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Военноморски сили на Република България
Voennomorski sili na Republika Bǎlgariya
Ensign of the Bulgarian Navy
|Active||13 January 1899 – present
(118 years, 7 months)
|Branch||Bulgarian Armed Forces|
|Size||4,100 personnel (2009)|
|Part of||Ministry of Defence|
|Engagements||First Balkan War
Second Balkan War
World War I
World War II
|Rear Admiral Rumen Nikolov|
The Bulgarian Navy (Bulgarian: Военноморски сили на Република България, Voennomorski sili na Republika Bǎlgariya) is the navy of the Republic of Bulgaria and forms part of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. It has been largely overlooked in the reforms that Bulgaria had to go through in order to comply with NATO standards, mostly because of the great expense involved and the fact that naval assaults are not considered to be a great concern for the country's security. That is why three of the four Romeo-class submarines (excluding Slava) are now docked and have been out of operation for some time. The last one was decommissioned in November 2011. Only the more modern frigates, corvettes and missile crafts are on active duty.
In order to meet some of the NATO requirements, the Bulgarian government purchased a Wielingen-class frigate from Belgium in 2005. BNS Wandelaar (F-912), built in 1977, was renamed BG Drazki. That same year the Bulgarian ship Smeli took part as a full NATO member for the first time in NATO OAE (Operation Active Endeavour). In 2006, following a decision of the Bulgarian National Assembly, Drazki deployed as part of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), patrolling the territorial waters of Lebanon under German command. This was the first time the Bulgarian Navy took part in an international peacekeeping operation. The Bulgarian government purchased two Wielingen-class frigates and one Tripartite-class minehunter in 2007.
When Bulgaria entered World War I in 1915, it's navy consisted mainly of a French-built torpedo gunboat called Nadezhda and six torpedo boats. It mainly engaged in mine warfare actions in the Black Sea against the Russian Black Sea Fleet and allowed the Germans to station two U-boats at Varna, one of which came under Bulgarian control in 1916 as Podvodnik No. 18. Russian mines sank one Bulgarian torpedo boat and damaged one more during the war.
|Bulgarian Navy during World War II|
|Part of the Black Sea campaigns (1941-44)|
Bulgarian sailors aboard torpedo boat Drazki
|Casualties and losses|
1 torpedo boat sunk
1 steamer sunk
1 auxiliary minelayer sunk
|5 submarines sunk|
The Bulgarian Navy during World War II supported the Axis Powers in the Black Sea and consisted mainly of four obsolete Drazki-class torpedo boats, five modern Lurrsen type motor torpedo boats and three formerly Dutch motor torpedo boats. Bulgaria saw little naval fighting during the war, its main action taking place in October 1941.
The so-called Operation Varna consisted in the minelaying of the Bulgarian coast by the Romanian minelayers Amiral Murgescu, Regele Carol I and Dacia, escorted by Romanian 250t-class torpedo boats Năluca, Sborul and Smeul, Romanian gunboats Sublocotenent Ghiculescu and Căpitan Dumitrescu and Bulgarian torpedo boats Drazki, Smeli and Hrabri. The operation, lasting between 7 and 16 October 1941, was largely successful, as despite the loss of the Romanian auxiliary minelayer Regele Carol I to a Soviet mine, the five minefields laid by the Romanian minelayers along the Bulgarian coast are credited with the sinking of four Soviet submarines: S-34, L-24, Shch-211 and Shch-210, although the latter could have also been sunk by German aircraft or depth-charged by the Bulgarian patrol boats Belomorets and Chernomorets.
On 19 May 1943, the Bulgarian torpedo boat Smeli foundered between Varna and Burgas during a storm.
The campaign ended when Bulgaria changed sides and joined the Soviet Union in September 1944.
A "Division" is the equivalent of land forces battalion or air force squadron as the Bulgarian Navy follows the Russian naval tradition, according to which an "Operational Squadron" or "Оперативная эскадра" is a temporary formation, an equivalent of a land forces division and in modern times a "Squadron" of the Russian Navy is an equivalent of a land forces corps.
According to the reform plans envisioned in the White Paper on Defence 2010, the two naval bases would be merged into one with two base facilities in Varna and Burgas. The manpower of the Navy would account to about 3,400 seamen. The ordered Eurocopter AS565 MB Panther helicopters were reduced from 6 to 3 units. Between 2011 and 2020 the naval "Longterm Investment Plan" should come into action, providing the sea arm of the Bulgarian military with modernised ships and new equipment.
The Bulgarian Navy will modernise three of its Wielingen-class frigates in the future. The frigates will be equipped with landing pads, allowing helicopters to land and take off from the ships' decks. The list does not include vessels assigned to the border police.
|1st Patrol Ships Division (Naval Base Location Varna)|
|Reshitelni (13) (Решителни - Decisive)||ASW Corvette||Pauk||Soviet Union|||
|Bodri (14) (Бодри - Brisk)||ASW Corvette||Pauk||Soviet Union|||
|Smeli (11) (Смели - Brave)||Frigate||Koni||Soviet Union|||
|3rd Mine Counter-Measure Division (Naval Base Location Varna)|
|Tsibar (32) (Цибър)||Minehunter||Tripartite||Belgium||ex-Belgian Myosotis|
|Hull numbers 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56||Minesweeper||Olya||Soviet Union|||
|Iskar (31) (Искър)||Minesweeper||Vanya||Soviet Union|||
|Dobrotich (33) (Добротич)||Minesweeper||Vanya||Soviet Union|||
|Captain-lieutenant Kiril Minkov (34)||Minesweeper||Vanya||Soviet Union|||
|Captain 1st rank Dimitar Paskalev (36)||Minesweeper||Vanya||Soviet Union|||
|4th Patrol Ships Division (Naval Base Location Atia)|
|Drazki (41) (Дръзки - Daring)||Frigate||Wielingen||Belgium||ex-Belgian frigate Wandelaar|
|Verni (42) (Верни - Loyal)||Frigate||Wielingen||Belgium||ex-Belgian frigate Wielingen|
|Gordi (43) (Горди - Proud)||Frigate||Wielingen||Belgium||ex-Belgian frigate Westdiep Bought as a source for spare parts for the Drazki and Verni frigates.|
|Malniya (101) (Мълния - Lightning)||Corvette||Tarantul||Soviet Union|||
|6th Mine Counter-Measure Division (Naval Base Location Atia)|
|Briz (61) (Бриз - Sea breeze)||Minesweeper||Sonya||Soviet Union|||
|Shkval (62) (Шквал - Squall)||Minesweeper||Sonya||Soviet Union|||
|Priboi (63) (Прибой - Breaking wave)||Minesweeper||Sonya||Soviet Union|||
|Hull numbers 65, 66, 67, 68||Minesweeper||Yevgenya||Soviet Union|||
|18th Support Ships Division (Naval Base Location Varna)|
|Captain 1st rank Dimitar Dobrev (206)||Degaussing ship||Type 1799 degaussing ship||Poland|||
|Hull numbers 121, 215, 216||Cutter||Project 160 multi-purpose cutter||Bulgaria|||
|Hull number 223||Cutter||Project 245 cutter||Bulgaria|||
|Hull number 231||Cutter||Project 612 survey cutter||Bulgaria|||
|Balchik (203) (Балчик)||Tanker||Project 650 tanker||Bulgaria|||
|Proteo (224) (Протео)||Rescue vessel||Italy||ex-Italian А 5310 Proteo|
|Hull number 211||Tugboat||Bulgaria|||
|96th Support Ships Division (Naval Base Location Atia)|
|Antares (301) (Антарес)||Landing ship||Polnocny||Poland|||
|Hull numbers 312, 313||Cutter||Project 160 multi-purpose cutter||Bulgaria|||
|Hull number 323||Cutter||Project 245 cutter||Bulgaria|||
|Hull number 331||Cutter||Project 612 survey cutter||Bulgaria|||
|Akin (303) (Акин)||Tanker||Project 650 tanker||Bulgaria|||
|Aheloy (321) (Ахелой)||Fireboat||Project 250 fireboat||Bulgaria|||
|Hull number 410||Tugboat||Bulgaria|||
|Naval academy "N.Y. Vaptsarov" (Naval Base Location Varna)|
|Hull number 421||Training vessel||Bulgaria|||
2 Eurocopter AS565 Panther (6 originally ordered, 3 later canceled, 1 written off)
3 Mil Mi-14 (stored in non-flyworthy condition)
|P-15MC Termit||Soviet Union||anti-ship missiles|
|RIM-7 Sea Sparrow||United States||surface-to-air missiles|
|SA-N-4||Soviet Union||surface-to-air missiles|
|SA-N-5||Soviet Union||surface-to-air missiles|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bulgarian Navy.|