History of Bomber Jackets

Everything new and popular that we see is often driven from the old times and improved. One of the most popular outerwear as of now are bomber jackets. Believe it or not, bomber jackets have been present throughout history and have been modified with time. Even though the fashion and style are quite old but is without a doubt a never-ending one.

It’s quite common to encounter someone wearing a black bomber jacket when walking on the street in the winter. Besides the fact that these jackets are designed with a vintage look, the popularity of bomber jackets doesn’t seem to be decreasing any time soon.

Most people might not know the history of bomber jackets and to resolve their curiosity we have put together complete research determining the origin of bomber jackets. It’s often heard that it’s good to remember your roots and learning about how bomber jackets became a fashion icon will not only help in remembering your roots but will also allow you to appreciate their value.

  1. The First-Ever Flight Jacket:

In the year 1917, Flight jackets were introduced by the US Army Aviation Clothing Board. The flight jackets were a sort of uniform for WWI pilots because the cockpits of the WWI pilot’s planes were open-air. The primary purpose of these special jackets was to protect the pilots from bitter cold conditions.

The jackets offered warmth on the uninsulated cockpit of the planes. The jackets were made from seal skin leather or horse skin leather and were lined with fur to be effective in extremely cold temperatures.

  • The A1:

After WWI’s numerous advances and modifications, one major advancement was made in the shape of the cockpit. New technology was introduced that resulted in cockpits being more narrow. These narrow cockpits proved to be a congested space for bulky coats to be worn.

In the year 1927, the US Army Type-A1 jackets were created. These jackets had a streamlined shape as compared to the initial flight jackets. The A1 jacket was an insulated leather jacket designed with a button-up closure, waistband, knit collar, and cuffs. In creating the A-1 sheepskin, goat-skin and horsehide were the common forms of leather that were used.

  • The A-2:

The evaluation of A-1 jackets took place in the early 1930s, as a new generation of bomber jackets emerged as A-2. The design for A-2 was similar to the A-1 in many ways, the only changes were the addition of a zipper instead of a button-up, a high collar, and a wind flap.

Even though at the time closed cockpits were introduced but the modification for open-air cockpits, flight jackets kept on optimizing for open-air cockpits. The A-2 was phased out by the year 1943 but was worn by WWI’s Air Corp Daredevils. Thus making the jacket one of the most recognizable designs.

  • The G-1:

Most people recognize this jacket design, as it was worn by Tom Cruise in the movie “Top Gun” The jacket was introduced somewhere around the 1930s to the US Army and Navy but it wasn’t recognized until the year 1943 when G-1 completely replaced A-2 among the Air Corps Daredevils. 

This jacket maintained the zip closure along with removing the wind flap. The G-1 was the jacket to bring back the mouton fur collar.

  • The B-3:

All the previously mentioned jackets were flight jackets but the B-3 can be considered as the “real bomber Jacket” because it was designed especially for high altitude bombers. The B-3 was introduced around the 1930s and was made from sheepskin leather. It also featured heavy-duty sheep fur. Although the jacket did not feature a knit waistband it included two leather straps that allowed the pilot to close the collar gap.

The bombers had to go on high altitudes and the B-3 jacket was specifically designed to keep them warm even when they were 25000 feet up. Thus the reason for a bulky jacket.

  • The B-6:

The B-6 was a warm and wearable jacket that maintained the warmth of the bulky B-3 but was made wearable. The B-6 looked similar to the modern black bomber jacket and with the improvements of cockpits underway, it had the capability to lose a bit of insulation because of its slimmer design.

The B-6 jacket managed to maintain the sheep fur and sheepskin combination but in less quantity than the B-3. Plus, the jacket featured a single latch collar.

  • The B-10:

The B-10 was an alpaca fur lined cloth jacket that arrived in the year 1943 and phased out all the other B-series jackets. The jacket also featured an alpaca fur collar, similar to the G-1 jacket. It did not include a wind flab but had a zip closure and pockets that were similar in design as the G-1.

The B-10 had a pretty short run as the reigning bomber jacket, as it was quickly replaced by the next one which was the b-15. The B-10 could last more longer as the design was not too much of an upgrade and was quite similar to the G-1. Even though it lasted less time as compared to other bomber jackets but still is worthy of being mentioned as one of the bomber jackets in history.

  • The B-15:

The B-15 is an iconic design recognized by many. The jacket was introduced in the year 1944. The B-15 jacket reintroduced the mouton fur collar and brought back the knit waist and cuffs shell was crafted for various materials that included cloth and then nylon. 

The B-15 also included some noticeable additions such as sleeves stash pockets, pen pockets, and leather straps that were used for building oxygen masks.

  • The MA-1:

The MA-1 is known as the most relevant design of which variations are popular as of now. It was introduced after B-15 in the year 1949. With the advancement of technology, significant changes were made to the jacket, as the fur collar was replaced by an elastic knit collar.

The presence of fur was not necessary for warmth and the knit collar accommodated better with the parachute harnesses. Nylon was used as the preferred material for MA-1, as it was a cost-effective and easy to clean option.

Nylon material allowed pilots to stay warm and dry. The interior of the jacket was lined in a bright orange color that could be used to expose the visibility of rescue, if turned inside out, in case of a plane crash.


The history of bomber jackets represents evaluation, adaptation, and struggle of meeting daily needs. A black bomber jacket might represent a symbol of history and culture. It is one of the fashion accessories that was first introduced in 1917 and is popular to this day. At this point, it’s safe to say that this particular article of clothing has stood the test of time.

Bomber jackets have had a long journey and are one of the emphatic fashion statements that have made been in fashion for decades. The current leather bomber jacket that we see today is a simple yet appealing design available to people in a range of colors. Although brown and black are some of the common colors but these jackets are available in a few more for people to try.



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