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Latvia was known as the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (Latvijas Padomju Sociālistiskā Republika) between 1940 and 1991. While part of the Soviet Union, the nation's Armed Forces were under the administration of the USSR. Since achieving its independence in 1991 and subsequent membership in NATO, the armed forces of Latvia have taken great measures to distinguish themselves from their Soviet predecessors. Early Latvian camouflage patterns, although influenced by those of the Soviet Union, are nevertheless distinctive enough to warrant separate categorization of their own. The nation is today known as the Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republika).
Latvian Camouflage Patterns
The earliest Latvian camouflage patterns trace their lineage to the Soviet tricolor TTsKO design, although the shapes incorporated into the patterns are entirely distinctive. The early camouflage design shown here, a pattern of dark and light brown shapes on a khaki or light olive green background, was originally worn by the Latvian Army, and later by the Border Guards. Several color variations have been documented. This pattern dates to the early 1990s.
Another early pattern of approximately the same vintage - using different drawings and a lighter, almost desert, colorway - incorporates dark brown and ochre amoebic shapes on a tan background. There is documentation this pattern was worn by Latvian Border Guards, but it may also have seen use with the Army and Ministry of the Interior.
A third variation of the basic tricolor design incorporated dark blue and blue grey shapes on a medium blue background, and was probably worn by the Police Forces of the Ministry of the Interior.
The design seen below is of unconfirmed origins, but is believed to have been developed for Latvia around the time of its independence from the Soviet Union. Probably produced in a Russian or Ukrainian factory, black and white photographs from the period confirm the general shapes of this pattern were in use by Latvia during the 1990s. At least two color variations have been observed, however, and no verification has yet emerged as to which Latvian units may have used either one.
The design seen here, apparently worn in the 1990s by the Ministry of the Interior, bears a striking color resemblance to the current Lithuanian M05 pattern, yet the two are distinctive.
A modified variation, supposedly for "autumn" wear, is seen here. Although examples of uniforms exist, as yet no photographic evidence has emerged of MOI personnel wearing them, so the pattern may have only been experimental or limited-issue. It is interesting to note on the uniform example this photograph was taken from, the pattern is orientated at a 90 degree angle from the above version.
Latvia had introduced the US m81 woodland pattern around 1992 for use by its special operations forces. In the late part of the 1990s, the Lithuanian Armed Forces discarded all previously used camouflage patterns and fully integrated a locally-produced copy of the US m81 woodland design, possibly as part of its bid to become a member of NATO. This pattern remained in service intil approximately 2008.
Circa 2004, a Latvian desert camouflage pattern was introduced. Although incorporating the same basic colorway as the US tricolor desert pattern, the drawings are unique and bear no relationship to the American design. This pattern was worn by Latvian personnel deployed to Afghanistan (ISAF), but has since been replaced by the NBS pattern.
Introduced in 2006/7, this pixelated pattern was designed by Barracuda of Sweden. It is known simply as the NBS pattern, for Nacionālie Bruņotie Spēki, or National Armed Forces, although in common parlance it is usually referred to as LATPAT. The design incorporates large dark grey (nearly black), medium brown and khaki squares on a sandy background.
Although in development since 2011, it was announced late in 2015 that the Latvian Armed Forces would adopt a variation of the LATPAT design utilizing and improved color palette for use in summer and on foreign deployments to warmer climates. This version of the design, based on the same drawings as standard LATPAT, incorporates light and dark grey (nearly black), medium brown, khaki and foliage green squares. Known in common parlance as Multi-LATPAT, the design will be officially introduced into the supply system in 2016, with full implementation planned by 2018. The LATPAT design will continue to be issued as a winter uniform, alongside the new uniform.
Other Camouflage Patterns Worn by Latvia
The Latvian contingent to Bosnia (SFOR) in 1996 was clothed in surplus Swedish M90 "splinter" pattern camouflage uniforms.
The Latvian contingent to Bosnia (SFOR) in 1998 was clothed in surplus Danish M84 pattern camouflage uniforms.
Photos of Latvian Soldiers
Latvian soldiers wearing the early pattern
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