Bulgaria Decommissions Her Last Submarine

Bulgarian Navy servicemen at the ceremony for the retirement of the last operational Bulgarian submarine Slava. Photo by BGNES

Yesterday, just as expected and reported, the last submarine was decommissioned from Bulgarian Navy.

The decommissioning of Romeo (Project 633) class BNS Slava means the termination of Bulgaria’s submarine force after 94 years.

The Romeo class, derived from the German Type XXI submarine, by Soviet Union in 1950. BNS Slava was given to Bulgarian Navy in 1986. She is well beyond her useful life. If you look to the photo left you will see just standing on her rusty hull is alone an act of courage.

The ceremony was attended by Read Admiral Plamen Manushev, Commander-in-Chief of the Bulgarian Navy, navy servicemen, and veterans, reported BGNES.

The commander of the submarine division of the Bulgarian Navy Capt. Kamen Kukurov delivered the flag of the Slava submarine to the Varna Museum of Military History.

Even though in August 2009, the Bulgarian Navy had an open-door day dedicated to the 55 years since the restoration of its submarine force, a year later the Bulgarian Defense Minister said the Navy will most likely do away with itssubmarine unit, according to Defense Minister Anyu Angelov.

The life of the only operational Bulgarian submarine “Slava” (i.e. “Glory”) expired, and it is to be retired in the coming months which will mean shutting down altogether Bulgaria’s submarine force.

The only other Bulgarian submarine that was operation in the recent years was the Nadezhda (i.e. “Hope”); it has practically been retired for ten years because it lacks a battery. At the beginning of 2009, the Bulgarian Navy considered turning it into a museum.

Bulgaria used to operate 4 submarines at the height of  the Cold War.

I do not believe that submarines will be introduced to Bulgarian Navy in the near future given the economical constratins Bulgarian armed forces are facing.

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