Size 4,100 personnel (2009)
Anniversaries 9 August
Part of Ministry of Defence
Garrison/HQ Varna Atia
Branch Bulgarian Armed Forces
Headquarters Varna, Atia, Bulgaria
|Active 13 January 1899–present|
Engagements World War II, World War I, First Balkan War, Second Balkan War
Similar Bulgarian Armed Forces, Bulgarian Air Force, Romanian Naval Forces, Bulgarian Land Forces, Belgian Navy
Bulgarian navy forces
The Bulgarian Navy (Bulgarian: Военноморски сили на Република България, Voennomorski sili na Republika Balgariya) 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.
- Bulgarian navy forces
- Bulgarian navy battle ship vlog
- First Balkan War
- Second Balkan War
- World War I
- World War II
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.
The Bulgarian Navy is centred in two main bases. One is near the city of Varna. The other is Atiya Naval Base, near the city of Burgas.
Bulgarian navy battle ship vlog
First Balkan War
The Bulgarian Navy's first combat action was the 1912 Battle of Kaliakra during the First Balkan War, when the Bulgarian torpedo boat Drazki attacked and crippled an Ottoman cruiser.
Second Balkan War
The Bulgarian Navy scuttled its four Danube gunboats during the Second Balkan War, probably to avoid capture by the invading Romanian Army.
World War I
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.
World War II
The Bulgarian Navy received German help after joining the Axis, with five modern Lurrsen type motor torpedo boats and three more formerly Dutch motor torpedo boats supplementing the existing force of four obsolete Drazki-class torpedo boats. Bulgaria saw little naval fighting during the War, its main action being 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, was largely successful, as despite the loss of the Romanian minelayer Regele Carol I to a Soviet mine, the five minefields laid by the Romanian minelayers sank up to 4 Soviet submarines (S-34, L-24, Shch-210 and Shch-211).
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.
3 Eurocopter AS565 Panther (6 originally ordered, 3 later canceled)
3 Mil Mi-14 (plans for modernisation but currently not in flying condition)