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Latvian Naval Forces


Latvian Naval Forces (NATO/Partnership for Peace operations and various exercises with great success. The main development priorities of the NF are to expand their activities within the Baltic States’ Ship Squadron BALTRON and to develop a Sea Surveillance System. They pay a great deal of attention to professionally specialized training and English-language teaching. One of the key tasks facing the NF is to develop its infrastructure.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Mission 2
  • Structure of Naval Forces 3
  • Ships in the Naval Forces 4
    • Current 4.1
    • Retired 4.2
  • References 5

History

Naval Forces minelayer A-53 “VIRSAITIS” in harbor

When Latvia regained its independence in 1991, it began recreating the Latvian Naval Forces under the command of Admiral (then Captain) Gaidis Zeibots. In 1994 the Naval Forces were composed of the Southern Region (in Liepāja), the Central Region (in Riga), the Coastal Defense Battalion (in Ventspils) and the Training Center (in Liepāja). The most important naval event of these early days of the re-established Latvian Republic occurred on April 11, 1991 when the Latvian flag was hoisted on the re-established Navy's first ship "SAMS." This date is now recognized as the rebirth of the Latvian Naval Forces.

In 1999 the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON) was created with ships from the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Navies. Latvian Navy Captain Ilmars Lesinskis, then the Commander of the Southern District, was appointed to serve as the first commander of this multi-national force.

On July 1, 1999 Latvian Naval Forces were reorganized. The present structure was established on the basis of previous regional units – the War Ships Flotilla (HQ is in Liepāja), the Coast Guard Ships Flotilla in Riga (subunits are in Liepāja and Ventspils), the Coastal Defense Battalion in Ventspils (subunits are along the coast of the Baltic Sea and Riga Bay), the Training Center in Liepāja, the Logistic Base in Liepāja (subunits are in Riga and Ventspils).

On July 1, 2004 Latvian Naval Forces were reorganized again and since that time they consist of the Naval Forces Headquarters, Naval Forces Flotilla HQ with subunits, and the Coast Guard Service. The new structure make possible to organize personnel training and specialization better than before, as well as to share out responsibility between commanders.

Mission

Naval Forces divers in the evacuation of the cruise ship Mona Lisa

The Naval Force provides defense of the national territorial waters, carries out explosive ordnance disposal activities at sea and harbors, co-ordinates and carries out human search and rescue operations at sea within the national responsibility area regarding search and rescue, carries out maritime assistance services and grants places of refuge to vessels, carries out vessel disaster or emergency relief efforts, contains oil and other hazardous substances spills at sea and co-ordinates relief efforts in Latvian waters One undeniable task of all navies is to contribute to and reinforce the international prestige of the state. Warships of the Republic of Latvia have repeatedly made visits to foreign countries and have supported the visits of foreign warships and naval representatives in Latvia.

The warships of the Latvian Naval Forces Southern Region have participated in numerous international exercises (U.S. BALTOPS, COOPERATIVE JAGUAR, AMBER SEA, OPEN SPIRIT, COOPERATIVE VENTURE, BALTIC CHALLENGE, etc.). These exercises have been conducted to NATO standards, which Latvian ships have successfully met.

The main mission of Naval Forces is to:

  • Ensure the defense of the territorial sea and internal waters of the State (except rivers and lakes);
  • Perform a guarding of the coast and control the territorial sea and internal waters, as well as the exclusive economic zone;
  • Ensure the readiness of units for mobilization and combat;
  • Participate in ecological surveillance and search and rescue operations at sea, as well as take part in elimination of consequences of emergencies occurring at sea;
  • Search for explosives at sea and destroy them;
  • Secure for the State Border Guard according to the procedures specified by the Cabinet, with the technical means and vessels for the performance of their functions at sea.

Structure of Naval Forces

Naval Forces Headquarters

Naval Forces Flotilla Headquarters

  • Sea Surveillance and Communication Service
  • MCM Equipment Maintenance and Repair Center

Coast Guard Service

  • Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center
  • Coast Guard Detachment

Ships in the Naval Forces

Current

Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Notes
Staff and support (Auxiliary)
A-53 Virsaitis  Norway Vidar-class minelayer Minelayer 1978 2003
A-90 Varonis  Netherlands Buyskes class Hydrographic survey vessel 1973 2004
Mine Warfare
M-04 Imanta  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
M-05 Viesturs  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
M-06 Tālivaldis  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2008
M-07 Visvaldis  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2008
M-08 Rūsiņš  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2011
Patrol
P-05 Skrunda  Germany Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2011
P-06 Cēsis  Germany Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2011
P-07 Viesīte  Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2012
P-08 Jelgava  Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2013 2013
P-09 Rēzekne  Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2013 2014
Coast guard
KA-01 Kristaps KBV class Latvian coastal patrol boat  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1964 1993
KA-06 Gaisma  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-07 Ausma  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-08 Saule  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-09 Klints  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-14 Astra  Finland KBV Coastal patrol boat 1996 2001

Retired

Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Left service (LNF) Notes
Staff and support (Auxiliary)
A-18 Pērkons  Poland Goliat Tugboat 1960 1993 2011
Mine Warfare
M-01 Viesturs  GDR Kondor II Minehunter 1971 1994 2008
M-02 Imanta  GDR Kondor II Minehunter 1971 1994 2008
M-03 Namejs  FRG Lindau Minesweeper 1959 1999 2008
Patrol
P-03 Linga  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1968 2012
P-04 Bulta  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2011
P-01 Zibens  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2013
P-02 Lode  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2013
Coast guard
KA-02 Spulga  USSR Ribnadzor Coastal patrol boat 1964 1992 2000 Crashed
KA-03 Komēta  USSR Ribnadzor Coastal patrol boat 1964 1992 2007
KA-04 Sams Unknown Unknown Coastal patrol boat 1974 1992 1998

References

  • Latvian Ministry of Defense site
  • Latvian Naval Forces Site
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