Throughout the Cold War Sweden resolutely followed a policy of international independence and armed neutrality.  But unlike Switzerland – which depended primarily on its difficult terrain for defence, and purchased much of its military equipment from Western countries – Sweden took a more self-sufficient approach.  In the great open spaces of the north they adopted a reactive strategy based around the mobile force-projection and firepower of armoured mechanised ground forces.  In the more populous, and vulnerable, south of the country they implemented a strategy of defence-in-depth based on the integration of mechanised ground forces, mobile amphibious infantry, naval forces and coastal fortifications.  In both the north and south, the surface elements were supported and protected by a large air force comprising of a high number of advanced interceptor and ground-attack aircraft.


Also – unlike the Swiss, Austrians or Finns – the Swedes protected their independence further by relying almost exclusively on domestic companies to manufacture military equipment specific to their requirements (although they did receive some covert US assistance in the field of advanced aviation technologies). The result was that the Swedish armed forces became well-equipped with advanced equipment built to perform well in tough environments.  Many of these companies also enjoyed considerable success in foreign markets as well – names like Bofors, Saab, Hagglund, Ericsson and Carl Gustaf are well known for advanced, high-quality, robust products.


But until the introduction of the M/90 combat uniform and load-bearing equipment in the early 1990’s, the Swedish soldier was issued with a plain OD combat suit and leather and canvas load-bearing gear designed in the 1950’s. 

M/90 Camouflage Pattern for Uniforms

The Swedish Army, Navy and Air Force had been using a “splinter” pattern camouflage scheme on their vehicles, ships and aircraft since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, and the camouflage pattern chosen for the new combat uniform was a scaled-down variation of the four colour geometric “splinter” pattern already in use on vehicles, ships and aircraft. 

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The M/90 camouflage pattern comprises four colours: dark green, black and medium green on a light beige/stone background. It should also be mentioned that the shade of black used in the M/90 camouflage pattern has a high percentage of blue – so much so that these portions often fade-out to a dark navy colour over time.



The M/90F Uniform

The M/90 uniform is made from a tough 50/50 cotton-polyester gabardine fabric and is available in a few different models:

  • M/90F: for regular ground units; F = “Fält” (Field)
  • M/90P: for personnel in armoured vehicles; P = “Pansar” (Armour). It differs by having padding on elbows and knees, suspenders, a shorter jacket, ankle pockets and penholders on the sleeves.
  • M/90H: for helicopter crews; H = “Helikopter” (Helicopter).  This differs in that the jacket is bright orange on the inside so that it can be used as an emergency signal panel.
  • M/90L: for forces deployed in hot climates overseas; L = “Lätt” (Light).  This uniform is made from thinner fabric.
  • M/90K:  “Ökenkammo” – desert colour variation of the M/90L uniform.



M/90F Fältjacka (field jacket): The field jacket is a loose-fitting camouflaged outer garment constructed so that it can be comfortably worn over a t-shirt or a thermal undershirt.  It features:

  • A stand or fall collar
  • A zip-closing front with a snap-fastening wind flap
  • 2 vertical zip-closing chest pockets
  • 2 diagonal zip-closing hip pockets
  • 1 internal pen pocket
  • 1 holder for atropine auto-injector
  • Draw-cords at waist and hem
  • Snap-fastening, adjustable wrist cuffs
  • All zippers are robust, chunky and made from synthetic material to avoid snagging, clogging-up or freezing.



M/90F Fältbyxa (field trousers): The field trousers are also of a loose, comfortable cut and are produced in multiple sizes in order to ensure a good fit.  They feature:

  • Double snap-fastened waist
  • Zippered fly
  • 2 front slash pockets, with snap-fastened flaps
  • 2 large un-pleated thigh-level cargo pockets, zip-closed
  • Built-in nylon gaiters with elastic and snap-fastening cuffs
  • All zippers are robust, chunky and made from synthetic material to avoid snagging, clogging-up or freezing.


M/90 Fältmössa (field cap): The field cap is a simple baseball-cap style with a Velcro strip at the back for size adjustment.



Helmet Cover(reversible):  There is also a helmet cover that is reversible from M/90 camouflage on one side to winter-white on the other.  The camouflage side has bands for attaching foliage and initially also featured a roll-down flap for additional camouflage and protection against air-delivered chemical agents (this flap appears to have been deleted from the most recent version though).


M/90L uniform:

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Tropical uniform in use on a UN Peacekeeping mission




M/90K uniform worn on ISAF deployment

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