Latvian Naval Forces

Latvian Naval Forces (Latvian: Latvijas Jūras spēki) is the naval warfare branch of the National Armed Forces. It is tasked with conducting military, search and rescue operations, mine and explosive sweeping on the Baltic Sea, as well as ecological monitoring activities. The Naval Forces have participated in international NATO/Partnership for Peace operations and various exercises with great success. The main development priorities of the Naval Forces are to expand their activities within the Baltic States’ Ship Squadron BALTRON and to develop a Sea Surveillance System. They pay a great deal of attention to professionally specialized training and English-language teaching.

Latvian Naval Forces
Latvijas Jūras spēki
Emblem of the Latvian Naval Forces
Active10 August 1919 - 17 June 1940; 1991 - present
Country Latvia
RoleNaval warfare
Part ofLatvian National Armed Forces
Motto(s)"Mūs vieno Latvijas svētais vārds!'" (English: "Holy name of Latvia unites us!"), (official)
EngagementsWar of Independence
Latvian Mercantile Marine during World War II
Captain Kaspars Zelčs[1]
Naval Ensign
Naval Jack


When Latvia regained its independence in 1991, it began recreating the Latvian Naval Forces under the command of Admiral (then Captain) Gaidis Zeibots. In 1994 the Naval Forces were composed of the Southern Region (in Liepāja), the Central Region (in Riga), the Coastal Defense Battalion (in Ventspils) and the Training Center (in Liepāja). The most important naval event of these early days of the re-established Latvian Republic occurred on April 11, 1991 when the Latvian flag was hoisted on the re-established Navy's first ship "SAMS". This date is now recognized as the rebirth of the Latvian Naval Forces.

In 1999 the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON) was created with ships from the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Navies. Latvian Navy Captain Ilmars Lesinskis, then the Commander of the Southern District, was appointed to serve as the first commander of this multi-national force.

On July 1, 1999 Latvian Naval Forces were reorganized. The present structure was established on the basis of previous regional units – the War Ships Flotilla (HQ is in Liepāja), the Coast Guard Ships Flotilla in Riga (subunits are in Liepāja and Ventspils), the Coastal Defense Battalion in Ventspils (subunits are along the coast of the Baltic Sea and Riga Bay), the Training Center in Liepāja, the Logistic Base in Liepāja (subunits are in Riga and Ventspils).

On July 1, 2004 Latvian Naval Forces were reorganized again and since that time they consist of the Naval Forces Headquarters, Naval Forces Flotilla HQ with subunits and the Coast Guard Service. The new structure organizes personnel training and specialization better than before, as well as shares greater responsibility between commanders.

As part of the program to equip the Naval Forces with modern assets, the first of a new generation of nationally made patrol vessels, made with German assistance, was launched in 2011.


The Naval Force provides defense of the national territorial waters, carries out explosive ordnance disposal activities at sea and harbors, co-ordinates and carries out human search and rescue operations at sea within the national responsibility area. Warships of the Republic of Latvia have repeatedly made visits to foreign countries and have supported the visits of foreign warships and naval representatives in Latvia.

The warships of the Latvian Naval Forces Southern Region have participated in numerous international exercises (U.S. BALTOPS, COOPERATIVE JAGUAR, AMBER SEA, OPEN SPIRIT, etc.). These exercises have been conducted to NATO standards, which Latvian ships have successfully met.

The main tasks of Naval Forces are to:

  • Ensure the defense of the territorial sea and internal waters of the State (except rivers and lakes);
  • Perform a guarding of the coast and control the territorial sea and internal waters, as well as the exclusive economic zone;
  • Ensure the readiness of units for mobilization and combat;
  • Participate in ecological surveillance and search and rescue operations at sea, as well as take part in elimination of consequences of emergencies occurring at sea;
  • Search for explosives at sea and destroy them;
  • Secure for the State Border Guard according to the procedures specified by the Cabinet, with the technical means and vessels for the performance of their functions at sea.

Structure of the Naval Forces

  • Naval Forces
    • Naval Forces Headquarters
    • Mine Ship Squadron
    • Patrol Boat Squadron
      • A-90 Varonis
      • P-05 Skrunda
      • P-06 Cēsis
      • P-07 Viesīte
      • P-08 Jelgava
      • P-09 Rēzekne
    • Coast Guard Service
      • KA-01 Kristaps
      • KA-06 Gaisma
      • KA-07 Ausma
      • KA-08 Saule
      • KA-09 Klints
      • KA-14 Astra
    • Marine Observation and Communication Service
    • Baltic Mine Equipment Workshop

Ships in the Naval Forces


Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Notes
Staff and support (Auxiliary)
A-53 Virsaitis  Norway Vidar-class minelayer Minelayer 1978 2003 [2]
A-90 Varonis  Netherlands Buyskes class Hydrographic survey vessel 1973 2004 [3]
Mine Warfare
M-04 Imanta  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007 [4]
M-05 Viesturs  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2007 [5]
M-06 Tālivaldis  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2008 [6]
M-07 Visvaldis  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2008 [7]
M-08 Rūsiņš  Netherlands Tripartite Minehunter 1984 2011 [8]
P-05 Skrunda  Germany Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2011 [9]
P-06 Cēsis  Germany Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2011 [10]
P-07 Viesīte  Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2011 2012 [11]
P-08 Jelgava  Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2013 2013 [12]
P-09 Rēzekne  Latvia Skrunda Patrol boat 2013 2014 [13]
Coast guard
KA-01 Kristaps  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1964 1993 [14]
KA-06 Gaisma  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994 [15]
KA-07 Ausma  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994 [16]
KA-08 Saule  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994 [17]
KA-09 Klints  Sweden KBV Coastal patrol boat 1963 1994 [18]
KA-14 Astra  Finland KBV Coastal patrol boat 1996 2001 [19]


Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Left service (LNF) Notes
Staff and support (Auxiliary)
A-18 Pērkons  Poland Goliat Tugboat 1960 1993 2011 Sold to civilian buyers.
Mine Warfare
M-01 Viesturs  GDR Kondor II Minesweeper 1971 1994 2008 Scrapped in 2016.
M-02 Imanta  GDR Kondor II Minesweeper 1971 1994 2008 Scrapped in 2013.
M-03 Namejs  FRG Lindau Minehunter 1959 1999 2008 Received from Germany in 1999. Handed over to Liepaja Maritime College in 2008.[20]
P-03 Linga  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1968 2012 Awaiting deconstruction in scrapyard.
P-04 Bulta  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2011 Scrapped in 2016
P-01 Zibens  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2013 Scrapped in 2016
P-02 Lode  Norway Storm Patrol boat 1967 2013 Scrapped in 2018
Coast guard
KA-02 Spulga  Soviet Union Ribnadzor Coastal patrol boat 1964 1992 2000 Crashed at Swedish coast, scrapped in 2005.
KA-03 Komēta  Soviet Union Ribnadzor Coastal patrol boat 1964 1992 2007 Sold to independent researchers in 2011.
KA-04 Sams  Soviet Union 728A Selga Coastal patrol boat 1974 1992 1998 Scrapped in 2009.

Ranks and insignia

Officers of the Latvian Navy[21][22]
NATO codeOF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1OF(D)Student officer
 Latvian Naval Forces[23]
Viceadmirālis Kontradmirālis Flotiles admirālis Jūras kapteinis Komandkapteinis Komandleitnants Kapteiņleitnants Virsleitnants Leitnants
Non-Commissioned Officers of the Latvian Navy[21][22]
NATO codeOR-9OR-8OR-7OR-6OR-5OR-4OR-3OR-2OR-1
 Latvian Naval Forces[23]
No insignia
Vecākais virsniekvietnieks Virsniekvietnieks Vecākais bocmanis Bocmanis Seržants Kaprālis Dižmatrozis Matrozis

See also