New IAF Squadron Logo Lifts From Vin Diesel Film

If this patch pictured above is in fact the IAF’s new Boeing C-17 squadron’s logo/insignia, it’s a rip-off (that’s right) of the Vin Diesel movie xXx from 2002. See:
So, the LXXXI is a slightly laboured 81 in Roman. So? Why lift a design when you could have made your own, especially since that’s public money you’re spending making this stuff?

It’s like the guys at 81 Sqn who designed this thought, “Hey, I remember that cool Vin Diesel flick and how they drew the title. I should think of something that slick… Oh, screw it, let me just take the damn thing, who remembers that movie anyway.”

Do the designers of this emblem/logo know how serious an issue plagiarism is, and what the consequences of such an action could be? Did they think this would simply be considered an ‘inspiration’? Is it okay for one of the world’s most professional air forces to let stuff like this happen? Don’t think so.
Either way, we’re talking about stolen goods. Not a great way to start a brand new squadron, with a talented and formidably hard-working group of officers wearing a proud patch that’s centred around a plagiarised emblem. Why couldn’t the IAF, for instance, have held a logo competition? Or gotten a professional agency to do it for them? Even a professional government agency that wouldn’t charge them anything? That’s public money being spent on an identity that’s lifted from a Hollywood film. Thoughtless, unnecessary. The implied questions are far more worrying: does it confirm a disturbing lack of awareness about intellectual property, and the consequences, fuelled by a pervasive societal culture of piracy?

I have friends in 81 Squadron, and they agree that calling attention to this is the right thing to do. The IAF and its men deserve better than what appears to either be a resounding error of judgement, or complete lack of awareness. Difficult to say which is worse.

UPDATE (Sept 2 / 19.05HRS): The Indian Air Force called today, accepted the assertions in this piece, and made the following 2 points that I’m placing here for the record: 1. The logo used in the patch is only a ‘first cut’, was decided on by the squadron together, and that will not be part of the 81 Squadron’s official crest which is currently under preparation by the Air HQ. 2. Internal squadron funds were used for these patches, and that no “public money” was spent on them.

35 thoughts on “New IAF Squadron Logo Lifts From Vin Diesel Film”

  1. The plagiarism is foolish. Surely there isn't lack of creative talent in India?

    My humble recommendation is that they take out the XXX (it does not appear to be contextually relevant anyway). And that they replace that with a map of the world to represent global reach or at least global ambition even if global reach is a stretch right now.

    I do live the term "stractical" though.


  2. Patch emblems are only temporary in nature. They are not set in stone and will keep changing with changes in crew and commanding officers. I wouldnt really lament on 'plaigarism' or 'lack of imagination'.

    At somepoint the Squadron will get an official badge ("crest"), that needs to be designed by the heraldry committee (I forget what they call it india). The document has to be signed by the President and only then will the Squadron will get an official emblem. till then all these are 'time pass'

  3. Jagan: in case you are the PVS Jagan of BR, I am quite surprised you don't find anything wrong with this plagiarism. How does whether it is temporary or permanent make it alright? Whether it is an official crest or not, it is a logo being proudly worn by the men of an entire squadron. Do you actually not think it is shameful that they have lifted a piece of creative design so wantonly? Quite surprised you have such a chalta-hai attitude to what is clearly an act of theft. Maybe it is this attitude that makes the iaf and several other agencies in the country so blase about such things. Very sad to see, and disappointed.

  4. Agree with Saxon Six response. Jagan is very forgiving of such things. In the outside world, such things could be the subject of expensive legal proceedings. In India we have become use to taking such things for granted. We can copy movies, copy mp3 songs, copy cds and tapes, photocopy books. we don't realise all these things are crimes with an actual penalty attached. even the smallest such act is regrettable and must be condemned. fully agree that such things should be highlighted shiv. youv done the right thing. hope the iaf takes note and takes some corrective measures.

  5. What's wrong! When all of us so unconsciously use google for everything. Well right from our IIT, IISC to DRDO guys basically copy foreign (English) technology. In a nation full of "chalta hai" attitude, who cares what logos an obscure IAF unit which imports its hardware anyway. What was truly Indian is part of history. It's saddening to know how we teach our children rote learning, to get "good" grades, while completely ignoring the concepts which build the foundation. When such is our cultural attitude to education, guess what the outcome is going to be? Hopeless dependence on foreigners who know the fallacy of rote learning. Good to see Shiv brought out this "insult" of a logo to the attention of people. Shiv, suggest you to start a competition on your blog to create a crisp new logo design for our brain-dead IAF team. Even if they don't accept the crowd generated design, we can smack their face with a better looking design.

  6. yes, you can call me forgiving. I always assume that stuff like this happens unintentionally and not due to outright intentional plagiarism. maybe someone putting together the design was unconsciously influenced by the something they glanced or saw (it could even be an outsourced designer). even I dont remember this movie till i read it on this blog. Just as long as they dont try to put that on the official badge..

  7. Whether this is a temporary or permanent logo, plagiarism at any level is not acceptable, especially in the case of a highly respectable professional force. The logo is the identity of the squadron and the officers should feel proud wearing it. By incorporating a plagiarised element, the designer has hurt the pride of the officers. I don't think the IAF officers would be proud to call themselves XXX-style daredevils either

  8. I like the design but I have to agree with Shiv, the IAF could have been more innovative. It's obvious that this was sourced to a 3rd party supplier who ran their shortlisted designs with the IAF. They should have shared the background of this with the IAF. Or they did and the IAF just liked it.

    Shiv, how on earth did you catch this one? It's a 2002 movie! Great job. Thanks for putting this up.

  9. Wg Cdr GB Athri (retd)

    It is a tragedy that IAF has got in to this in the first place..nothing is lost.The IAF shoud immediately accept the mistake and change the logo immediately..pronto that is..Our brave men deserve better original logos at least when the govt is deaf to their pay and perks demands
    I am sure the CAS Air Chief Marshal Norman Browne will act post haste
    Wg Cdr (Retd) GB Athri (retd)

  10. "Plagiarism" my Ass, American Plane is Ok but Patch inspired from American Movie is Not-ok……..
    I feel and Guys operating these plane will agree, we have given a reason to be proud of to respective film maker and lead actor

  11. Dear Jagan Sir, you are still being forgiving. The XXX logo of that film is very easy to remember. Plus it cannot be mistaken for some other thing because it is very distinctive, right? If we are to strive for perfection, let us not have selective standards for big and small theft. theft is theft and should be condemned. as earlier commenter has said, the chalta hai attitude does not suit someone such as you!

  12. Does India really require a Long range strategic air lift capability of C-17's, given that even Andamans is only 1/4th of the max range of a C 17 & we are facing a balance of payments crisis !

  13. Hope someone from IAF has seen this post. Plaigarism or not, one thing is certain an organization such as IAF, needs to have something distinct.

    Its a problem with Indian attitude…we are more happy taking inspiration and not being the inspiration.

  14. You need to ask the producers before you assume there is a problem. Yes the Sqn should have asked first. But it's highly likely that Vin And the producers would think it is cool.

  15. extremely disappointing article . we got the whole plane from america and you are crying about a logo . anyway the first time i saw this patch , i liked it a lot . i think its really kool . there is no problem if it refers to some movie . in fact i think its awesome that it hints to an action movie , maybe they even meant to do that . about copyright issues , there are other things on the patch as well so i don't think its sufficient to get sued for copyright infringement . another example of dumb journalism , making a big issue out of nothing . we are at least 50 years away from making a c 17 like aircraft on our own . cry about the patch when we can actually build the plane .i really like the patch , keep it. replace it only if you can design a better looking one .

  16. For those who do not know what is XXX be aware that it is another way to write 666 which is number of satan-devil.

    Simple maths. X is the 24th alphabet of English which totals to 6. So is the Indian Air Force known as such a great air force in the world glorify satan. No way we should allow this logo to be implemented.

  17. The core values of IAF-Mission Integrity and Excellence are also a rip off from the Pakistan Air Force. Check out their logo. That was much before the IAF thought about it. The rot spreads…

  18. While they are at it can the name changed from "gaylords" oops "skylords" to something less pompous and more in tune with the role and reach of the machine? Imagine the poor fellows in the squadron who will have to live with such a name. Look at mi-26 squadron the "featherweights", now that is true wit and appropriate to a squadron operating the largest chopper in the world.

  19. Excellent article. This lack of imagination is deplorable. But perhaps also reflects the kind of western influence that has now set in the forces. There was a comment to this post about getting rid of the Roman numerals completely and using Indian numerals. That makes sense to me.

  20. What internal sqaudron funds..there is no such thing in the air force. it is some form of public money. I can understand the Army..some of them have lands etc…not sure the AF has soemthing like that..especially a new one. It has to be a grant or a squadron raising money..all public funds that have come in various forms.

  21. hello!,
    Only if we were gracious enough.
    For your information none of the patches, qualification batches, unit caps or unit T shirts are from public fund. It is from the officers or the crew's own TAX PAID SALARY, and thus most of them have nothing official about it. Except for the President approved unit crest, which at times is made into a patch. But even that patch of official crest is not through public fund.Unless of course you consider the salaries once earned also to be part of public fund! or think that approx 300 rs of Kit maintenance allowance per month can fund all of the jazzy stuff you often see.

  22. Patches are never made from public money. All these things come from money given by officers called a flight fund, so that issue is killed. Secondly, since the patch is not the unit insignia, it is an informal patch, so there is nothing wrong about it as such. Units all over the world make a lot of patches picked up from movies etc. There are a lot of patches, even in the most advanced air forces, that would not be liked by people, too racy for the public. But that is how military aviation is…may be our public is just getting exposed to it now…

  23. And yes…keep in mind that one of the squadron pilots has made it…not as a duty…but as something for the squadron. Getting it designed from outside, yes why not….now you would be spending public money !!! Units have different types of patches…all made by pilots…if they were to be outsourced…you can imagine the kind of money spent.

  24. This is not a case in isolation. There are other squadrons also, which includes a newly formed one. Internet offers a lot of quick solutions.

  25. This is not a case in isolation. There are other squadrons too, including a newly formed one. Internet offers a lot of quick fixes!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top