Bulgarian Navy

Bulgarian Navy
Naval Ensign of Bulgaria
Naval Jack of Bulgaria
Coastguard Ensign of Bulgaria

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 combat submarines (excluding Slava) are now docked and have been out of operation for some time. The last one should be decomissioned at November 2011. 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.


Bulgarian Naval Forces

Project 1241.2E (Pauk-class) corvette "Reshitelni"
Bulgarian fleet in Varna
Wielingen class frigate. Former F911 Westdiep - now BGS Gordi (43)
  • 'Naval Headquarters' (Щаб на ВМС)
    • Varna Naval Base (ВМБ Варна)
      • HQ Varna NB
      • 1st Patrol Ships Division (1 Дивизион патрулни кораби)
      • 2nd Coastal Missile and Artilery Division (2 брегови ракетно артилерийски дивизион)
      • 8th underwater operations Division (8 Дивизион за подводни операции)
      • 3rd Mine Counter-Measure Division (3 Дивизион минно-трални кораби)
      • 18th Support Ships Division (18 Дивизион спомагателни кораби)
      • support units
      • depot
    • Burgas Naval Base (ВМБ Бургас)
      • HQ Burgas NB
      • 4th Patrol Ships Division (4 Дивизион патрулни кораби)
      • 6th Mine Counter-Measure Division (6 Дивизион минно-трални кораби)
      • 96th Support Ships Division (96 Дивизион спомагателни кораби)
      • depot
    • Independent Naval Helicopter Air Base "Chayka" (Отделна морска вертолетнa авиобаза "Чайка")
      • Independent Naval Helicopter Squadron (Отделна морска вертолетна ескадрила)
    • 63rd Naval Special Warfare Unit(Literally translated:"Seaborne Special Reconnaissance Force") "Black Sea Sharks" (63ти Морски специален разузнавателен отряд "Черноморски акули")
    • Naval Engineer Battalion (Инженерно-сапьорен батальон)
    • Communications Center (Радиокомуникационен възел)
    • Main Naval Depot (Складове на ВМС)
    • Armament Naval Depot (Складове за боеприпаси на ВМС)
    • Hydrographical and Lighthouse Service (Хидрографска и фарова служба)
    • Nikola Vaptsarov Higher Naval Education School (Висше военно-морско училище "Никола Йонков Вапцаров")

"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: Военноморски специализиран отдел за проучвания и анализи) was a clandestine agency within the Navy, intended to conduct intelligence gathering and "unofficial" paramilitary operations. 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 operatives, were false flag operations. No records about these operations could be found.

Omicron Unit

Omicron unit was the code name of the 2nd tactical unit/Operative section of the NSRAD.It was under command of lieutenant (later 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 from the ships' decks.

Type Name Class Origin Details
Frigate Drazki (41) (Дръзки - Daring) Wielingen Class  Belgium ex-Belgian frigate Wandelaar (F912)
Frigate Verni (42) (Верни - Loyal) Wielingen Class  Belgium ex-Belgian frigate Wielingen (F910)
Frigate Gordi (43) (Горди - Proud) Wielingen Class  Belgium ex-Belgian frigate Westdiep (F911)
Frigate Smeli (11) (Смели - Brave) Koni Class  Soviet Union
ASW Corvette Reshitelni (13) (Решителни - Intrepid) Pauk Class  Soviet Union
ASW Corvette Bodri (14) (Бодри - Vital) Pauk Class  Soviet Union
Corvette Mulniya (101) (Мълния - Lightning) Tarantul Class  Soviet Union
Minesweeper Tsibar Tripartite Class  Belgium ex-Myosotis(M922)


The Navy's only aircraft are 7 Soviet Union Mi-14 Haze helicopters for anti-submarine patrol, search and rescue, and other naval support tasks.[1] All are not flight worthy and shall be replaced by 3 Eurocopter AS565MB "Panther" naval helicopters.


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


  1. ^ Aviation Week & Space Technology, 20070115

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