|Военноморски сили на Република България|
Voennomorski sili na Republika Balgariya
|Founded||13 January 1899 |
(124 years, 3 months)
|Size||4,100 personnel (2009)|
|Part of||Bulgarian Armed Forces|
|Engagements||First Balkan War|
Second Balkan War
World War I
World War II
|Commander of the Navy||Rear Admiral Kyril Mikhailov|
|Coast guard ensign|
The Bulgarian Navy (Bulgarian: Военноморски сили на Република България, romanized: Voennomorski sili na Republika Balgariya, lit. 'Naval Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria') 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.
The Bulgarian Navy is centred in two main bases. One is near the city of Varna. The other is by the village of Atia, near the city of Burgas.
The Bulgarian Navy's first combat action was the 1912 Battle of Kaliakra during the First Balkan War, when four Bulgarian torpedo boats attacked the Ottoman cruiser Hamidiye; Bulgarian torpedo boat Drazki managed to score a hit, forcing Hamidiye to retreat back to Istanbul for emergency repairs.
See also: Romanian landings in Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Navy scuttled its four Danube gunboats during the Second Balkan War, probably to avoid capture by the invading Romanian Army. The four gunboats were 400-600-ton vessels, with a top speed of 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) and armed with two-to-four 75 mm (3 in) guns and two-to-four 47 mm (1.9 in) guns. They were still present on the Bulgarian Navy list in August 1916.
When Bulgaria entered World War I in 1915, its 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.
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 and the Soviet Union were not at war with each other, but there was still little naval fighting with Soviet submarines operating in Bulgarian waters, 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 boat 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 6 December 1941, Belomorets and Chernomorets depth-charged and sank the Soviet submarine Shch-204.
Soviet submarines also laid mines near the Bulgarian coast, the 2304-ton Bulgarian steamer Chipka being sunk off Varna by mines laid by the submarine L-4.
On 19 May 1943, the Bulgarian torpedo boat Smeli foundered between Varna and Burgas during a storm.
Any hostilities ended when Bulgaria changed sides and joined the Allied powers in September 1944.
In line with Soviet naming practices the navy of the Bulgarian People's Army was called the Military Naval Fleet (Военноморски флот (ВМФ)). The merchant marine, which was to mobilize in wartime in support of the regular navy was called Bulgarian Sea Fleet (Български Морски Флот (БМФ)).
In the 1970s the Burgas Naval Base relocated to Atia with a corresponding change in name.
The Naval Fleet Staff was located in Varna.
The Bulgarian Communist Party was forced to give up its political monopoly on 10 November 1989 under the influence of the Revolutions of 1989. With the restoration of freedom from the Warsaw Pact entanglement, it became a member of NATO in 2004, and after several years of reforms, it joined the European Union and the single market in 2007, despite EU concerns over government corruption.
In order to meet some of the NATO requirements, the Bulgarian government purchased a Wielingen-class frigate from Belgium in 2005. Wandelaar (F-912), built in 1977, was renamed to 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 more Wielingen-class frigates and one Tripartite-class minehunter in 2007.
On 21 July 2020 took place the official inauguration of the Maritime Coordination Center in Varna. This was an important step towards greater NATO and regional cooperation in the Black Sea region.
In 1989 the people's navy's inventory consisted of:
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 six to three 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. The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense signed a contract on 12/11/2020 with Lürssen Werft Germany to build two patrol boats for the Bulgarian Navy. The boats will be built by the Bulgarian MTG Dolphin shipyard in Varna and delivered in 2025 and 2026 with the 984M lev (approximately €503M) price also including training.
|Koni||Smeli (11) (Смели - Brave)||ASW Frigate||Soviet Union||1st Patrol Ships Division||Varna|||
|Wielingen||Drazki (41) (Дръзки - Daring)||Multi-Role Frigate||Belgium||4th Patrol Ships Division||Atia||ex-Belgian frigate Wandelaar|
|Verni (42) (Верни - Loyal)||ex-Belgian frigate Wielingen|
|Gordi (43) (Горди - Proud)||ex-Belgian frigate Westdiep|
|Patrol Ships (2)|
|MMPV 90||TBD||Offshore patrol|| Germany
|TBD||TBD||To be delivered by Lürssen Werft in 2025 and 2026. The ships' design is loosely based on the German Braunschweig-class corvette.|
|Tarantul||Malniya (101) (Мълния - Lightning)||Missile Corvette||Soviet Union||4th Patrol Ships Division||Atia|||
|Pauk||Reshitelni (13) (Решителни - Decisive)||ASW Corvette||Soviet Union||1st Patrol Ships Division||Varna|||
|Bodri (14) (Бодри - Brisk)|
|Mine Countermeasures Ships (20)|
|Tripartite||Tsibar (32) (Цибър)||Minehunter||Belgium||3rd Mine Counter-Measure Division||Varna||ex-Belgian Myosotis|
|Mesta (31)||Netherlands||ex-Dutch Maassluis|
|Struma (33)||ex-Dutch Hellevoetsluis|
|Olya||Iskar (51)||Minesweeper||Soviet Union||3rd Mine Counter-Measure Division||Varna|||
|Kapitan-Leytenant Kiril Minkov (53)|
|Kapitan Leytenant Evstati Vinarov (55)|
|Kapitan Parvi Rang Dimitar Paskalev (56)|
|Sonya||Briz (61) (Бриз - Sea breeze)||Minesweeper||Soviet Union||6th Mine Counter-Measure Division||Atia|||
|Shkval (62) (Шквал - Squall)|
|Priboi (63) (Прибой - Breaking wave)|
|Yevgenya||Hull numbers 65||Minesweeper||Soviet Union||6th Mine Counter-Measure Division||Atia|||
|Hull number 66|
|Hull number 67|
|Hull number 68|
|Support Ships (16)|
|Project 160 multi-purpose cutter||Hull number 121||Cutter||Bulgaria||18th Support Ships Division||Varna|||
|Hull number 215|
|Hull number 216|
|Hull number 312||96th Support Ships Division||Atia|
|Hull number 313|
|Project 245 cutter||Hull number 223||Cutter||Bulgaria||18th Support Ships Division||Varna|||
|Hull number 323||96th Support Ships Division||Atia|
|Project 612 survey cutter||Hull number 231||Cutter||Bulgaria||18th Support Ships Division||Varna|||
|Hull number 331||96th Support Ships Division||Atia|
|Project 250 fireboat||Aheloy (321) (Ахелой)||Fireboat||Bulgaria||96th Support Ships Division||Atia|||
|Project 650 tanker||Balchik (203) (Балчик)||Tanker||Bulgaria||18th Support Ships Division||Varna|||
|Akin (303) (Акин)||96th Support Ships Division||Atia|
|Hull number 211||Tugboat||Bulgaria||18th Support Ships Division||Varna|||
|Hull number 410||Tugboat||Bulgaria||96th Support Ships Division||Atia|||
|Type 1799 degaussing ship||Captain 1st rank Dimitar Dobrev (206)||Degaussing ship||Poland||18th Support Ships Division||Varna|||
|Rescue vessel||Proteo (224) (Протео)||Italy||18th Support Ships Division||Varna||ex-Italian А 5310 Proteo|
|Training Ships (1)|
|Hull number 421||Training vessel||Bulgaria||Naval academy "N.Y. Vaptsarov"||Varna|||
|P-15MC Termit||Soviet Union||anti-ship missiles|
|SA-N-4||Soviet Union||surface-to-air missiles|
|SA-N-5||Soviet Union||surface-to-air missiles|
|RIM-7 Sea Sparrow||United States||surface-to-air missiles|
Main article: Military ranks of Bulgaria
The rank insignia of commissioned officers.
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
| Bulgarian Navy
|Капитан I ранг
Kapitan I rang
|Капитан II ранг
Kapitan II rang
|Капитан III ранг
Kapitan III rang
The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.
| Bulgarian Navy
|Старшина 1 степен
Starshina 1 stepen
|Старшина 2 степен
Starshina 2 stepen