New destroyers for the Italian Navy

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

After almost thirty years, the time has come to retire the two destroyers Durand de la Penne (photo) e Mimbelli, in line in the Fleet since the early 90s and under certainly not optimal operating conditions.

"Destroyers are essential for an offshore fleet like the Italian one, which must be able to project capabilities at sea and from the sea, operating across the full spectrum of maritime and joint operations", said Admiral Aurelio De Carolis, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy.

"In addition to aircraft carriers, amphibious ships and submarines, destroyers with land-based protection capabilities are needed.", he added.

The ability to project power from the sea is an aspect that the Navy intends to develop and expand, acquiring multipurpose units (such as the new class of frigates Thaon di Revel) not only capable of launching small vessels (RHIB rigid keel boats) but also of hitting targets located at depth (missile systems deep strike).

To date, the Defense has allocated about 4 million euros for feasibility studies, the Navy hopes to have a final operational requirement by 2022. According to this process, the production program, with the first unit, should start in 2023 (funds permitting) , finish in 2025. The Navy, therefore, could receive the first fighter in 2028.

In terms of size, the Navy's current plans are to build two destroyers with a displacement of at least 10.000 tons each, a length of 170 meters, 24 meters wide with a draft of 9 meters and more than 300 crew members, offering a maximum speed of over 30 knots using the CODOGAL (COmbined Diesel Or Gas And eLectric) propulsion system, continued Admiral De Carolis (the system allows the use of gas or diesel turbines, as well as electric propulsion for lower speeds ).

Let's assume a main armament consisting of a 127/64 mm LW piece (with VULCANO ammunition) at the bow, two 76/62 mm Overbridge pieces (with DAVIDE ammunition) and at least 48 vertical VLS A50 cells for ASTER-30 Block surface-to-air missiles 1NT, with ASBM (Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles) capability and TESEO Mk-2 / E and SCALP NAVAL surface-to-surface missiles, with Country Attack. Besides the possibility of embarking at least three SH-90 medium helicopters.

In the DPP (Multiannual Planning Document) of Defense for the two-year period 2020-2022, the program for the construction of the first destroyer received an allocation of € 620,3 million.

Photo: Navy / web