Ethiopia Military

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Ethiopian Navy in the Communist era

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During the Communist-run governments of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (also known as the Derg, 1974–1977) and the dictatorial Mengistu (1977–1991), the Ethiopian navy grew under the influence of the Soviet Union.

Training: Officer training – The 1984 class comprised 48 ensigns; typical of the size of classes in subsequent years. After the rise of the Communist government in Ethiopia, select members of the navy attended the Soviet Union’s naval academy in Leningrad.
Enlisted training – Seamen, technicians, and marines enlisted men were trained at Mitsiwa; their term of service was for seven years.

Forces: By early 1991, the Ethiopian navy was a 3,500-strong force, with the following vessels:

• two frigates
• eight missile craft
• six torpedo craft
• six patrol boats
• two amphibious craft
• two support/training craft

Final disposition: The Ethiopian navy was finally dissolved after the independence of Eritrea in 1991. At that time, many ships were sold for scrap in Djibouti, such as the four Peyta-class gas turbine-powered frigates Ethiopia had acquired from the Soviet Union.

The navy also had four Osa-class missile boats, one of which is still in use by Eritrea. Though Eritrea wished to purchase up to 16 of the former Ethiopian ships, plans were dropped in September 1996 to avoid exacerbating an international confrontation with Yemen.

Keywords: Derg, Mengistu, Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea, 


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