Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri handed over the last of four Type 212A-class diesel-electric submarines on order for the Italian Navy at its Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard on 11 May.
Romeo Romei (S 529) follows third boat Pietro Venuti (S 528), which was delivered in July 2016. Boats three and four are upgraded versions of the first two submarines, Salvatore Todaro (S-526) and Scirè (S-527), which were delivered in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
The most significant enhancements over the earlier batch are Atlas Elektronik's electro-acoustic suite update to the fully digitalised CSU 90-138 sonar system, Cassidian's OMS100 search periscope (replacing the in-service conventional systems), Hensoldt's SERO 400 (attack) periscopes, Kongsberg's MSI-90U Mk 2 weapon-control system and the WASS Black Shark Advanced (NSP/BSA) heavyweight torpedo.
The navigation system has also been improved, with the installation of ECDIS digital cartography, while the communications suite has been augmented with the addition of an SHF-band SATCOM-dedicated mast and Link 16 Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol-C (JREAP-C) capabilities. The sensor suite includes Indra's MRBR 800 electronic support measures system.
The Italian Navy also has four Improved Sauro-class submarines in its inventory, but these will be retired in the 2018-22 period, leaving the service with just the four Type 212As.
With Italy looking to procure additional submarines, on 10 March the Italian and German ministries of defence (MoDs) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to continue the collaborative partnership already established with the 212A programme. The MOU extends the existing co-operation on submarine design, building, and in-service support to include research and development and is open to the participation of other European nations.
"The longstanding partnership between Italy and Germany in the field of constructing conventional submarines has proved an example of a sustainable and successful co-operation in Europe," said Rear Admiral Ruggiero Di Biase, the Italian MoD's National Armaments Directorate programme co-ordinator, who signed the agreement on behalf of Italy.
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