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Republic of Sudan

The nation is officially called the Republic of Sudan (جمهورية السودان). The region has been inhabited since antiquity, where it was known as Kush by the Egyptians and came under Egyptian rule in the 8th century BCE. Though Kush would regain its independence from Egypt and its people and culture remain distinct, the region would be caught up in the affairs of Egypt and Assyria for hundreds of years. A Kushite kingdom was established at Meroe in 590 BCE, which would remain a cultural and economic center into the first few centuries of the Common Era.

By the 6th century, fifty states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic Kingdom. Byzantine emmissaries brought Christianity to the region in 540 CE which mostly impacted the southern parts of modern Sudan and the kingdom of Alodia (or Alwah) which arose in the 8th century. Islam would gradually make its way into the north, primarily due to contact with Arab traders and settlers, and in 1093 a Muslim prince ascended to the throne of Dunqulah, with Islamic culture thereafter having a very strong impact on the development of Sudanese culture thereafter.

Northern Sudan fell to Egyptian military forces in 1820, bringing it technically into the Ottoman Empire, although practically under the control of Ottoman Egypt. A Sudanese revolt in 1885 under Muhammad Ahmad ibn Abd Allah finally repelled the Egyptians and set up a Mahdist regime, which ruled Sudan as a militaristic state. In 1887, Sudanese forces invaded Ethiopia and attempted to invade Egypt, where they were repelled by British-led Egyptian forces. From 1896 to 1898, British Lord Kitchener led military campaigns into Sudan, resulting in a defeat of the Mahdists and the establishment of Anglo-Egyptian rule which lasted until 1956.

The Sudanese pursuit of independence from British control would be dirctly tied to the same struggle in Egypt, which not only sought to shake off British control, but to see the establishment of a combined Egytian-Sudanese state. By 1954, however, both the British and Egyptians would sign a treaty guaranteeing Sudanese independence on 1 January 1956. Fearing an independent state that would likely be dominated by the Muslim north, Christian and indigenous tribal regions in the south sparked off the First Sudanese Civil War, which lasted from 1955 until 1972 and ended only in cease fire. After ten years (1983), the Sudanese Second Civil war broke out, once again pitting the predominantly Sudanese government in the Muslim north against the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) representing the indigenous and Christian south. Since 1983, nearly 2 million people have lost their lives in Sudan either as a result of warfare or famine. In January of 2005 a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by the government of Sudan and the SPLM, granting southern Sudan provisional autonomy for six years, to be followed by referendum and independence. The peace agreement was implemented by a United Nations mission (UNMIS), leading to withdrawal of Sudanese goverment troops in January of 2008, and independence for the new state of South Sudan on 9 July 2011.

The western Sudanese region of Dharfur subsequently took up arms against the Sudanese government after making accusations of genocide against non-Arabs. Led by the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the region remained in a state of civil war until negotiations in 2009 and 2010 produced a cease fire with the respective movements.

The Sudanese government has also been in a state of war with its neighbor Chad since December 2005.

The Sudanese People's Armed Forces comprise over 100,000 active duty personnel in the Land Forces, Navy (including Marines), Air Force, and the Popular Defence Force. Sudanese forces have traditionally adopted the camouflage pattern of other nations, including Egypt and the USA, although there have been many localized variations of these designs.

Camouflage Patterns of Sudanese Government

  • Long tied to Egypt, Sudan has for many years worn Egyptian military uniforms, including some in camouflage patterns. Both the early "rocks" and the "sand" pattern have been worn sporadically since the 1980s, although by now have largely been replaced.

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  • Also in use since at least the 1980s, Asian-made copies of the French lizard pattern have seen sporadic use with the Sudanese Army.


  • The Sudanese Army has recently been documented wearing a four-color leaf type camouflage, incorporating black, brown and grass green shapes on a pale green background.


  • A woodland-style camouflage pattern has been in use with some Sudanese forces since around 2005. Similar to the US design, the color scheme is much brighter and vibrant. Seen more recently has been a much closer copy of the original woodland pattern.

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  • Asian-made variations of the US designed six-color "chocolate chip" and tricolor desert patterns have also been worn by Sudanese government forces.

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  • The old Jordanian Special Forces "amoeba" pattern has also been worn by some Sudanese government forces recently.


  • The Sudanese Police forces has worn several types of "urban" camouflage for many years. These all appear to be derivatives of a woodland design, with a primarily blue or purple colorway.

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  • In 2009, the Sudanese Police Force was first documented wearing a unique two-color desert pattern consisting of large khaki disruptive shapes on a sandy background. The design also incorporates an overprinted logo into the scheme. This pattern continues to be worn into the present period.

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  • Several digital camouflage patterns have been in use with Sudanese forces, the earliest of which was first observed in 2012. The Ministry of Defense commissioned several designs, including those targeting desert, semi-arid, and temperate geography. The three designs seen below, two of which seem to be loosely based on the MARPAT design of the US Marine Corps, and another with a primarily brown colorway, are in service with the 9th Airborne Division.

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  • Formed in 2013, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) or قوات الدعم السريع‎ are a paramilitary force administered by the National Intelligence and Security Service and trained to provide added military manpower during military operations. In 2014, the RSF was first observed wearing a pixelated camouflage pattern consisting of black, brown and forest green shapes on a pale green background, which appears to be a copy of the Iranian design worn by the IRGC Basij forces.


  • Sudanese troops serving as part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen have been observed wearing a distinctive arid pixelated camouflage design. It is unknown which units of the Sudanese Armed Forces specifically wear this design, or if it is a general purpose uniform.


  • This dense, speckled pattern, reminiscent of the old Egyptian "rocks pattern (also worn by Sudan) is now in service with Sudanese Special Forces.


Camouflage Patterns of the SPLA

  • One of the earliest documented patterns worn specifically by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was an Asian-made copy of the Portuguese vertical lizard camouflage, which emerged during the 1990s.


  • Surplus strichtarn pattern camouflage uniforms from East Germany made their way into the supply system of the SPLA and were worn throughout the ranks.


  • A woodland-style camouflage pattern appeared in quantity among SPLA combatants around 2005. The shapes of the patterns are in fact not derivative of the US design, but are instead closer to that worn through the 1990s by China, yet having a different color scheme altogether.

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  • The same copy of US-designed six-color "chocolate chip" camouflage worn by the Sudanese government has appeared on rare occasions among the SPLA as well.


  • Some SPLA forces have been documented wearing a contemporary tiger stripe camouflage design, similar to the one seen below. This first appeared circa 2011-2012.