Romania - Navy

Romania - NavyThe geographical location of Romania, a continental European country with free access to the center of Europe, and also neighboring both the Black Sea and a major water lane - the Danube - has made it possible for our country, throughout its history, to become itself visible at a political and military level and has given it the right as well as the obligation to have a highly regarded and functional naval component within its national defense. Nowadays, the Romanian Naval Forces are modern, capable of acting on land, at sea and under water, being able to project its power beyond the Black Sea, an important tool within the national defense system.

The Naval Forces are meant to conduct military actions independently or in cooperation with other armed services, or within a multinational group of forces, in the maritime, river or land space of national interest, in order to: defend our own maritime and river communications; provide access to sea for Romania; secure our state legal rights within the exclusive economic area; hit enemy naval communications; deny the landing of maritime troops; defend Dobrudja; execute peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

The structures will be included especially in the category of surveillance or rapid reaction forces and will be structured into an operational command, a Maritime Fleet, a River Flotilla and other forces.

The Maritime Fleet provides the protection and defense of the seacoast, of the territorial waters, as well as the protection of goods and interests of the Romanian state within the maritime space having a regime of exclusive economic area (or similar). The operational forces of the Maritime Fleet should be able to provide an active presence in the international waters of the Black Sea for the protection of the interests of the Romanian state or international laws independently or in cooperation with the allied/partner forces. The naval units of the Maritime Fleet should be able to take part in combined peace support operations, within multinational groups of forces in the area of strategic interest for Romania, as well as to provide a limited presence in other areas in keeping with the commitments undertaken in the Partnership for Peace (integration into the North - Atlantic Alliance).

The River Flotilla provides the guard and defense of the Danube Delta, of the maritime and inner Danube, as well as the protection of the Romanian state interests within the border waters.

After the 1989 December Revolution, reviving the tradition of the fluvial and sea defense by means of monitor type ships, as of 1993 newer type monitors (i.e. Mihail Kogalniceanu, I.C. Bratianu and Lascar Catargiu), built in the Drobeta-Turnu Severin Shipyard, were included in the 24 River Brigade in Braila. Following the same naval tradition, the warships were named after important historical figures and heroes of the Romanian Navy. Following the Supreme Defense Council approval of a new organizational structure of the Romanian Armed Forces, the 42 Sea Division was reorganized in 1994 and, as such, the Maritime Fleet was founded. A year later, on March 30, 1995 the Danube Flotilla Headquarters, located in Braila was founded and on April 15, 1995 the Danube Flotilla was reestablished.

Romania was the first country to sign, at the beginning of 1994, the Partnership for Peace Framework Document. The Romanian Naval Forces were the first structures involved in extended military exchanges with the new partners. They provided solid opportunities and arguments for new forms of political and military co-operation with member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which Romania became a member of on March 29, 2004.

The Navy experienced a significant downsizing over the decade of the 1990s. By 2002 a significant proportion of its ships had reached their decommissioning dates. The strategy for restructuring the maritime forces has been to accelerate the decommissioning of less capable ships and place a number of vessels in territorial units at a lower readiness status. Future procurement will focus on increasing the number of frigates and modernizing the Navy's mine/countermine and Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities.

On March 31, 2003 the Naval Operational Command reached its full capability in Constanta, while also taking over the River Naval Component and turning into the Fleet Headquarters in 2006. Within the new European political and strategic framework of the end of the second millennium and the beginning of the third one, Romania has constantly promoted an active naval diplomacy, mainly based on the co-operation with the military fleets of other states, on the achievement and development of bilateral relations with the Black Sea and Mediterranean fleets, as well as on strong and diverse international military actions.

The Naval Forces are meant to conduct military operations independently or in cooperation with other armed services, or within a multinational group of forces, in the maritime, river or land space of national interest. Their units will be included especially in the category of surveillance or rapid reaction forces and will consist of an operational command, a Maritime Fleet, a River Flotilla and other forces. Plans foresee a maritime structure divided between active and territorial forces. The former will comprise virtually all components of the navy with the exception of logistics support facilities ashore and most logistics support/auxiliary vessels which belong to the territorial force. Active forces will be maintained at a manning level of 70 percent to 100 percent and at a readiness of seven to 90 days.

Sealift capabilities that are available for deployment include two ferryboats, one roll-on and roll-off (RO-RO) ship and various cargo ships. In both cases, the equipment and 30 days of supply (DOS) were transported by sea, using contracted sealift capabilities (one ferryboat). The national port infrastructure includes three ports at the Black Sea from which the port of Constanta has RO-RO and ferryboat terminals and can accommodate vessels up to 200,000 tdw. The ferryboats can accommodate up to 100 troops and 300 combat vehicles. The response time from notification is 30 days for deployments within the Black Sea, and 45 days for deployments beyond the Black Sea.

By 2005 conscripts were replaced with professional officers. The Navy was Romania's first armed force to give up conscription. Half of the Navy officers hired under a job contract in late 2003 were conscripts, but their number decreased to a 20 percent of the total in 2004 and further decreased until none were left in February 2005. The number is expected to stand at 3,000 in December 2004. The costs of renouncing conscripts for the Navy were low overall. Modern army experience has proved that although a professional officer costs more than a conscript, when professional voluntaries are used the number of officers needed decreases as well, which finally leads to low costs for the Army.

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