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Multifunctional Ship

Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and reference player in the naval shipbuilding industry, and Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading manufacturer in the high technology sector, have been awarded the contract for the construction and equipment of one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock) for the Italian Navy.

A computer-generated image of the Italian Navy’s future LHD, which is expected to displace about 20,000 tonnes
A computer-generated image of the Italian Navy’s future LHD, which is expected to displace about 20,000 tonnes

The total value of the contract is over 1.1 billion euros, with Fincantieri’s share amounting to approximately 853 million euros and Finmeccanica’s to about 273 million euros. The delivery of the unit is scheduled in 2022.

The contract with the consortium Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa (RTI), consisting of Fincantieri, agent, and Finmeccanica, through its subsidiary Selex ES, principal, was signed on behalf of the Ministry of Defence by the Central Unit for Naval Armament (NAVARM) of the General Secretariat.

The consortium RTI was established in accordance with the tight cooperation agreement in the field of naval vessels construction signed between Fincantieri and Finmeccanica last October. Pursuant to the agreement, Fincantieri acts as a sole interface to the client, while at the same time allowing to enhance Finmeccanica’s products range in the naval field and the technical and commercial synergies between the two largest national groups in the naval field.

In general, this multi-year programme for the renewal of the Navy’s fleet (known as the «Defence Act») employs a total funding of 5.4 billion euros and, in addition to the aforementioned LHD unit, foresees the construction of six patrol vessels, with four more in option, and one logistic support unit.

In particular:

  • one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock);
  • one logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship);
  • six patrol vessels (PPA or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship) and four more in option.

The fundamental characteristic common to all three classes of ships is their high level of innovation providing them with a considerable degree of efficiency and flexibility in serving different mission profiles. In particular, these are dual use vessels, meaning that they may be used for both standard military purposes and for civil protection and rescue at sea operations. They also have a low environmental impact thanks to a state-of-the-art auxiliary propulsion system generating a low level of pollution emissions (electric engines) and biological waste control system.

In addition to building the vessels at its shipyards, Fincantieri will provide support over the lifecycle of the vessels in the first ten years, through the supply of logistic services (training courses, spare parts, technical documentation) during the construction of the vessels and of In-Service Support (ISS), (maintenance services), carried out during post-delivery operations, as well as components and naval machinery produced by the Marine Systems and Components Business Unit, such as shaft lines, wheelhouse, maneuvering propellers, fin stabilizers and other handling systems.

Finmeccanica, through Selex ES, will act as prime contractor for the new unit’s entire combat system. The system will support landing craft, provide vessel self-defence and coordinate and control operations in concert with other naval and ground forces. Selex ES will also provide all the sensor systems including the X band, four-fixed-face, multifunctional scanned-array radar system and also the latest generation integrated communications. Finmeccanica-Selex ES will deliver and integrate all systems, including those of OTO Melara, WASS, and Elettronica, and is also responsible for the provision of support throughout the first decade of use including Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and In-Service Support (ISS).

Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, commented: «The announcement of this additional unit completes the first part of the renewal of our Navy’s Fleet, one of the world’s most significant defence programmes of the last years. We are extremely satisfied and excited to be leaders of such an important project, both technically and industrially. It confirms that we are a reference producer worldwide as well in the naval segment, either for the domestic and foreign markets. Fincantieri all will work at this programme with the highest commitment in order to realize on time extremely high quality products».

Finmeccanica’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Mauro Moretti, said: «The contract award represents a new and significant contribution by Finmeccanica and Fincantieri to the Italian Navy’s important fleet renewal programme. All of the systems designed and developed for the new dual-use LHD naval unit are based on the most advanced technology, boosting the efficiency of solutions proposed by Finmeccanica and strengthening its position in the naval sector. The group will continue to invest in this sector, with the goal of increasing the value of its products and solutions able to achieve significant success, also in international markets».

 

LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock

The unit will be approximately 623 feet/190 meters long with a maximum speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h. It will be equipped with a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODOG) and will be able to accommodate on board over 950 people, of whom more than 750 military or civilian transported people.

The LHD’s main mission is the transport of people, vehicles and loads of different kinds and in their transfer on land in port areas through on board systems and in not equipped areas with various kinds of vessels: such as the small Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) – landing craft units with a load capacity up to 60 tonnes, four of which can be admitted, launched, and recovered through a flooded basin, located on the stern of the vessel.

The Landing Helicopter Dock’s military profile use provides transport and landing, in equipped and non-equipped areas, of troupes, military vehicles, logistic equipment, using the provided features and means of transfer.

The civil profile use provides:

  • healthcare and hospital support;
  • transfer and landing of people and wheeled or crawled means of transport in equipped and non-equipped areas;
  • supply of drinking water to land through onboard desalination plants or storages;
  • supply of electricity to land with 2,000 kW of power and its distribution through containerized conversion and distribution units;
  • possibility of accommodating specialized staff on board or hosting up to 750 civilian personnel, plus the same number in containerized residential units;
  • rescue operations base through helicopters and boar staffing vessels.

Equipped with wide embarkment areas of about 4,500 m2 within dock-garage and hangar-garage and a continuous open deck, able to receive wheeled vehicles of various kinds, containers and helicopters, the unit can perform several military and civil missions.

The different areas of cargo securing are accessible through stern and side ramps, and cargo handling will be managed by internal ramps and elevators.

On board there will be a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office, and a hospital rooms capable of hosting 28 seriously injured patients (further admissions are possible through duly equipped container modules).

 

Main Characteristics

Length overall 623 feet/190 m
Length Between Perpendicular 548 feet/167 m
Maximum breadth 108 feet/33 m
Breadth 92 feet/28 m
Full Load Displacement 20,000 tonnes
Propulsion Diesel engines 10,000 kWm
Diesel Generators sets 4 × 2,500 kWe
Operational speed 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Range at 16 knots/18 mph/30 km/h 7,000 NM/8,055 miles/12,964 km
Flight deck for up to 6 helicopters EH-101 type
Helicopters hangar for up to 6 EH-101 type
Vehicle deck capability up to 1200 metric lanes
Hospital area about 1,000 m² plus 1,000 m² of convertible areas
Floodable dock about 50 × 15 m
Vehicle ramps 1 stern + 1 side
Accommodation 200 crew + 750 troops

 

Combat System

  • Air & Surface surveillance system (combined air/surface surveillance radar or air + surface surveillance radar’s).
  • Mine avoidance sonar.
  • Artillery: 3 Short Range Gun 25-mm + 2 76-mm OTO Melara 62 caliber (acting also as CIWS – Close-In Weapon System).
  • Electronic Warfare (EW) system (ESM/ECM – Electronic Support Measures/Electronic CounterMeasures + 2 AAW DLS – Anti Air Warfare Decoy Launcher System).
  • Torpedo defense (Towed Array + 2 ASW DLS – Anti Submarine Warfare Decoy Launcher System).
  • Open architectural command & control system able to be implemented also in later phase (i.e. adding operational functions & operator consoles) (400 m² avaible).
  • Integrated communication system (including also the means for landing troops).
  • Integrated navigation system (including X and S band navigation radar’s).

 

Italian Navy’s fleet

Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and reference player in the naval shipbuilding industry, and Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading manufacturer in the high technology sector, will build and equip the units set out in the renewal plan of the Italian Navy’s fleet.

Artist’s impression of a Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura, a hybrid design combining the attributes of an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) with those of a multipurpose frigate into the same vessel. (Fincantieri image)
Artist’s impression of a Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura, a hybrid design combining the attributes of an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) with those of a multipurpose frigate into the same vessel. (Fincantieri image)

In the framework of this plan, OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms) has signed the order of the contractual performance for the construction of six patrol vessels (PPA, or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship), with four more in option, and for one logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship) with the consortium (Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa – RTI) consisting of Fincantieri, agent, and Finmeccanica, through its subsidiary Selex ES, principal.

The value of the contracts for the seven units is approximately 3.5 billion euros (US $4 billion), of which Fincantieri’s share amounts to approx. 2.3 billion euros (US $2.6 billion) and the one of Finmeccanica to about 1.2 billion euros (US $1.4 billion).

The contracts provide different activation phases. Today OCCAR has started Phase 1 for the construction of the first PPA and the logistic support unit for a total value of 372 million euros (US $419 million), of which Fincantieri’s share amounts to 220 million euros (US $248 million) and Finmeccanica’s one to 152 million euros (US $171 million). The activation of the next phases concerning the other units is expected to take place in the upcoming months.

The delivery of the logistic support unit is scheduled for 2019, while the first patrol vessel is expected to be delivered in 2021. The delivery of the following patrol vessels is planned for 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units) and 2025.

In general, this multi-year program for the renewal of the Navy’s fleet (known as the «Defence Act») will employ a total funding of 5.4 billion euros (US $6 billion) and foresees the construction, in addition to the aforementioned units, of one transport and landing unit (LHD) through a public contract with the Italian Ministry of Defence currently being finalized. In particular:

  • 1 logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship);
  • 6 patrol vessels (PPA, or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship) and 4 more in option;
  • 1 transport and landing unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock).

The fundamental characteristic common to all three classes of ships is their high level of innovation providing them with a considerable degree of efficiency and flexibility in serving different mission profiles. In particular, these are dual use vessels, meaning that they may be used for both standard military purposes and for civil protection and rescue at sea operations, and they also have a low environmental impact thanks to a state-of-the-art auxiliary propulsion system generating a low level of pollution emissions (electric engines) and biological waste control system.

The consortium (RTI) was established according to the cooperation agreement in the field of naval vessels construction signed last October between Fincantieri and Finmeccanica. Pursuant to the agreement, Fincantieri acts as a sole interface to the client, while allowing to enhance Finmeccanica’s products range in the naval field.

In addition to building the vessels at its shipyards, Fincantieri will provide support over the lifecycle of the vessels in the first ten years, through the supply of logistic services (training courses, spare parts, technical documentation) during the construction of the vessels and of ISS or In Service Support (maintenance services), carried out during post-delivery operations, as well as components and naval machinery produced by the Marine Systems and Components Unit, such as shaft lines, wheelhouse, maneuvering propellers, fin stabilizers and other handling systems, the automation system and a part of the special supplies for PPAs delivered by the subsidiary Seastema S.p.A.

Finmeccanica, through Selex ES, will act as prime contractor for all of the new naval units’ combat systems. Selex ES will provide sensors, such as the new multi-functional radar, and will also take on responsibility for all subsystems, included those provided by OTO Melara, WASS, MBDA and Elettronica.

In addition, Selex ES and Fincantieri will develop together the innovative «Cockpit» system. This system will, for the first time ever, allow for the integrated management of sailing and combat system operations, using augmented reality to allow both functions to be effectively managed with fewer operators.

 

Vessel’s characteristics

 

LSS – Logistic Support Ship

The LSS is a vessel that provides logistics support to the fleet, endowed with hospital and healthcare capabilities thanks to the presence of a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office and hospital rooms capable of hosting up to 12 seriously injured patients. The ship is capable of combining capacity to transport and transfer to other transport vessels used for liquids (diesel fuel, jet fuel, fresh water) and solids (emergency spare parts, food and ammunitions) and to perform at sea repairs and maintenance work for other vessels.

Fincantieri's Logistic Support Ship (LSS) concept (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)
Fincantieri’s Logistic Support Ship (LSS) concept (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)

The defense systems are limited to the capacity of command and control in tactical scenarios, communications and dissuasive, non-lethal defense systems. The vessel is also capable of embarking more complex defence systems and becoming an intelligence and electronic war platform.

  • 165 meters/541 feet long;
  • Speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h;
  • 200 persons including crew and specialists;
  • 4 replenishment station abeam and 1 astern;
  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land;
  • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2,500 kW of power;
  • Possibility of embarking up to 8 residential and healthcare modules;
  • Capacity to perform rescues at sea, through recovery and seabed operations (the ship is equipped with an 30 tons offshore stabilized crane stabilized);
  • Base for rescue operations through helicopters and special vessels.

Delivery is scheduled in 2019.

 

PPA – Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship

The Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship is a highly flexible ship with capacity to serve multiple functions ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to Civil Protection operations, and in its most highly equipped version, first line fighting vessel.

Fincantieri's PPA multipurpose offshore patrol ship features a large gun, surface-to-surface missiles, and a large helicopter hangar (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)
Fincantieri’s PPA multipurpose offshore patrol ship features a large gun, surface-to-surface missiles, and a large helicopter hangar (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)

There will be indeed different configurations of combat system: a «soft» one for the patrol task integrated for self-defence ability, and a «full» one, equipped for a complete defence ability. The vessel is also capable of operating high-speed vessels such as RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) up to 11 meters/36 feet long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.

  • 129 meters/423 feet long;
  • Speed of over 31 knots/36 mph/57 km/h;
  • 171 persons of the crew;
  • Equipped with a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODAG);
  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land;
  • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2,000 kW of power;
  • Possibility of embarking modular residential and healthcare zones;
  • 2 modular zones at the stern and at the center of the ship that allow the embarking of various types of containerized operating/logistic/healthcare modules. In particular, the stern area may receive and handle within a covered area up to 5 modules in ISO 20” containers, while the central zone may receive and handle up to 8 ISO 20” containers.

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, while the following deliveries of the vessels will take place in 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units), and 2025.