As warships get sleeker and stealthier, the head of the Italian Navy wants a one-size-fits-all warship that will be cheap, roomy and dual use.
Italian Navy Chief Proposes New Dual-Use Vessel
ROME — As warships get sleeker and stealthier, the head of the Italian Navy wants to buck the trend and plan a one-size-fits-all warship that will be cheap, roomy and dual use, even making space for containers on deck.
Adm. Giuseppe Di Giorgi, who took over the Navy in January, told Defense News in an interview that he is pushing for a new generation of vessels that could be a floating hospital in disaster zones on one day and fight high-intensity wars the next.
Di Giorgi’s plans come as Italy makes deep cuts to its armed forces, with around 30 naval vessels of various classes due out of service over the next decade, and only six to 10 fregata multi-missione (FREMM) ships slated to enter service.
Hence, the Navy chief’s plan to buy up to 12 vessels, weighing 3,500 to 4,000 tons, 125 meters long and 15 meters wide, and which he says can replace the whole range of ships being phased out, at lower cost. Those dimensions would make the ships slightly smaller than the FREMMs.
“We need to replace the Maestrale class and the Soldati class of vessels, as well as the corvettes and patrol vessels, vessels which are on average 30 years old,” he said. That would mean a vessel up to 4,000 tons replacing 2,000-ton patrol vessels.
“The ship I have in mind to accompany the FREMMs would be conceived from the start as dual use, fast and modular,” he said.
Di Giorgi said the new vessel would achieve a top speed of at least 35 knots, “with a traditional, combined use of turbines and diesels, possibly two of each,” he said.
“It’s a concept in its early stages, but the General Staff has given preliminary approval for six vessels,” he said, referring to the type as a “simplified FREMM.” The cost, he said, would be about two-thirds of the price of a FREMM.
Source: Defense News.