is the material.
The new material may be familiar to Airmen who remember the old summer-weight battle dress uniform or are familiar with the Army’s combat uniforms, said Senior Master Sgt. Kecia Uyeno, Air Force Uniform Programs and Policies superintendent. That’s because it is the same material.
The change to the new material will make the RABU lighter and cooler, but it’s also treated with a wrinkle-resistant finish, she said.
The RABU will completely replace the old, heavier ABU.
“All industrial resources are now producing only the light-weight ABUs with no plans to go back and produce the heavy weight ABUs,” said Uyeno.
The shift in production and distribution plans will enable Airmen to purchase the uniforms more quickly than in the past.
Instead of stockpiling them until there was enough stock to line shelves world-wide before they were shipped, “The inventory will be available to Airmen next month through AAFES on-line sales at http://www.shopmyexchange.com/ and at various state-side locations,” according to Uyeno.
“As a result, Airmen will be able to order and receive them during the summer months when they need them the most,” said Uyeno.
In-store priority was given to state-side bases based on their climates, mission and number of Airmen by the Uniform Executive Working Group, according to Uyeno. The group is made up of representatives from various agencies and receives input from the chief master sergeant of the Air Force.
The clothing sales locations to receive the uniforms first are:
Cannon AFB, N.M.
Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
Eglin AFB, Fla.
Goodfellow AFB, Texas
Holloman AFB, N.M.
Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
Keesler AFB, Miss.
Kirtland AFB, N.M.
Luke AFB, Ariz.
MacDill AFB, Fla.
Maxwell AFB, Ala.
Moody AFB, Ga.
Nellis, AFB, Nev.
Patrick AFB, Fla.
Tinker AFB, Okla.
“The plan for world-wide distribution is currently in development,” said Uyeno.