With help principally from the Soviet Union, the Algerian Navy
underwent considerable enlargement and modernization during the
1980s. Its ambition was to develop a fleet of well-armed vessels
that would enable it to deal with the Moroccan or Libyan fleet
and permit Algeria to project naval power beyond its own coastal
waters. As of 1993, the navy was reportedly interested in acquiring
surplus vessels from West European navies for patrolling its 320-kilometer
exclusive economic zone. These purchases, however, had not materialized
by late 1993, probably owing to financial constraints.
In 1993 the naval complement of officers, enlisted personnel,
and cadets was estimated at 6,700, with an additional 630 men
in the coast guard. The latter group is part of the Ministry of
Interior, although under the navy's operational control. All navy
and coast guard personnel are volunteers. Previously, the commanding
officer of the navy had held the rank of colonel; in 1992, however,
a brigadier general, Chaabane Ghodbane, was named to the post.
Algeria received its first two submarines, Romeo-class vessels,
from the Soviet Union in 1983. In 1987 and 1988, the country acquired
two Kilo-class submarines, quiet-running, highspeed vessels armed
with both torpedoes and mines, from the Soviet Union. The Romeos
were retired for use as training ships. Two additional Kilo-class
submarines are reportedly on order (see
table 9, Appendix).
The largest surface vessels are three Soviet Koni-class frigates
commissioned between 1980 and 1985. With 1,440 tons displacement,
each frigate is armed with Gecko SAMs and four 76mm guns. Three
Soviet Nanuchka II-class corvettes of 850 tons were delivered
between 1980 and 1982. They are armed with Gecko SAMs and four
surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs). New diesel engines are reportedly
being installed on the corvettes after problems were experienced
with the performance and reliability of their propulsion mechanisms.
In addition to the larger combat vessels, in 1993 the naval forces
operated a number of fast-attack craft and some smaller units
for coastal patrols. They included eleven former Soviet Osa I-
and Osa II-class missile boats, each mounted with four Styx SSMs.
The navy also possessed twelve Kebir-class fast-attack craft,
each mounted with a 76mm gun. The coast guard was temporarily
operating six of these. Designed by Brooke Marine, the first two
were built in Britain and the remainder were assembled or built
at Mers el Kebir with assistance from Vosper Thornycroft.
The fleet in 1993 boasted a modest amphibious capability, based
on a Polish LCT (landing craft, tank) and two larger British-built
landing ships acquired in 1983 and 1984. A maritime reconnaissance
squadron with two Super King 200Ts had been assigned to the navy,
although the squadron's personnel and aircraft came from the air
Algeria's naval academy at Tamentfoust near Algiers provides
officer training equivalent to that of the army and the air force
academies. The navy also operates a technical training school
for its personnel at Tamentfoust. Some higher-ranking naval officers
have taken advantage of training in France, Russia, and the United
States. Principal naval bases are located near Algiers, at Mers
el Kebir, and Annaba.
In addition to sixteen Italian-built light patrol craft, the
coast guard in 1993 operated six Chinese patrol boats delivered
in 1990; a seventh was delivered in 1992. In carrying out its
coast guard duties, the navy coordinates its activities with elements
of the Ministry of Interior, with the customs and immigration
services, and the national police. Its goal is to prevent smuggling,
the illegal entry of undesirable aliens, and other offenses in
order to ensure the security of coastal areas.
Data as of December 1993