14 Nisan 2011 Perşembe
Bulgarian navy faces trimming, modernisation
The Bulgarian navy will modernise three of its frigates by 2014, Defence Minister Anyu Angelov said on April 12 2011, as quoted by the Bulgarian news agency BTA.
As part of the overhaul, the frigates will be equipped with landing pads, allowing helicopters to land and take off from from the ships' decks.
By the end of 2014, several ships will be decommissioned from the Bulgarian navy, including a submarine and several "missile boats" and mine sweepers, Angelov said. The measures are taken to "improve the technical efficiency of the navy".
The trimming of the Bulgarian navy is part of the overall cutbacks, as the country's armed forces have suffered the harshest military spending cuts in central and eastern Europe, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIRPI), quoted by Bulgarian news agency BTA on April 11 2011.
According to SIPRI's data, Bulgaria slashed its military spending by about 28 per cent in 2010.
Angelov's remarks came during an international conference on increasing naval security in the Black Sea region, which began on April 12 in Zlatni Pyassutsi, attended by navy officials from Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria.
Bulgaria will join the international military operation against the Gaddafi regime in Libya with the deployment of the frigate Druzki, following a Cabinet decision from March 30.
The frigate will be deployed "after Easter" and no future deployments are envisioned for the moment, Angelov said, as quoted by Dnevnik on April 12. It was estimated that the deployment of the frigate will cost 1.5 million leva a month, while Druzki will be deployed for a period of three months.
It is not expected that the mission will be hazardous, although the frigate will be combat ready. Druzki would sail with a crew of 160, there will be "special naval units", military police and English and Arab interpreters.
Wielingen class frigate