Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri marked the construction start of the first Italian Navy Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship (PPA) with a steel cutting ceremony at its shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia) on February 13.
The shipbuilder said the first of seven offshore patrol ships would be delivered in 2021.
PPA vessels are part of the Italian Navy’s fleet renewal plan, approved by the government and parliament and started in May 2015.
The project as a whole involves the construction of nine units, including seven PPAs, one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock), and one logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship).
The 132.5-meter multipurpose offshore patrol vessels will serve multiple functions, ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to civil protection operations and, in their most highly equipped version, first line fighting vessel.
According to Fincantieri, PPAs will have different configurations of the combat system: starting from a “soft” version for the patrol task, integrated for self-defence ability, to a “full” one, equipped for a complete defence ability.
The vessels will be crewed by 171 servicemen and, propelled by a combined diesel, a gas turbine plant (CODAG) and an electric propulsion system, they will be capable of reaching speeds of over 33 knots. RHIBS up to 11 meter in length will be deployed through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.
The PPAs will be built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with delivery expected, for the first vessel of the class, in 2021. Subsequent deliveries are scheduled to take place in 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units), 2025 and 2026.