The director of naval armaments (Navarm) of the general secretariat of defense and national armaments directorate, admiral chief inspector Massimo Guma, and the director general of the Fincantieri military ships division, dr. Dario Deste, have signed the contract for the design, construction and supply of a new Major Hydro-Oceanographic Vessel (NIOM) and related logistic support (Integrated Logistic Support and Temporary Support).
The unit will allow the Navy to renew the naval units of the national "Hydrographic Service", which deals with the production and updating of the official nautical cartographic documentation, also guaranteeing, by virtue of the marked dual use and multidisciplinary characteristics of the platform, a effective support to the national and international scientific community, both in the Mediterranean and in the new Arctic frontier.
The new NIOM, with a length of about 110 m and a width of about 19 m, will be equipped with a dynamic positioning system and an integrated all-electric propulsion system, characterized by low emissions into the atmosphere, so as to allow navigation even in areas of interest protected or subject to particular restrictions. Furthermore, scientific plants and equipment will allow to operate in climates with average temperatures down to -20°C, perform bathymetric, topographical and geodetic surveys, acquire hydro-oceanographic and marine and meteorological geophysical data, as well as carry out surveys of magnetic anomalies and conduct to support Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) operations. Also on board is a standard autonomous underwater vehicle Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), equipped with hydro-oceanographic sensors and prepared for loading containerized modules to ensure maximum interoperability.
The contract, worth a total of 284 million euros, was awarded to the Fincantieri company following a European tender procedure.
From a financial point of view, the program is the first Defense project for which the European Investment Bank (EIB) has made available, in the form of a loan, economic and financial resources in favor of the Ministry of Economy and Finance ( MEF), contributing significantly to the growth of the "environment and climate change" sector, considered of priority interest by the EU institutions.