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Naval Ensign of Bulgaria

Naval Jack of Bulgaria

Coastguard Ensign of Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Navy (Bulgarian language: 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, in 2005 the Bulgarian government bought from Belgium a Wielingen-class frigate, the BNS Wandelaar (F-912) (built in 1977), 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 Endaevour). In 2006, following a decision of the Bulgarian Parliament, 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 ever the Bulgarian Navy took part in an international peacekeeping operation. The Bulgarian government purchased two Wielingen-class frigates and one Tripartite 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 AS.565MB naval helicopters ordered are 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.

Naval Specialised Research and Analysis Division

The NSRAD (Bulgarian language: Военноморски специализиран отдел за проучвания и анализи

) was a clandestine agency within the Navy, intended to conduct intelligence gathering and "unofficial" paramilitary operations. Due to the fact, that most of its operatives also had a significant training in IT sciences, the division probably also served as Bulgarian Navy's equivalent of the United States Cyber Command. It was disbanded in January 2005 for reasons unknown, but probably related to recent acceptance of Bulgaria to NATO. All information about its organisation and personnel remains sketchy at best (see: Gamma unit, Omicron unit, Theta unit, Zeta unit). Virtually all operations, conducted by the division, were false flag operations with no records surviving, suggesting that the division operated outside established chain of command.

Bulgarian Navy

Omicron Unit

Omicron unit was the code name of the 2nd tactical unit/Operative section of the NSRAD.It was under command of lieutenant (promoted in 2004 to captain-lieutenant) Alexander Ryenski (Bulgarian: Александър Риенски). The name of the unit commander is most likely an alias.

Zeta Unit

Zeta unit was the code name of the 4th tactical unit/Operative section of Bulgarian Naval specialised research and analysis division. It was under command of lieutenant Daniel Stoyanov (Bulgarian: Даниел Стоянов). The name of the unit commander is most likely an alias.


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.

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

Bulgarian Eurocopter AS565 Panther in Paris Air Show


3 Eurocopter AS565 Panther 4 Mil Mi-14 to be modernized


Type Origin Details
P-15MC Termit  Soviet Union anti-ship missiles
Exocet  France anti-ship missiles
RIM-7 Sea Sparrow United States air defence missiles
SA-N-4  Soviet Union air defence missiles
SA-N-5  Soviet Union air defence missiles


  3. 3.0 3.1
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2
  13. 13.0 13.1
  14. 14.0 14.1
  15. 15.0 15.1
  16. 16.0 16.1
  19. 19.0 19.1

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