Libyan Navy

Libyan Navy

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Libyan Navy

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The Libyan Navy is the maritime force of Libya, established in November 1962. It is a fairly typical small navy with a few missile frigates, corvettes and patrol boats to defend the coastline, but with a very limited self-defence capability. The Navy has always been the smallest of Libya's services and has always been dependent on foreign sources for equipment, spare parts, and training.

Its first warship was delivered in 1966. Initially the effective force was limited to smaller vessels, but this changed after the rise of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in 1969. From this time, Libya started to buy armaments from Europe and the Soviet Union. The Customs and Harbour police were amalgamated with the Navy in 1970, extending the Navy's mission to include anti-smuggling and customs duties. The total personnel of the Libyan Navy is about 8,000.

During the 2011 Libyan civil war several elements of the Libyan Navy were destroyed by NATO forces, including 8 warships in the night before May 20.


The Navy's primary mission is to defend the coast. A strengthening of the service was made in the 1970s; the Soviet Union sold six Foxtrot-class SSK submarines, and though two of them were only averagely serviceable, they became the main threats to the US Navy in the Mediterranean Sea. In the meantime, Libya bought four Russian Nanuchka class corvettes, that even in the export versions were well-armed and powerful ships. Another four Assad class corvettes were...
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