Armada de la República de Colombia
Coat of Arms of the Colombian Navy
|Active||September 17, 1810 - Present|
|Role||Protection of the seas and rivers of Colombia|
|Size||35,502 (As of 2010[update]) 
~13,000 Officers & sailors
~22,000 Marine Infantry
|Garrison/HQ||Colombian Ministry of Defense|
|Motto||Plus Ultra (Latin: further beyond)|
|March||"Viva Colombia, soy marinero"|
|Engagements||Battle of Lake Maracaibo
Thousand Days War (Civil war)
World War II
Colombian Armed Conflict
|Vadm. Hernando Wills Velez (2013) |
|José Prudencio Padilla|
The Colombian Navy (Spanish: Armada Nacional de la República de Colombia), also known as the "Armada Nacional" or just the "Armada" in Spanish, is the naval branch of the military forces of Colombia. The Navy is responsible for security and defence in the Colombian zones of both the Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific oceans, the extensive network of rivers inside the country, and a few small land areas under its direct jurisdiction.
As of 2010, the Colombian Navy had 35,502 personnel including approximately 22,000 in the Marine Infantry corps. 
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Equipment
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Colombian Navy was born with Colombian independence from Spain. The president of the Supreme Board of Cartagena, José María García Toledo, created the Naval Command Office by means of a decree dated September 17, 1810. The navy was placed under the command of Captain Juan Nepomuceno Eslava, junior son of the (former) Spanish Viceroy Sebastián de Eslava.
On June 28, 1822, General Francisco de Paula Santander created the Naval School, which was later on decommissioned until 1907, when President Rafael Reyes Prieto created the Naval Academy, through decree 783 of July 6, 1907 only to be closed off yet again by his successor, Ramón González Valencia on December 28, 1909.
The conflict with Peru in 1932 made the Colombian Navy reappear, this time to stay. New ships were acquired and the "Escuela de Grumetes" (Navy Sailors School) was founded in 1934 and the "Escuela de Cadetes" (Navy Officers School) was founded in 1935. Nowadays both schools continue their work of instructing the Colombian men and women of the sea.
Engagements and Conflicts
- Battle of Lake Maracaibo
- Thousand Days War (Civil war)
- Colombia-Peru War
- World War II
- Korean War
- Colombian Armed Conflict
World War II, the U-154 Incident
While initially declaring neutrality, but nevertheless being aligned towards the Allied cause, Colombia declared a state of war against Germany on November 23, 1943. The Colombian navy was already active on combat patrols in the Caribbean, after multiple attacks by U-boats in the area against American and British ships entering or leaving the Panama Canal. On March 29, 1944 the tanker ARC Cabimas was en route from Cartagena to Panama City, escorted by the destroyer ARC Caldas under the command of Captain Federico Diago. Around 8:00 pm, the Caldas detected the periscope of a U-boat and proceeded to engage it with cannon fire and depth charges. Later accounts identified this U-boat as the U-154. While badly shaken and perhaps damaged, the U-154 managed to escape, and was finally sunk four months later in another engagement with the USS Frost and the USS Inch. For his quick reaction in defence of the national seas, Captain Diago was later decorated by the Colombian government.
The Navy is part of the executive branch of the Colombian Government, the President of Colombia being the commander-in-chief of all military forces,via the civilian Minister of Defense, and the General Commander of Military Forces (Spanish: Comandante General Fuerzas Militares), who is a senior officer appointed by the president from any of the 3 services (Army, Air Force or Navy). The most senior officer organic to the Navy is the Commander of the Navy (Spanish: Comandante de la Armada Nacional).
Forces and Commands
The Colombian Navy operates with 8 specialized forces or commands across the territory:
- Marine Infantry Command: Land, amphibious and riverine operations across all territory.
- Naval Force of the Pacific: Surface and submarine defense and patrol of the Colombian Pacific sea.
- Naval Force of the Caribbean: Surface and submarine defense and patrol of the Colombian Caribbean sea.
- Naval Force of the South: Riverine operations across the Southern and Southeastern areas of the country.
- Naval Force of the East
- Coast Guard Command: Maritime security, control, monitoring and interdiction in both Caribbean and Pacific seas.
- Navy Aviation Command: Naval air support, surveillance, transport and logistics and Search and Rescue.
- Specific Command of San Andres y Providencia:Surface and submarine defense and patrol of the Colombian Caribbean sea around the San Andres Archipelago.
Along with the 7 operational commands above, the Colombian Navy maintains 3 major training schools for its personnel:
- Naval Academy: Escuela Naval de Cadetes "Almirante Padilla"
- Navy NCO School: Escuela Naval de Suboficiales ARC Barranquilla
- Marine Infantry Basic School: Escuela de Formación Infantería de Marina
The Navy also has 12 other post graduate schools aimed at sharpening and intensifying the needed capacities and personnel of the various naval services and the Marine Corps.
The ARC maintains a number of major bases in both Caribbean and Pacific littorals, as well as multiple operational riverine bases scattered over the territory.
The principal naval bases are:
- Naval Base ARC Bolívar (BN-1), near Cartagena,
- Naval Base ARC Bahía Málaga (BN-2), near Buenaventura,
- Naval Base ARC Leguízamo (BN-3), near Puerto Leguízamo,
- Naval Base ARC San Andrés (BN-4), at San Andrés,
- Naval Base ARC Barranquilla (BN-5), near Barranquilla,
some of the more important operational bases are:
- Riverine and Coast Guard Post, near Tumaco,
- Riverine and Marine Infantry Post, near Leticia,
- Riverine and Marine Infantry Post, near Puerto Berrío
- Riverine and Marine Infantry Post, near Puerto Carreño
- Riverine and Marine Infantry Post, near Puerto Inírida
As of 2010[update], the Colombian Navy fields approximately 35,000 personnel, including roughly 22,000 Marine Infantry, 8,000 sailors and NCOs, 2,500 Officers, 1,300 personnel in training and some 2,000 civilians (these usually deployed to specialty technical or medical posts).
Ranks & Insignias
|Ranks and Insignias - Colombian Navy|
|NATO code [n 1]||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1|
|(Spanish)||-||Almirante||Almirante de Escuadra||Vicealmirante||Contralmirante||Capitán de Navío||Capitán de Fragata||Capitán de Corbeta||Teniente de Navío||Teniente de Fragata||Teniente de Corbeta|
|(English)||-||Admiral||Squadron Admiral||Vice Admiral||Rear Admiral,
|Ship-of-the-line Captain||Frigate Captain||Corvette Captain||Ship-of-the-line Lieutenant||Frigate Lieutenant||Corvette Lieutenant|
Non-Commissioned Officers and Seamen
|NATO code [n 1]||OR-9||OR-8||OR-7||OR-6||OR-5||OR-4||OR-3||OR-2||OR-1|
|(Spanish)||Suboficial Jefe Técnico de Comando Conjunto||Suboficial Jefe Técnico de Comando||Suboficial Jefe Técnico||Suboficial Jefe||Suboficial Primero||Suboficial Segundo||Suboficial Tercero||Marinero Primero||Marinero Segundo||-|
|(English)||Joint Command Chief Technical Petty Officer||Command Chief Technical Petty Officer||Chief Technical Petty Officer||Chief Petty Officer||Petty Officer First Class||Petty Officer Second Class||Petty Officer Third Class||Seaman||Seaman Recruit||-|
In keeping with its 3 major operational scenarios: blue-water operations, littoral/riverine operations and coast guard, the ARC maintains a mix of ships suited to each of those profiles. The scope of its operation has been historically oriented towards lightly armed coastal patrol, and as such, the majority of its vessels had been usually mid-size cutters. Traditionally, the ARC has had strong ties to the American and German navies and shipbuilders and much of its equipment traces its roots to them.
Similar to other navies in the Latin-American region, the Colombian Navy acquired many vessels in the postwar years of the 50s and 60s, usually as war surplus from the US Navy, and then went through a somewhat dormant period during the 60s to 80s, during which few major acquisitions were performed.
In more recent years, the Colombian Navy has seen two major periods of upgrading and modernization of its equipment:
The first period, as a result of the rise of the drug trade in the late 70s and 80s as well as, at the time, increased political tensions in the Caribbean due to territorial disputes with some of its neighbors -with Nicaragua over the San Andres archipelago and with Venezuela over the Los Monjes Archipelago- saw the need for a stronger caribbean patrol force, and resulted in the acquisition of its biggest vessels to date, 4 missile corvettes ( later upgraded to light frigates ) in 1983 as well as some additional patrol craft.
The second period, as a consequence of the deepening in the internal Colombian conflict, started in late 90s and extended over to 2005-2006, provided strengthening of its riverine and littoral capabilities, involving R&D for new indigenous designs in collaboration with the state-owned Cotecmar shipyards that resulted in new types of vessels such as the state-of-the-art Riverine Support Patrol Boats (Spanish: Patrullera de Apoyo Fluvial, "PAF"), also called "riverine mothership" (Spanish: Nodriza Fluvial) like the ARC Juan Ricardo Oyola Vera (NF-613) which have drawn the eye of other navies with similar requirements.
Currently, the ARC is working on additional medium and long-term programs, including the development and acquisition of a number of Coastal Patrol Vessels (Fassmer CPV-40) [n 2]  in 2011-2012, 2 Oceanic Oceanic Patrol Vessels (Fassmer OPV-80) (2011–2013), and the R&D of an indigenous corvette or frigate-class vessel ("Plataforma Estratégica de Superficie"), planned towards 2018-2020.
7 October 2011, South Korea is to donate a recently retired Pohang class corvette to Colombia as part of a drive to boost arms exports to the South American region. Kun San (757) was decommissioned by the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) on 29 September, having been active for some 27 years since entering service in 1984.
The Navy Aviation Command operates approximately 17 fixed and rotary wing aircraft for naval surveillance and patrol, Search and Rescue (SAR), and logistical support of naval facilities and operations.
|Colombian Navy – Aircraft|
|CASA C-212 Aviocar||Spain||transport||C-212-100||1|
|CASA CN-235||Spain||Maritime patrol||3|
|Cessna 208||United States||utility||2|
|Beechcraft Super King Air||United States||transport||King Air 350||1|
|Bell UH-1N Twin Huey||United States||transport helicopter||5|
|Bell 412HP||United States||utility helicopter||Unknown||One lost on 6 January 2013.|
|MBB/Kawasaki BK 117||Germany/ Japan||transport helicopter||1|
|MBB Bo 105||Germany||ASW/utility helicopter||Bo 105CB||2|
|Eurocopter AS 555 Fennec||France||utility helicopter||AS 555||2|
- Colombia is not a member of NATO, so there is not an official equivalence between the Colombian military ranks and those defined by NATO. The displayed parallel is approximate and for illustration purposes only.
- Some sources have cited the acquisition of up to 4 CPV-40 vessels, however, as of April 2011, only one has been confirmed launched, and budgetary constraints may change this number in the future.
- Ministerio de Defensa Nacional,Colombia (1 November 2010). "Logros de la Política de Consolidación de la Seguridad Democrática, 2010" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Armada Republica de Colombia. "Comandante de la Armada Nacional" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Ministerio de Defensa Nacional,Colombia (1 November 2009). "Logros de la Política de Consolidación de la Seguridad Democrática, 2009" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- David Bushnell (2 July 1995). "Colombia y la causa de los aliados en la segunda guerra mundial". Credencial Historia (in (Spanish)) (67). Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Clave 1944 ARC Caldas hunde submarino nazi" (in (Spanish)). El Tiempo. 22 April 1991. Retrieved 2011-28-04.
- "Forces and commands" (in Spanish). armada.mil.co. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Armada Republica de Colombia (2006). "Insignias de la Armada" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Congreso de la República de Colombia (28 July 2010). "Ley 1405 de 2010 Nuevos Grados Militares" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- Infodefensa.com. "Las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia estrenan nuevo armamento" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Fassmer Shipbuilding. "Launching of Colombian Navy 40m Coastal Patrol Vessel (CPV40)" (in (English)). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- </ in 2011-2012 Colombian Navy intruduce ARC 20, First ship build in Colombia by COTECMAR /> Fr.Cpt. Germán H Locarno (1 October 2010). "Porqué un OPV para la ARC?". Revista Armada (in (Spanish)) (97). ISSN 1692-1097. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- Defense Market Intelligence. "Colombia; Navy granted ex-S. Korean missile Corvette". Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- World Air Forces 2013 - Flightglobal.com, pg 13, December 11, 2012
- Air Forces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing Ltd. March 2013. p. 32.
- (Spanish) Colombian Navy Official site.
- (Spanish) Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Colombia Colombian Defense Ministry - Official site.
- (Spanish) Colombia: Seguridad & Defensa Unofficial site - Extensive information about Colombian military forces.
- (Spanish) UNFFMM página no oficial de las Fuerzas Militares de Colombia Unofficial fan site for the Military Forces of Colombia.