Military of Bulgaria

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Bulgarian Army
Image:Bulgaria coa.png
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 15-49: 1,913,857 (2000 est.)
Fit for military service males age 15-49: 1,599,379 (2000 est.)
Reaching military age annually males: 57,461 (2000 est.)
Total active troops 51,000 (ranked 68th)
(not including expenditure for military pensions)
US dollar figure $503 million
Percent of GDP

The Bulgarian Army (Bulgarian: Българска армия) represents the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. Commander-in-Chief is the President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov. The Ministry of Defense is in charge of political leadership while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff, headed by the Chief of Staff. Operational elements of the Bulgarian Army include: Bulgarian Land Forces (army), Bulgarian Navy (navy), and the Bulgarian Air Forces (air force).

The patron saint of the Bulgarian Army is St. George, and Valor Day (May 6, also known as St. George's Day) has long been celebrated as Valor and Army Day. It is an official holiday in Bulgaria.

After the country became a NATO member in April 2004, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense has begun a new downsizing, modernization, and reform program (known as PLAN 2004) that will result in the adoption of a smaller force structure of around 50,000 personnel, based upon a rapid reaction force and two additional corps headquarters, all with subordinate brigades. As of 1 January 2008 the military of Bulgaria is to disband its compulsory military service [1]. This is set to coincide with Bulgaria's entrance into the European Union.


[edit] History of the Bulgarian Army

Major conflicts in modern history of Bulgaria:

For information on military conflicts in the more distant past see History of Bulgaria.

[edit] General Staff

The Bulgarian Armed Forces are Headquartered in Sofia, where most of the general staff is based. Currently headed by Chief of Staff General Zlatan Kirilov Stoykov, the General Staff is responsible for operational command of the Bulgarian Army and its 3 major branches. Deputies: Vice Admiral Petar Petrov, General Atanas Zaprianov, General Dimitar Zehtinov.

Chief commanders:

Land Forces: Major General Ivan Kirev Dobrev

Air Force: Major General Simeon Hristov Simeonov

Naval Forces: Rear admiral Minko Kavaldziev

[edit] Land Forces

Image:Bulgarian land forces.jpg
Bulgarian Land Forces exercise.
Image:BMP-23 CM.jpg
BMP-23 Bulgarian in Iraq.
Bulgarian Tank T-72 at a parade in Sofia.

The Land Forces are functionally divided into Active and Reserve Forces. Their main functions include deterrence, defense, peace support and crisis management, humanitarian and rescue missions, as well as social functions within Bulgarian society.

The Active Forces mainly have peacekeeping and defensive duties, and are further divided into Deployment Forces, Immediate Reaction, and Main Defense Forces. The Reserve Forces comprise of Enhancement Forces, Territorial Defense Forces, and Training Grounds. They deal with planning and reservist preparation, armaments and equipment storage, training of formations for active forces rotation or increase in personnel.

During peacetime the Land Forces maintain permanent combat and mobilization readiness. They become part of multinational military formations in compliance with international treaties Bulgaria is a Party of, participate in the preparation of the population, the national economy and the maintenance of wartime reserves and the infrastructure of the country for defense.

In times of crisis the Land Forces' main tasks relate to participation in operations countering terrorist activities and defense of strategic facilities (such as nuclear power plants and major industrial facilities), assisting the security forces in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal armaments traffic and international terrorism.

In case of low- and medium-intensity military conflict the Active Forces that are part of the Land Forces participate in carrying out the initial tasks for the defense of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

In case of a military conflict of high intensity the Land Forces, together with the Air Force and the Navy, form the defense group of the Bulgarian Army aiming at countering aggression and protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The Bulgarian Land Forces are scheduled to become fully professional by 1st of January 2008, bringing an end to mandatory military service. The Bulgarian Air Force and Naval Forces are already fully professional.

[edit] Navy

The navy has been largely overlooked in the reforms that the Bugarian armed forces had to go through in order to comply with NATO standards, mostly because of the great expense involved and the fact that naval assaults are not considered to be a great concern for the country's security. That is why three of the four combat submarines (excluding Slava) are now docked and have been out of operation for some time. Only the more modern frigates, corvettes and missile crafts are on active duty.

The Bulgarian navy is centered in two main bases. One is near the city of Varna. The other is Atiya, near the city of Bourgas.

[edit] Air Force

Bulgarian MiG-29.

In the past decade Bulgaria has been trying actively to restructure its army as a whole and a lot of attention has been placed on keeping the aging Russian aircraft operational. Currently the attack and defence branches of the Bulgarian air force are comprised mainly of MIG-21s, MIG-29s and Su-25s. Several MiG-23MLDs are still used in interceptor/air defence role. There are also several Su-22s, used primary as surveillance aircrafts.

Modern EU-made transport helicopters were purchased in 2005, but the Bulgarian air force mainly relies on Mi-24s as a primary attack helicopter.

Branches of the airforce include: fighter aviation, assault aviation, intelligence aviation and transportation aviation, aid defense troops, radio-technical troops, communications troops, radio-technical support troops, logistics and medical troops.

[edit] References and links

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