00s Vintage USAF Experimental Blue Tigerstripe Uniform Set

Regular price £850.00

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A magnificent and incredibly rare experimental USAF blue tigerstripe uniform set. 

Nearing the end of the BDU era, the late-1990s to early-2000s saw a boom in US Military uniform and camouflage development throughout all four major branches. In 2003, the Air Force began the development of their own, unique uniform and camouflage pattern which was loosely based on the Vietnam-era 'Tadpole Sparse' (TDS) tigerstripe pattern. The colour scheme was completely reworked into a blend of blue, grey, tan and a muted green. Additionally, the recently unveiled Air Force logo was also sporadically incorporated into the pattern.

The choice of a Tigerstripe pattern was intended to honour the heritage and history of the Air Force, however, the unusual colour scheme offered no concealment properties whatsoever and was largely developed as a public relations stunt. 97% of Air Force personnel had no use for effective camouflage, so, rather than concealment, the primary aim was to stand out and compete against the other branches who were concurrently developing their own unique uniforms. The remaining 3% would be expected to utilise pre-existing patterns such as M81 Woodland and 3-Colour Desert for use in combat.

When the 6-month long trials began in February 2004, only 700 Airmen and women were issued the new uniform which consisted of a jacket, trousers, polo shirt, belt, three styles of boots, a USMC-style 8-point cap as well as matching experimental rank insignia and name/branch tapes. During the trial period, a website was created for all Air Force Personnel to offer feedback and suggestions on the new uniform. Out of the 100,000 comments that were left, the most significant criticism was of the colour scheme which was compared to a Hawaiian shirt and the Smurfs. Additionally, a ‘Type II’ uniform was introduced which saw only one minor alteration to the jacket - with the addition of reinforcement patches on the elbows. Other feedback led to the replacement of the 8-point cap with a regular-style patrol cap due to its synonymity with the Marine Corps.

Ultimately, the experimental uniform was not successful, but elements from both the camouflage pattern and uniform cut were incorporated into the officially adopted ‘Airman Battle Uniform (ABU).

 

The set is in near-immaculate condition. The contract labels are missing and the name tape has been removed which has left a very light shadow. Otherwise, it is in mint condition with strong colours. All buttons, fittings and fixtures are present and working.

Flat garment measurements (inches):

Jacket
Chest: 48" (24" P2P)
Length: 28"
Arm: 24"
Shoulder: 19"

Trousers
Waist: 34"
Inside leg: 31" 
Outseam: 42"
Rise: 12"

All of our products are meticulously researched, inspected, precisely measured, and carefully washed and pressed.

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