New Airmen Gear Nears

New Battlefield Airman Gear Nears: The Air Force expects to issue the airman battle system-ground ensemble—a new set of protective clothes and equipment optimized for airmen serving in ground roles in combat—around February for a testing phase of about 18 to 24 months. However, several airmen are already wear-testing it in Southwest Asia now. The ABS-G was created to fill an urgent operational need for airmen to be able to function effectively in ground combat operations. It is basically a tactical, fire-resistant adaptation of the current airman battle uniform, with coat, pants, and battle shirt that integrate with body armor. The new ensemble provides “the highest level of utility, comfort, and protection,” said Lt. Gen. Gary North, Air Forces Central commander. The Air Force developed it based on feedback from airmen in Southwest Asia. The ensemble will be unit-controlled equipment and will only be worn by select airmen based on their mission. (AFCENT report by SSgt. Andrea Thacker)