The situation of the Italian armed forces: the Navy submarines

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

During the period of the Cold War, the task of our submarines was to position themselves near the obligatory passages of the Mediterranean, in order to operate an effective barrier against the Soviet units launched to hunt allied ships.

With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the changing operating theaters, the missions of the underwater forces have changed. In fact, submarines are increasingly used in surveillance tasks, information gathering and the inclusion of special forces operators.

The current underwater strength of the Navy consists of 8 boats, four class Sauro and four class Todaro (photo).

Some Sauro the third and fourth series are in service and are the Pelosi, Prini, Longobardo and the Gazzana Priaroggia, which entered service between the 1987 and the 1995, have a displacement in immersion that varies from 1.500 to 1.800 tons depending on the boat.

the class Todaro, of which they are part Salvatore Todaro, the Scirè, Pietro Venuti and the Romeo Romei, are the most advanced conventional submarines in the world, derived from the German project launched in the years' 90 U-212. However these boats were designed to operate in the shallow waters of the North Sea (between 30 and 50 meters deep), while the Italian Navy needed a submarine that could operate efficiently at the greater depths of the Mediterranean. Fincantieri intervened to make the necessary changes, especially as regards the technologies and materials required for hull thickening: this led to the transition from the U-212 to the U-212A. The class Todaro it has an immersion displacement of 1.800 tons and is they are armed with the new heavy torpedoes Blackshark.

I Todaro they are designed to carry out various types of missions, however, given their quietness, they lend themselves to approach in a sneaky way the sensitive targets as well as to operate optimally in the coastal areas: these features make these boats very effective tools for fighting illegal traffickers .

Given the age of service of the Sauro class, the next radiation is expected, starting with the oldest boats. The Ministry of Defense financed the purchase, in the 2018, of two more U-212As, bringing the total to six.

Photo: NATO