Slovenia - Navy

Slovenia has the smallest maritime force in NATO today. The Slovenian Navy is a small force with a combat capability consisting of one Super Dvora patrol boat and a recently-commissioned Svetlyak-class (Project 10412) fast patrol ship. The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) is a so-called joint armed force, meaning there are no branches like Army, Air Force and Navy, but it consists of arms and services including naval and aviation units. The maritime component of the SAF is the 430th Naval Division, which directly operates under the Force (Division) Command.

During the Ten-Day War the newly born state faced a military threat from the sea, when the special forces of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) attempted to carry out a maritime landing near Ankaran (some sources say at Hrvatini), a small fishing village in the neighbourhood of the port of Koper. The operation was a total fiasco, with the Yugoslav commando defeated and driven back to the Adriatic by the Slovenian Territorial Defence Forces. Slovenia had not developed a naval force in the confused period of the Balkan War. The new state did not have any warships or naval equipment, the short and urbanized shoreline could be defended from the coast, and the threat of the restoration could come only from the mainland as a massive (armoured) attack.

Ankaran patrol boatIn 1991 a diving subunit was formed, and in 1996 Slovenia bought a Super Dvora (Mk II) class patrol boat, named after the mentioned coastal city to HPL-21 Ankaran. The joint force became the 430th Naval Division, a battalion sized maritime force. The naval force belongs to the combat support forces in the Slovenian military terms.

The Slovenian maritime threat remains modest. Slovenia determines its geopolitical position as a "continental and maritime" country, which entity lies at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the Balkan, Western and South Eastern Europe. The country’s short (46,6 km long) shoreline is vital from economic aspects, that is why Slovenia had had long dispute with Croatia about the legal status of the Piran Bay and the maritime borders. Tensions with Croatia had kept the navy focused from 2002 to 2008 on the disputed sea border and its proclamation of an "Ecological and Fishing Zone". These matters seem to have been resolved in March 2008 when, following EU pressure, the Croatian parliament adopted amendments making explicit that EU member states were exempt from the restrictions imposed within the Ecological and Fishing Zone.

Further tensions with Croatia relating to the delineation of maritime boundaries (Croatian claims waters in the Bay of Piran leading Slovenia to fear that its access to the Mediterrean Sea could be blocked). Both countries had made one-sided steps and declarations, and the discussion had become serious in 2002 when several incidents had occurred between Slovenian fishing boats and Croatian police and coast guard ships9 and Slovenia boycotted Croatia’s EU accession for years. Thanks to the international diplomatic pressure (especially from the leading EU countries and the European Commission itself), after several years of inefficient dispute, the parties had signed the arbitration agreement about the borders on the 4th November 2009 in Stockholm, and in June 2010 the Slovenian electorate narrowly ratified a bilateral Croatia-Slovenia agreement on international arbitration for the dispute. The situation is also extremely important from the view of Hungary, because (as a landlocked country) it has its most important sea trade center in Koper, Slovenia.

Triglav - Project 10412 Svetlyak patrol boatAs a means of eliminating its debt, Russia entered into a contract to build a new multi-purpose vessel with delivery to SAF planned in 2010. The vessel is allegedly being built to NATO standards. It will be 49 meters in length and require a crew of 24. It will require some personnel increases in the navy which is currently comprised of 59 individuals.

Delivery contract for Project 10412 Svetlyak patrol boat was signed on July 17, 2008 as a repayment of Soviet debt to former Yugoslavia which was somewhat $129 million. The ship building cost was evaluated as $35 million. Another $7.5 million was paid by Slovenian defense ministry for delivered onboard tactical control system, arms and ammunition. The boat was laid down in Sept 2008 at JSC Almaz Shipyard (St. Petersburg).

On Thursday, 11 November 2010, at the Port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea in the Russian Federation, the Slovenian Armed Forces lifted the Slovenian flag, thereby assuming the command of the new multipurpose military boat Triglav after the acquiring board of the Ministry of Defence had conducted a technical inspection of the vessel and ammunition. On Monday, 15 November, the boat set out on its way to Slovenia. It will cross the Black Sea, sail through the Bosphorus Strait into the Sea of Marmara. It will then proceed through the strait of Dardanelle into the Aegean Sea. On 17 November, the crew will make a short stop at NATO base on the island of Crete for re-supply. The boat will then continue its way across the Ionian Sea and enter the Adriatic Sea through the Strait of Otranto.

The new pride of the SAF, the Svetylak class corvette named Triglav (after the national symbolic peak of Slovenia) suffered several vicissitudes. One local TV channel ran a long report which analyzed the economic situation of the country and the ship's operational costs, which were found to be scandalously high. To this end, the ship will operateat a cost to the taxpayer of around 2.3 million each year, even if the ship is stranded in port. The three MTU 4000 engines were each reported consume on an hourly basis as much fuel as an average Slovenian car in a year.

Type Displacement Dimensions Speed Armament Crew
Super Dvora Mk II.
52 tons 25 x 5,6 x 1,1 meters 42 knots
  • 2 x 20 mm Oerlikon cannon
  • 2 x 7,62 mm FN MAG machine guns
  • 10 (7 enlisted, 3 officers)
    Svetylak class
    375 tons 49,5 x 9,2 x 2,2 meters >30 knots
  • 1 x 30 mm AK-306 gun
  • 2 x 14,5 mm machine guns
  • 16 x 9K38 Igla anti-air missiles
  • 9M120 Shturm anti-ship missiles
  • decompression chamber for divers
  • 2 x inflatable boats
  • 28 (24 enlisted, 4 officers)
  • plus 14 passengers

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