The inception of Azerbaijani Naval Forces dates back to August 5, 1918 when the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic established the navy force on the basis of the Russian Imperial fleet deployed in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijan's Navy started to form right after the British left Azerbaijan in August 1919. Up until then British war-ships had taken on the task of defending the western coastline of the Caspian sea. The Caspian Naval Fleet's ships were re-directed to Port-Petrovsk when Baku was liberated, and returned to Baku only when the British arrived in Baku in November 1918.
There were only two Azerbaijani nationals among the high-ranking officers serving in the newly established Azerbaijani Naval Fleet: Navy Captain Hasan Chilingar-zadeh on the “Ardahan” and 1st Class Captain Gitanchi-zadeh on the “Astrabad”. Since the War Ministry did not have a navy department, the Caspian Naval Fleet was a charge of the Transport Ministry.
In late 1919 a special navy department was established at the General Staff, consisting of 6 staff members. Overall, the Caspian Navy had two gunboats equipped with 75, 100 and 120 mm cannons, the “Ardahan” and the “Kars”; service and auxilliary vessels – the “Astrabad”, “Goytepe”, “Araz”, “Nargen”; a transport ship, the “Oryol”; an armed steamer, “Pushkin”, and a number of motor patrol boats.
With an aim to train professionals for the navy, a Specialized Military Maritime Aviation School was insituted at the Baku Maritime Aviation School, and on October 14th, 1919 a maritime aviation squadron was established.
In an effort to improve the level of equipment of the fleet, a memorandum was submitted to the Paris Peace Conference requesting assistance in procuring submarines, necessary quantities of munition and other necessities for the fleet, and an order was subsequently placed for 6 submarines, a variety of war-boats, and naval artillery equipment. As the People's Republic of Azerbaijan collapsed in 1920, it became impossible to build a strong military fleet. With the Republic of Azerbaijan regaining its independence, the Parliament passed the Law “On the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan” on October 9, 1991, which established a legal framework for creating the Navy as part of the Armed Forces. Under an agreement signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, formerly of the USSR, and now as Independent Caspian coastal states, Azerbaijan stood to inherit all of the Caspian Navy's bases located on its territory, and 25% of the war-ships.
On July 26, 1992 the “Bakili” patrol boat flew the independent Azerbaijan's three-colored State Banner for the first time, heralding Azerbaijan's first step in creating its own Navy. Initially the Navy had five divisions complete with different ships and vessels, and ground troops. They started to restore the watch-posts and beacons located in the Caspian Sea basin.
A Marine Regiment was formed rapidly drawing on the Navy's maritime and ground troops in order to fight in the Garabagh warfare. The regiment was dispatched to the front on 19.04.1994 to fend off the enemy intrustions in the Aghdam – Ter-Ter area, and returned to home base on July 25, 1994 upon successful completion of the mission.
According to the Presidential Decree of Heydar Aliyev from 1996, August 5 was declared the Day of Azerbaijani Navy. As of today, the Azerbaijani Navy is considered the second strongest navy in the Caspian Sea after the Russian fleet.
The Law “On the Naval Flags of the Republic of Azerbaijan” of November 4, 1997 entailed adoption of a regulation governing colors flown by war-ships and auxilliary vessels. All ships of the Navy have been flying the Naval Flag since August 7, 2000.
Under the military cooperation treaty signed between the Navies of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Turkey gave Azerbaijan a small artillery motor boat P-223. The boat embarked on its maiden voyage on July 22, 2000 from the city of Izmir, passing through 3 countries (Turkey, Ukraine, Russia), 5 seas (Aegean, Marble, Black, Azov and Caspian seas), 3 straits (Dardanelles, Istanbul, Kerch), 2 rivers (Don, Volga) and 18 connecting canals, covering a total distance of 2345 nautical miles, and was piloted to the Navy's home base by the Naval officers of the Republic of Azerbaijan on August 7, 2000.
The Navy's Special Forces teams were involved in a number of joint military simulations with the Turkish and US Marines. Experience sharing tours were exchanged with several countries with a view to upgrading and developing the skills and qualifications of navy officers; they also regularly attended a variety of international events.
Pursuant to the combat readiness plan, the Navy's crews and war-ships conduct joint combat simulations with the Air Forces and State Border Agency's Coast Guard with a mission of maintaining a favorable operative regime, and assuring protection of the underwater export oil and gas pipelines and platforms in the relevant section of the Caspian sea. The Navy personnel's combat skills are constantly upgraded and developed.
The Navy's personnel and war-ships took part in the war parades and war-ships' march-past in commemoration of the 90th and 95th anniversaries of the Armed Forces.
In 2005, Azerbaijan Navy's war-ships visited the Caspian Naval Fleet of Russia at the city of Astrakhan as part of a friendly tour. In October 2012 and August 2013 the Caspian Naval Fleet had a partnership tour to Baku, and the Azerbaijan Navy war-ships reciprocated by visiting the Astrakhan province of Russia in September 2013. As part of the tour, President of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Mr. Ilham Aliyev, and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin came on board of the G-121 Patrol Boat of the Azerbaijan Navy.
Currently the new Naval Base established under the orders from Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, is nearing completion of the construction phase. The new home base will feature state-of-the-art headquarters, bridges, a military campus with residences and other social necessities for the servicemen, communications and other infrastructure. There are plans for building new ships, and upgrading various vessels and boats.
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