Bulgarian Navy

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Bulgarian Navy
Военноморски сили на Република България
Voennomorski sili na Republika Balgariya
Naval Ensign of Bulgaria.svg
Ensign of the Bulgarian Navy
Active 13 January 1899–present
Country  Bulgaria
Branch Bulgarian Armed Forces
Type Navy
Size 4,100 personnel (2009)
Part of Ministry of Defence
Garrison/HQ Varna
Anniversaries 9 August
Engagements First Balkan War
Second Balkan War
World War I
World War II
Rear Admiral Rumen Nikolov
Naval Ensign Naval Ensign of Bulgaria.svg
Naval Jack Naval Jack of Bulgaria.svg
Coastguard Ensign Coastguard Ensign of Bulgaria.svg

The Bulgarian Navy (Bulgarian: Военноморски сили на Република България, Voennomorski sili na Republika Balgariya) is the navy of 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.[1] Only the more modern frigates, corvettes and missile crafts are on active duty.

In order to meet at least some of the NATO requirements, the Bulgarian government bought from Belgium a Wielingen-class frigate, the BNS Wandelaar (F-912) (built in 1977) in 2005, and renamed it to the BG Drazki. In 2005, Bulgarian ship Smeli for first time took part as full NATO member in NATO OAE (Operation Active Endeavour). In 2006, following a decision of the Bulgarian National Assembly, Drazki took part in 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 ever 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.


Project 1241.2E (Pauk-class) corvette "Reshitelni"
Bulgarian fleet in Varna
Wielingen-class frigate. Former F911 Westdiep - now BGS Gordi (43)
  • Naval Forces Command, Varna
    • Naval Forces Staff
    • Naval Operations Center
    • Coastal Fundamental System for CIS Support
    • Coastal Information Detachment
    • Independent Electronic Surveillance Detachment
    • Command, Control and Communications Units
    • Naval Base Command
      • Naval Base Staff
      • Naval Base Location Varna
      • Naval Base Location Atiya
      • Repair and Maintenance Center
      • Armament and Equipment Storage
      • Ship Divisions
        • 1st Patrol Ships Division
        • 3rd Mine Counter-Measure Division
        • 4th Patrol Ships Division
        • 6th Mine Counter-Measure Division
        • 18th Support Ships Division
        • 96th Support Ships Division
      • 2nd Coastal Anti-Ship Missile and Artillery Battalion
    • Independent Naval Helicopter Air Base "Chayka"
    • 63rd Naval Special Forces Reconnaissance Detachment "Black Sea Sharks"
    • Hydrographical Service of the Naval Forces
    • Equipment Storage Base of the Naval Forces
    • Military Police Company of the Naval Forces Command

"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 by 2014, the frigates will be equipped with landing pads, allowing helicopters to land and take off from the ships' decks. The list doesn't include vessels assigned to border police.

Name Type Class Origin Details
1st Patrol Ships Division (Naval Base Location Varna)
Reshitelni (13) (Решителни - Decisive) ASW Corvette Pauk  Soviet Union [2]
Bodri (14) (Бодри - Brisk) ASW Corvette Pauk  Soviet Union [2]
Smeli (11) (Смели - Brave) Frigate Koni  Soviet Union [3]
3rd Mine Counter-Measure Division (Naval Base Location Varna)
Tsibar (32) (Цибър) Minehunter Tripartite  Belgium ex-Myosotis (M922)[4]
Hull numbers 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56 Minesweeper Olya  Soviet Union [5]
Iskar (31) (Искър) Minesweeper Vanya  Soviet Union [6]
Dobrotich (33) (Добротич) Minesweeper Vanya  Soviet Union [7]
Captain-lieutenant Kiril Minkov (34) Minesweeper Vanya  Soviet Union [8]
Captain 1st rank Dimitar Paskalev (36) Minesweeper Vanya  Soviet Union [9]
4th Patrol Ships Division (Naval Base Location Atiya)
Drazki (41) (Дръзки - Daring) Frigate Wielingen  Belgium ex-Belgian frigate Wandelaar (F912)[10]
Verni (42) (Верни - Loyal) Frigate Wielingen  Belgium ex-Belgian frigate Wielingen (F910)[10]
Gordi (43) (Горди - Proud) Frigate Wielingen  Belgium ex-Belgian frigate Westdiep (F911)[10]
Malniya (101) (Мълния - Lightning) Corvette Tarantul  Soviet Union [11]
Hull numbers 103, 104, 111, 113 Missile boat Osa  Soviet Union [12]
6th Mine Counter-Measure Division (Naval Base Location Atiya)
Briz (61) (Бриз - Sea breeze) Minesweeper Sonya  Soviet Union [13]
Shkval (62) (Шквал - Squall) Minesweeper Sonya  Soviet Union [13]
Priboi (63) (Прибой - Breaking wave) Minesweeper Sonya  Soviet Union [13]
Hull numbers 65, 66, 67, 68 Minesweeper Yevgenya  Soviet Union [14]
18th Support Ships Division (Naval Base Location Varna)
Captain 1st rank Dimitar Dobrev (206) Degaussing ship Type 1799 degaussing ship  Poland [15]
Hull numbers 121, 215, 216 Cutter Project 160 multi-purpose cutter  Bulgaria [16]
Hull number 223 Cutter Project 245 cutter  Bulgaria [17]
Hull number 231 Cutter Project 612 survey cutter  Bulgaria [18]
Balchik (203) (Балчик) Tanker Project 650 tanker  Bulgaria [19]
Proteo (224) (Протео) Rescue vessel  Italy ex-Italian А 5310 Proteo [20][21]
Hull number 211 Tugboat  Bulgaria [22]
96th Support Ships Division (Naval Base Location Atiya)
Antares (301) (Антарес) Landing ship Polnocny  Poland [23]
Hull numbers 312, 313 Cutter Project 160 multi-purpose cutter  Bulgaria [24]
Hull number 323 Cutter Project 245 cutter  Bulgaria [25]
Hull number 331 Cutter Project 612 survey cutter  Bulgaria [26]
Akin (303) (Акин) Tanker Project 650 tanker  Bulgaria [27]
Aheloy (321) (Ахелой) Fireboat Project 250 fireboat  Bulgaria [28]
Hull number 410 Tugboat  Bulgaria [29]
Naval academy "N.Y. Vaptsarov" (Naval Base Location Varna)
Hull number 421 Training vessel  Bulgaria [30]
Bulgarian Eurocopter AS565 Panther in Paris Air Show


3 Eurocopter AS565 Panther (6 originally ordered, 3 canceled later)

3 Mil Mi-14 (plans for modernisation but currently not in flying condition)


Type Origin Details
Exocet  France anti-ship missiles
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


  1. ^ http://www.defencegreece.com/index.php/2011/11/bulgarian-navy-discards-submarine-force/
  2. ^ a b http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt_1241
  3. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_smeli_pr1159
  4. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_tripartite
  5. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_Olya
  6. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20257D
  7. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20257D
  8. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20257D
  9. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20257D
  10. ^ a b c http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_druzki_F912
  11. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_Mulniya_pr1241
  12. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20205
  13. ^ a b c http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%201265
  14. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%201258
  15. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt1799
  16. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20160
  17. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20245
  18. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_hidrografski
  19. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt650
  20. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proteo
  21. ^ http://pan.bg/view_article-35-5340-Spasitelen-korab-Proteo.html
  22. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_tlaskach-vlekach
  23. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_pr770EMA
  24. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20160
  25. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt%20245
  26. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_hidrografski
  27. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt650
  28. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_proekt250
  29. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_tlaskach-vlekach
  30. ^ http://vimpel.boinaslava.net/index.php?module=bg_trainingship421