The MA-1 and N-2B

In the 1960s, Alpha Industries became one of the biggest manufacturers for the U.S. armed forces. The company was known for several iconic styles, including the MA-1 flight jacket, L-2B flight jacket, and N-2B parka. They were all primarily used by U.S. Air Force and Navy pilots and air and ground crews.

The MA-1 flight jacket was first issued in the early 1950s, as a replacement for the B-15 flight jacket, and it went through various revisions over the years to improve upon its design. In 1963, the MA-1 jackets Alpha was producing had a sage green outer shell and reversed to a bright Indian Orange lining. This safety feature allowed downed air crews to be more visible to rescue groups. Intended for use in cold weather, the MA-1’s also had a warm wool interlining and wool knit collar, cuffs, and waistband. Alpha had also been producing the lighter weight version of the MA-1, called the L-2B, since around 1960.

Like the MA-1, the N-2B parka was introduced in the 1950s and had several major revisions to its design over the years. The version Alpha was manufacturing in 1963 had a sage green nylon shell and lining, heavy wool interlining, and pass-through pockets that provided access to the trouser pockets without exposing the hands to the cold weather. It also had a unique split hood that was trimmed with genuine coyote fur and could unzip to lay flat against the shoulders when not in use.

Both the MA-1 flight jacket and N-2B parka would undergo several more revisions for the military and later go on to become popular styles in the commercial market. The MA-1 flight jacket has been one of Alpha’s top-selling flight jackets for decades. Alpha continues to make the MA-1 and N-2B in a variety of fashion colors and uses these iconic silhouettes as inspiration for contemporary designs.

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