"We wanted to provide a uniform that the airman wouldn't need to spend a lot of out-of-pocket expenses to maintain," he said.
Feedback throughout the process was beneficial in adding new pockets on the uniform.
"We listened to the airmen's requests…they wanted pockets to hold small tools, and when they wear body armor, the existing shirt pockets are not accessible or usable," Allardice said.
The new uniform will have four pockets on the front of the shirt, a small pencil pocket on the left forearm and two pockets on the lower legs. Smaller pockets sewn inside the side and breast pockets can hold small tools, flashlights or cell phones.
The new uniform design is a pixilated tiger stripe with four soft earth tones consisting of tan, grey, green and blue.
The airman battle uniform will have a permanent crease and will be offered in 50-50 nylon-cotton blend permanent press fabric, eliminating the need for winter and summer weight uniforms.
The new uniform will “absolutely not” need to be starched and pressed, the general said. He added that in the long run it will save airmen money on dry cleaning costs.
“I tested this uniform,” he said. “I wash it, take it right out of the dryer and wear it. We don't want people putting an iron to it.”
The fit of the uniform was also a concern for airmen.
"We've taken the time to produce more sizes and tailored them for men and women," Allardice said.
The current projected mandatory wear date for the new airman battle uniform is fiscal 2011.