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Once a socialist republic of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Armenia (Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն) re-established its independence in August of 1991 and is now a very Western-leaning nation with strong ties to many NATO countries. Nevertheless, there was a definite tendency to retain Soviet-style camouflage uniforms within the Armenian Armed Forces and Ministry of Interior until the end of the 20th century.
Although it does not fall within the United Nations recognized borders of Armenia, the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus (in Azerbaijan) is an independent (but largely unrecognized) republic with a large ethnic Armenian population. Also known as the Artsakh Republic, it does have a formal government and its armed forces, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army (Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետության ինքնապաշտպանության բանակ) are modeled after the Armenian Defence Forces and maintain order jointly with the forces from the Armenian Republic.
Camouflage Patterns used by Armenia
The traditional Soviet KLMK sun-ray or solnechnye zaychiki pattern uniform has been in service with Armenian forces since it was a Soviet republic. During the earliest period of its independence, airborne and special forces units retained the pattern, although its usage has gradually died out of use except by the Border Guards. The grid-pattern printed on the reverse of these uniforms was intended to render early night vision equipment less effective.
Armenian forces in the early 1990s have been documented as wearing a dark-colored brown variant of the Soviet-designed 1988 TTsKO tricolor woodland or 3-TsV pattern. This Armenian variant (also worn by Azerbaijan) features very dark brown & medium brown shapes on a light brown background.
Another pattern from this period, worn by Armenian forces operating in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in 1994, is an interesting design derivative of the 3-TsV but having more spot-like shapes. This specific colorway appears only to have been produced as a lightweight combat uniform, but other color variants are known to exist using precisely the same set of drawings. Some samples were made in the Ukraine. This design has also been documented in use by Moldovan forces.
Color variations of the above pattern, but printed on medium or heavyweight cotton twill fabric, were also in use by Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. At least some of these examples are also produced in the Ukraine, and may have been worn in Moldova as well.
Some photographs from the 1990s illustrate Armenian troops wearing variations of the Russian dubok (little oak) or VSR camouflage pattern. These were undoubtedly imported from Russia or the Ukraine and appear to have been fairly short-lived.
Another Russian-designed pattern that has remained in use to the present day is Berezkha (birch tree), a pattern derivative of the old KLMK sun-ray design. This camouflage pattern, jagged lime green shapes on a dark khaki field, is only worn by Armenian Border Guards.
Armenian forces have increasingly participated in NATO-sponsored peacekeeping operations, including those in countries of the former Yugoslavia. The Armenian contingent to Kosovo (KFOR) in 2004 wore Greek military issue lizard pattern uniforms with the appropriate national insignia.
Armenian military personnel serving in Iraq (OIF) and on other peacekeeping operations have been supplied with US tricolor desert pattern camouflage uniforms beginning in about 2005. Photos dating to 2016 suggest later issue uniforms were probably procured from Asian sources.
Armenia discarded its old Soviet-style camouflage patterns in the late 1990s, choosing instead to adopt a locally-made variation of the US woodland design. Having black, reddish brown & grass green woodland shapes on a greenish-yellow background, the pattern is quite distinct from its American forerunner.
Some special units of the Armenian Police (Հայաստանի Հանրապետության ոստիկանությունը) have traditionally worn locally-produced, Russian-designed blue-grey and blue woodland patterns seen here. A gray variation has also been documented, worn by units of the special police. These patterns have now been updated with a pixelated variation.
Other special units of the Armenian Ministry of Defense wear a number of other "urban" camouflage patterns, including blue and grey variations of tiger stripe, the grey variant of the Russian SMK pattern, and a DPM pattern with a blue/grey colorway.
Armenians serving in Afghanistan (OEF) have worn surplus German Army tropentarn II uniforms on some occasions.
Following a trend set by Canada, the United States and numerous other countries, Armenia has adopted a pixelated camouflage pattern for general issue to its armed forces. The pattern incorporates medium brown, olive green & black shapes on a khaki background and would appear to have applicability only in sparsely vegetated or arid regions.
A Russian-made copy of Multicam is also worn by some Armenian personnel, including MVD special troops, airborne personnel, and special operations.
A special unit of the Armenian Ministry of Interior also wears this black-grey pattern that has also been documented in use by Iraq.
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