Azerbaijani Navy

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Azerbaijani Navy
Azərbaycan Hərbi Dəniz Qüvvələri
Hərbi Dəniz Qüvvələri.jpg
Naval Flag of Azerbaijan.svg
Active c.1992 - present
Country  Azerbaijan
Allegiance Azerbaijan
Branch Naval Forces
Size 5,000 perssonel,[1] 31 vessels, 6 aircraft
Headquarters Wolf naval base (in proximity of Bay of Baku)
Commanders
Commander of Azerbaijani Naval Forces Shahin Sultanov

The Azerbaijan Navy (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Hərbi Dəniz Qüvvələri) is the Naval component of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces operating in the Caspian Sea.

History[edit]

The inception of Azerbaijani Naval Forces dates back to August 5, 1918 when the government of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic established the navy force on the basis of Russian Imperial fleet deployed in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. The navy had 6 ships. After establishment of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan, the navy was transferred under jurisdiction of Soviet Navy. In 1991, with collapse of the Soviet Union, the Azerbaijani fleet of Soviet Navy was divided between Azerbaijan and Russian Federation. In July 1992, the Azerbaijani ships were put into operation under Azerbaijani Flag raiding the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. According to the Presidential Decree of Heydar Aliyev from 1996, August 5 was declared the Day of Azerbaijani Navy. As of today, Azerbaijani Navy is considered second strongest in the Caspian Sea after Russian fleet.[2]

Azerbaijani Navy on Baku Bay during military parade.

Jane's Fighting Ships said in their entry for the Azeri Navy in their 2001-2002 edition that 'the Coast Guard was formed in July 2002 with ships transferred from the Caspian Flotilla and the Border Guard. By 1995 overall control had been resumed by the Russians in order to provide adequate maintenance and support. The aim is to be independent again in due course.'[1] It named the navy's commander at the time as Captain Rafig Asgarov. Currently, the navy is led by Vice Admiral Shahin Sultanov.[3]

Strength[edit]

An old U.S. Coast Guard 82-foot patrol boat, now part of the Azeri Maritime Brigade, lies at anchor in Baku
Class (Type) In Service Notes
Submarines
Midget submarine 4 Triton-2m and Triton-1 submarines used by Azerbaijani Navy
Frigates
Petya-class frigate 1 (modernised) ARG Gusar(G121) modernised by USA and Turkey.
Patrol/Missile/Torpedo boats
Stenka-class patrol boat 5
Osa-class missile boat 3
Svetlyak-class patrol boat 2
AB-25 class patrol craft 2 2000 AB-34 (P-134) and AB-35 (P-135) transferred to Azerbaijan
Kılıç-class fast attack craft  ?? Azerbaijan interesting Turkish Kilic class fast attack crafts
Point-class cutter 1 Azerbaijan buy 1 Point class cutter (S-201) from USA
Landing crafts
Polnocny-class landing ship 6 2 Polnocny-A and 4 Polnocny-B version
Minesweepers
Sonya-class minesweeper 2
Yevgenya-class minesweeper 5
Naval Aviation
CASA/IPTN CN-235 3 HC-144A version
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin 2
Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma 1

Navy Special Forces[edit]

In 2001, Azerbaijan created a special forces unit which was established with cooperation with the Turkish Navy. The training and organisation structure of the unit may be similar to Turkish special forces, Su Altı Taarruz and United States Special Forces who have a training relationship with them.[4]

In 2004 a U.S. Navy SEAL team from Little Creek Amphibious Base, Va., participate in joint exercises with the Azeri Navy’s 641st Special Warfare Naval Unit, headquartered at the Azeri Naval Station outside Baku.[5] The unit has been described as an 'impressive new maritime special forces unit.[6]

In 2005, Blackwater USA's Maritime Division was contracted to conduct interdiction training for the Azerbaijani naval special forces.[7]

Cooperation with U.S.[edit]

Azerbaijani Navy personnel during a military parade in Baku.

In 2006, the U.S. Government donated three motorboats to the Azerbaijani Navy. There is also an agreement to provide U.S. support to refurbish Azerbaijani warships in the Caspian Sea.

On May 19, 2006, the Azerbaijani and Turkish Navy held a joint military exercise on safeguarding the security of oil and gas pipelines in Baku. The training session was observed by Azerbaijan Navy commander Shahin Sultanov and Turkish Armed Forces attaché Seyhan Ceyhan. The activities aimed to ensure the safety of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), the main export pipeline to take Caspian oil to Turkey and further on to world markets, as well as on expanding cooperation between the two countries’ military. The exercises started with the clearance of mines were on the seabed. This was followed by rendering harmless the traps planted in the area by symbolic terrorists. The training concluded with the practice of maritime and air operations.[8]

In 2007, an agreement between the Azerbaijani Navy and a U.S. military company was concluded, which stated that a part of the Azerbaijani Navy would be equipped with advanced laser marksmanship devices/systems. U.S. company specialists were also due to give training for the use of this new equipment.[9]

Caspian Guard Initiative[edit]

Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, meets with Vice Admiral Shahin Sultanov in Baku, Azerbaijan

The Caspian Guard Initiative is a framework program designed to coordinate activities in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan with those of U.S. Central Command and other U.S government agencies to enhance Caspian security. The initiative assists the two countries in improving their ability to prevent and, if needed, respond to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, drug and human trafficking, and other transnational threats in the Caspian region. EUCOM is responsible for operations in Azerbaijan.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]