- Estonian Navy
Naval Ensign of Estonia
Active 1918–1940; 1991–present Country Estonia Branch Navy Part of Estonian Defence Forces Headquarters Miinisadam Anniversaries 21 November Engagements War of Independence
Commanders Commander-in-chief Captain Igor Schvede Notable
Admiral Johan Pitka Insignia Naval Jack Aircraft flown Reconnaissance Robinson R44
The Merevägi is the navy of Republic of Estonia and is part of the unified Kaitsevägi (Estonian Defence Force).
In total, there are about four commissioned ships in the Estonian Navy, including three auxiliary ships; the displacement of the navy is under 10,000 tonnes making it one of the smallest navies in the world. The Estonian Navy has been reduced severely since the second half of the decade mainly due to insufficient maintenance, lack of funding and hereby training of personnel and timely replacement of equipments. Another possible setback could be attributed to Estonia's domestic lack of maritime defence policy strategy as the current navy neither operates a single traditional warship that could performe a defensive or an offensive operations nor a coastal defense capabilities and maritime landing operations along its long and island rich territorial waters.
In general the Estonian Navy in the terms of maritime naval terminology can be classified between the green-water and brown-water navies having at the same time both naval type capaibilities. Today green-water navies are generally defined as navies with frigates or corvettes operating in coastal and regional areas. When the green-water navies are usually capable of sending their naval ships overseas on friendly port-visits, the Estonin Navy has participated in numerous time at NATO´s naval joint-exercises. The brown-water navy usually lacks either the ability for sustained long-distance combat operations and the Estonian current naval-doctrine does not envisage deployments far away from its home bases. Although the Merevägi being a hybrid of the brown/green-water navy does not imply that the Estonian Navy lacks offensive capability, as many small littoral-combat ships today can be armed with powerful anti-ship missiles.
In 2010, the Ministry of Defence confirmed an interest to obtain a number of warships in the terms or gunboats in the purpouse likely to ensure defence of territorial waters and to improve maritime surveillance. In late 2011, dispite the changes in general defence policy and the armed forces reforms that are to take place in the coming years it is still not certain if, what type and number of the vessels will be pobtained for the navy.
The Meredessantpataljon, was a short lived marine infantry - Naval landing battalion of the Estonian Defence Forces subject to the Estonian Navy. The battalion was created from the crews of the Estonian surface warships and was based in Tallinn.
Since the end of the 19th century the Russian Empire began to build coastal fortresses and naval strongholds to Estonia which was annexed to empire after the Great Northern War in 1721. Tallinn having been historically an important trading center between the East and the West became one of the main naval bases of the Imperial Russian Baltic fleet. A systematic coastal defence network and naval gun installations were ordered and the construction works began at the end of the 1890s.
During the Estonian War of Independence and after the Treaty of Tartu the Estonia Navy began to rebuild and develop the coastal defence network. From 1918 to 1940 Estonia invested millions of kroons into the renovation and development of the coastal defence. By 1939 the coastal batteries presented a considerable naval force and were considered among the Estonian Navy elite forces. During the World War II and later the Soviet occupation of Estonia, little has remained of the former coastal defence lines and fortifications. Today some buildings and firing positions can be seen various places of which the most well preserved are lockated on the island of Aegna.
- 20th century
In 1998 the Baltic Naval Squadron BALTRON was inaugurated. The main responsibility of BALTRON is to improve the co-operation between the Baltic States in the areas of naval defence and security. Constant readiness to contribute units to NATO-led operations is assured through BALTRON.
Each Baltic state appoints one or two ships to BALTRON for certain period and staff members for one year. Service in BALTRON provides both, the crews and staff officers, with an excellent opportunity to serve in international environment and acquire valuable experience in mine countermeasures. Estonia provides BALTRON with on-shore facilities for the staff.
Since 1995 Estonian Navy ships have participated in most of the major international exercises and operations carried out in the Baltic Sea. Even though it was not until 1993 when the Navy was re-established and despite of the fact that it incorporates one of the smallest fleets in the world, the young crews of the Navy ships have demonstrated excellent interoperability during international exercises and have proved to be equal partners with other navies.
- 21st century
From May 2005 to March 2006 EML Admiral Pitka (A230) was assigned as the Command and Support Ship of NATO's Standing NRF Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) which is part of the NATO Response Force's maritime capability. ENS Admiral Pitka was the first vessel from the Baltic navies to be part of the force. SNMCMG1 is also one of the Estonian Navy's main NATO partners.
The top priority for the Navy is the development of mine countermeasures capability that is also one of the Navy's peacetime responsibilities: during World War I and II more than 80,000 sea mines were laid in the Baltic Sea. Since 1995 number of mine clearance operations have been carried out in Estonian waters by the Estonian Mineships Division in close co-operation with other navies of the Baltic Sea region in order to find and dispose ordnance and contribute to safe seagoing.
The Estonian Navy uses a small number of different vessels and weapon-systems. Since the restoration of the Estonian Defence Forces on 3 September 1991 and the Estonian Navy on 1 July 1993 the naval force has developed tremendously. Then-Commander Estonian Naval Defence Forces, Commodore Roland Leit, was interviewed by Jane's Defence Weekly on 9 July 1994. 'When the Soviet Navy left the Tallinn Naval Base, they sabotaged the facilities, and scuttled about 10 of their ships in the harbour. They broke all the windows, all the heating, and all the electricity equipment. When they came in 1939 they took over our port facilities in good order. Now they are leaving us a mess, he said bitterly.' 'We got nothing from the Russian Navy. The Griff class patrol craft we got not from them but from a Russian firm that had bought the hulls first. Their navigation and radio systems are broken, too. We hope to have it all repaired and bring the craft into service before the end of the year.'
Although the Soviet legacy's clean-up and military infrastructure rebuilding has taken most of the defence budget resources away from the Navy the armament and equipment has improved a great deal.
Although the Estonian Defence Forces has a relatively small selection of combat vessels, the Navy still has a variety of different light-combat craft, coastal patrol-craft and support vessels. The first craft that entered the service in the restored Estonian Navy in 1993 were mainly German background mine-layers and mine-hunters. With the last 15 years the Navy logistics support has increased year by year. Most of the modern navy vessels have either received as foreign aid or been bought from Germany, Finland, United Kingdom and Denmark. The Estonian Navy is currently undergoing modernization and will improve the mine warfare division in the following 2 years . The Navy combat division still waits to be restored. Navy combat vessel procurement will be in focus probably between 2015 and 2020.
The “Merevägi” has operated a number of naval bases and war harbors most of them having located on the western coast and on the islands. Till 1939 there were more than 10 smaller and bigger war harbors and bases; including Aegna, Paldiski, Virtsu, Rohuküla, Mõntu, Kuressaare, Kõiguste, Papisaare, Jaagurahu, Tagalaht, Küdema, Sõru, Kärdla, Kallaste, Mustvee and Tallinn harbor. Currently there is only one major naval harbor Miinisadam which located in northern Tallinn. The Miinisadam is a base for the Mineships Division.
Structure and inventory
The “Merevägi” was founded November 21 in 1918. The foundation and development of the Estonian Navy relays greatly on the British Navy which operated on the Gulf of Finland as an ally to Estonia during the Estonian War of Independence. The first Estonian navy ships, minecruisers Lennuk and Wambola, were gifted by the British royal Navy after they have been captured from the Russian Baltic Fleet in 1919.
- Historic and present naval vessels of the Estonian Navy
Destroyers Frigates Gunboats Minehunters Minelayers Minesweepers Torpedo boats Patrol ships Submarines Auxiliary ships Lennuk
Vambola Admiral Pitka Lembit· Laene
Vanemuine Admiral Cowan
Olev · Kalev · Wambola
Sulev Laine· Grif
Ristna· Suurop Lembit
Kalev Tasuja · edit] Ranks and insignia Admirals and superior officers Senior officers Junior officers Estonian:
Admiral Viitseadmiral Kontradmiral Kommodoor Mereväekapten Kaptenleitnant Kaptenmajor Vanemleitnant Leitnant Nooremleitnant Lipnik English:
Admiral Vice-Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Captain Lieutenant Captain-major Senior Lieutenant Lieutenant Junior Lieutenant Ensign Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Sailors Estonian:
Ülemveebel Staabiveebel Vanemveebel Veebel Nooremveebel Vanemmaat Maat Nooremmaat Vanemmadrus
Chief Warrant Officer Staff Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Junior Warrant Officer Senior Midshipman Midshipman Junior Midshipman Senior Sailor Sailor Junior Conscript non-commissioned officers Conscript sailors Estonian:
Ajateenija-vanemmaat Ajateenija-maat Ajateenija-nooremmaat Ajateenija-vanemmadrus Ajateenija-madrus English:
Conscript Senior Midshipman Conscript Midshipman Conscript Junior Midshipman Conscript Senior Sailor Conscript Sailor
Education and cooperation
Most Estonian Navy officers have been trained in European or US naval academies. In 2003 the Navy established its own Centre of Naval Education and Training (CNET) to train junior petty officers.
Each Baltic state shares its limited training resources with the others. For instance, Estonia provides communications training at the Baltic Naval Communications School in Tallinn and Latvia hosts a common Baltic Naval Diving Training Centre in Liepaja.
According to the long-term defence development plan the Merevägi will receive some new capabilities. Of those new warfare capabilities the procurement of multirole fast patrol boats will be a priority. The operational need for such vessels is likely to ensure defence of territorial waters and to improve maritime surveillance. According to the Ministry of Defence such new capability development for the naval forces will cost roughly around 100 million krones. It is not yet certain as to the number or type of vessels which will be procured. In addition to the current capabilities the command and control and shore-to-vessel communications will also be further improved.
- Finnish–Estonian defense cooperation
- ^ Response Force Mine Countermeasures Group 1
- ^ Estonian Navy mine warfare
- ^ Joris Janssen Lok, The Jane's Interview with Commodore Roland Leit, Jane's Defence Weekly, 9 July 1994, p.32
- ^ The Navy about to receive fast patrol boats in the worth of 100 million krones
- ^ The Long-Term Defence Development Plan: Naval modernization
Estonia topics HistoryTimeline · Ancient Estonia · Livonian Crusade · Danish Estonia · German Bishoprics and the Livonian Order · Baltic Germans · Livonian War · Polish Livonia · Swedish Estonia · Great Northern War · Russian Estonia and Livonia · Age of Awakening · Declaration of Independence · War of Independence · Republic of Estonia · Vaps Movement · Era of Silence · Occupation of Estonia · World War II · Forest Brothers · Deportations · Estonian SSR · Singing Revolution Geography Law Politics Economy Military Symbols Demographics Media CultureWikiProject · Portal Kaitsevägi Estonian Defence Forces Maavägi (Army)1st Territorial Battalion • 2nd Territorial Battalion • 3rd Territorial Battalion • 4th Territorial Battalion • 5th Territorial Battalion • 6th Territorial Battalion Merevägi (Naval Force) Õhuvägi (Air Force)Air Surveillance DivisionAir Defence Battalion (Ground forces)Ämari Air Base • (Tallinn Air Base)Air Force Staff (Tallinn) Kaitseliit (Defence League)Alutaguse malevHarju malevJärva malevJõgeva malevLääne malevPärnu malevPõlva malevTallinn malevTartu malevVõru malevValga malevViru malevKüberkaitseliit Merevägi Estonian Naval Force Frigates Minehunters Minelayers EML Ristna (P422) • EML Surrop (P423) • EML Ahti (A431) • EML Tasuja (A432) Garrisons Current navies in Europe Sovereign
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
States with limited
- Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
- Northern Cyprus
- South Ossetia
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