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Latvian Naval Forces
Latvian Naval Forces emblem.svg
Active since 1991
Country Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia
Branch Naval Force
Role To defend Latvian territorial sea from external threats, conduct military and rescue operations.
Commanders
Current
commander
Commander in Chief Captain (N)Rimants Štrimaitis
Insignia
Naval Ensign Naval Ensign of Latvia
Naval Jack Naval Jack of Latvia

Latvian Naval Forces (Latvian language: Latvijas Jūras Spēki ) is a branch of the National Armed Forces tasked with conducting military and rescue operations at sea. The NF perform mine and explosive sweeping on the Baltic Sea, as well as search and rescue operations and ecological monitoring activities. The Naval Forces have participated in international 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.

HistoryEdit

File:NAF Naval Forces 02.jpg

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.

MissionEdit

File:NAF Naval Forces 03.jpg

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 ForcesEdit

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 ForcesEdit

CurrentEdit

Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Notes
Staff and support (Auxiliary)
A-53 Virsaitis LVNS Virsaitis 5949 Flag of Norway.svg Norway Vidar-class minelayer Minelayer 1978 2003
A-90 Varonis Varonis Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Buyskes class Hydrographic survey vessel 1973 2004
Mine Warfare
M-04 Imanta Naval visit, Belfast (3) - geograph.org.uk - 667223 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
M-05 Viesturs Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
M-06 Tālivaldis Tālivaldis 5975 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
M-07 Visvaldis Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
M-08 Rūsiņš Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007
Patrol
P-01 Zibens Flag of Norway.svg Norway Storm Fast patrol boat 1967 2001
P-02 Lode Flag of Norway.svg Norway Storm Fast patrol boat 1967 2001
P-05 Skrunda Flag of Germany.png Germany Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2011
P-06 Viesīte Flag of Germany.png Germany Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2011
P-07 Cēsis Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2012
P-08 Jelgava Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2013 2013
P-09 Rēzekne Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2013 2014
Coast guard
KA-01 Kristaps Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1964 1993
KA-06 Gaisma Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-08 Saule Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-09 Klints Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994
KA-14 Astra Flag of Finland.svg Finland KBV Coastal patrol boat 1996 2001

RetiredEdit

Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Left service (LNF) Notes
Staff and support (Auxiliary)
A-18 Pērkons Flag of Poland.svg Poland Goliat Tugboat 1960 1993 2011
Mine Warfare
M-01 Viesturs Flag of East Germany.svg GDR KONDOR II Minehunter 1971 1994 2008
M-02 Imanta Flag of East Germany.svg GDR KONDOR II Minehunter 1971 1994 2008
M-03 Namejs Flag of Germany.png FRG Lindau Minesweeper 1959 1999 2008
Patrol
P-03 Linga Linga P03a Flag of Norway.svg Norway Storm Patrol boat 1968 2001 2012
P-04 Bulta Flag of Norway.svg Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2001 2011
Coast guard
KA-02 Spulga Flag of the Soviet Union.svg USSR Ribnadzor Coastal patrol boat 1964 1992 2000 Crashed
KA-03 Komēta Flag of the Soviet Union.svg USSR Ribnadzor Coastal patrol boat 1964 1992 2007
KA-04 Sams Unknown Unknown Coastal patrol boat 1974 1992 1998

ReferencesEdit

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