Russians under suspicion for having purloined camouflage design of Finnish Defence Forces’ new combat outfits
Defence Forces to ascertain if M05 design was used by Russian troops in Georgia
The troops of the Russian Ministry of the Interior are suspected of having their combat clothes decorated with the exact pattern of the Finnish Defence Forces’ new M05 camouflage suit.
The new pattern took years to develop and it is based on thousands of photographs taken of various types of woodlands.
The pattern blends in unprecedentedly well with a wooded background, and it is also more difficult to detect with night vision equipment.
The Defence Forces are currently looking into whether the Russian military wore camouflage outfits with the Finnish pattern for example during the war in Georgia, as it would seem, judging from news photographs.
The investigation into the matter commenced on Monday, after a reporter from the Finnish financial daily Taloussanomat had told the Defence Forces of his suspicions over the copying of the pattern.
“There have been similar patterns on the market, but we have had no knowledge of other armies using them”, explains Defence Forces technical director Raija Ketola.
“As a rule, the camouflage patterns used in combat clothing are fairly similar. The M05 is very advanced, and I am not surprised that others want to imitate it. However, it is in nobody's interest that two different armies should use the exact same design.”
The Defence Forces placed an order for renewed combat clothing in 2007. From the start there were concerns that the pattern - which has taken a lot of time and effort to develop - would end up in the wrong hands. Hence a design protection order was applied for, which prevents Finnish outdoor leisurewear manufacturers from using the pattern.
“Had we wanted to apply for an international registration of designs, we would have had to do it separately in each country. In Russia, though, even the patent protection has not been properly ratified, so I do not know how this would have worked”, Ketola continues.
According to Ketola, the Defence Forces outfits are manufactured abroad and some of them have leaked without permission onto the international market.
“It is lamentable, but we have no say as to where the suits are manufactured. In the past the combat outfits were considered military equipment, but now they are classified as a public procurement, the manufacturing of which happens through a bidding competition."
The new camouflage pattern has not been kept a secret. On the contrary, the new combat outfits have been proudly presented at trade fairs.
“After all, the camouflage pattern is a national symbol of a sort”, Ketola says.
Ketola cannot say, however, what happens if the pattern used by the Russians turns out to be plagiarism of the Finnish “national symbol”.
“That will be decided upon higher up in the Defence Forces hierarchy.”
The Finnish military’s camouflage pattern problems were first reported by Taloussanomat in its Tuesday edition.
Taloussanomat article (in Finnish)
Kamouflage.net - Finland