Formerly a socialist republic of the USSR (Soviet Union,) the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan Respublikası) established its full independence in October of 1991. Since that time, there has been a gradual decline in the use of Soviet-style camouflage uniforms within the Azerbaijani Armed Forces (Azərbaycan Silahlı Qüvvələri) with the standard operational uniforms being replaced by those of other nations and at least a couple patterns of indigenous origin.
Between February of 1988 and May 1994, Azerbaijan took part in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, in which ethnic Armenians living in Azerbaijan (and militarily supported by the Republic of Armenia) fought to wrest control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region from the Azebaijanis. A ceasefire was declared on 16 May 1994, although tensions still exist between the two nations. Since 1992, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was officially established, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army (Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետության ինքնապաշտպանության բանակ) has established a defence of the region jointly along with the Armenian Defence Forces.
Camouflage Patterns of Azerbaijan
The traditional Soviet KLMK sun-ray or solnechnye zaychiki pattern camouflage uniform has been in service with Azerbaijani forces since it was a Soviet republic. During the earliest period of its independence, airborne and special forces units retained the pattern, which they have continued to use sporadically into the present era. The grid-pattern printed on the reverse of these uniforms was intended to render early night vision equipment less effective.
Azerbaijani forces in the early 1990s have been documented as wearing at least two variants of the Soviet-designed 1988 TTsKO tricolor woodland or 3-TsV pattern. One variant is also worn by Armenia and features very dark brown & medium brown shapes on a light brown background. The other is a standard green/brown pattern of Russian origin. Additionally, Azeris have been documented wearing what appears to be the 3-TsV "whorls" variant commonly attributed to Georgia.
Some photographs from the 1990s illustrate Azerbaijani troops wearing variations of the Russian dubok (little oak) or VSR camouflage pattern, as well as the later Flora pattern of 1998. These were undoubtedly imported from Russia or the Ukraine and appear to have been fairly short-lived.
Since 2001, peacekeeping forces of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have frequently deployed wearing the Turkish "elongated leaf" or "squashed leaf" camouflage pattern. The uniforms appear to be both ex-Turkish military issue and export versions.
The State Border Service (Dövlət Sərhəd Xidməti ) of Azerbaijan have worn a unique "green woodland" pattern camouflage uniform in recent years. The design incorporates black, dark green & aqua green woodland shapes on a sea green background, and is of undetermined origin. As with most other contemporary patterns, the fabric appears to have been made in Turkey.
Special Forces units of the State Border Service periodically wear the Russian Berezkha (birch tree) camouflage, a pattern derivative of the old KLMK sun-ray design. This contemporary version has jagged lime green shapes on a dark khaki field.
Another pattern worn by Azeri personnel is a variation of the Turkish "elongated leaf" or "squashed leaf" seen above. The Azeri version seems to have more contrast and may be locally produced.
Between 2002 and 2005, Azerbaijani military personnel deployed to Iraq (OIF) wore ex-USA surplus tricolor desert pattern camouflage uniforms. The uniforms may still be in use with personnel deployed to arid or desert regions.
Appearing first in 2008, the Kobra Special Group of the Interior Troops (Azərbaycan Respublikası Daxili Qoşunların Xüsusi Təyinatlı Dəstəsi) or Kobra XTD have been documented wearing a copy of the USA Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) in public parades. Whether this camouflage design is also worn operationally has yet to be determined.
Multicam pattern uniforms have been worn operationally by the Kobra Special Group of the Interior Troops, and by the Rapid Response Unit of the State Border Service since at least 2012.
Since at least 2013, the regular Armed Forces and Internal Troops of Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan Respublikası Daxili Qoşunların) have been wearing Turkish arid digital pattern camouflage uniforms. In some cases, the uniforms and caps are styled differently than those issued by the Turkish Armed Forces, indicating they are not simply surplus Turkish Military issue.
Also appearing in service with the State Border Service's Rapid Response Unit is a copy of the A-TACS arid pattern.
In 2014 a unique pixelated camouflage design first appeared in service with some members of the Interior Troops (possibly only with the Kobra XTD unit). The design appears to be a kind of "arid" pattern, incorporating tan, khaki, brown and olive green shapes. Whether this will prove to be an operational or working design remains to be seen, since most of its appearances have been in public appearances such as parades.
Camouflage Patterns of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army
Conventional Forces of the Army have been documented wearing a large number of camouflage designs, including Armenian-produced woodland camouflage patterns seen below.
Both paratrooper and marine units (presumably trained in Armenia) have been documented wearing uniforms of imported Greek "lizard" pattern camouflage.
Internal Security units of the Ministry of Interior wear a variation of the "blue lizard" camouflage design that orinated in Russia.
Copies of the commercially-produced Multicam design have also appeared among some military personnel.
Most recently, a copy of the Italian Army vegetata pattern has been adopted.
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