Fincantieri marked the start of construction for the Italian Navy’s new landing helicopter dock (LHD) with a steel cutting ceremony at its shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia near Naples on 12 July.
The new LHD is being built under a EUR1.1 billion (USD1.3 billion) contract awarded to an industrial consortium comprising prime contractor Fincantieri and Leonardo in July 2015. As well as the design, construction, fitting out, and delivery of the ship, the contract also includes logistic services and in-service maintenance support for the first 10 years of the vessel's lifecycle.
According to Fincantieri, the LHD will have a full load displacement of 33,000 tonnes, an overall length of 245 m, and a beam of 36 m. A combined diesel or gas propulsion plant – comprising two 36 MW Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines, two 12 MW MAN 20V32/44R diesel engines, and two 2,25 MW electrical motors on twin shafts – will provide for a maximum speed of around 25 kt and a range of 7,000 n miles at 16 kt.
As regards aviation facilities, the LHD features a 230x36 m flight deck with a twin island arrangement; navigation and ship management will be managed from the forward island, with aviation operations controlled from the aft island. The flight deck will have six-plus-three helicopter spots and can accommodate Italian navy and army helicopters in addition to unspecified short take-off and vertical landing aircraft, CH-53s, and V-22 tiltrotors.
The 25x107 m and circa 2,300 square-metre hangar, served by two 40-tonne capacity aircraft lifts, can accommodate aircraft and vehicles (530 lane metres). The forward vessel area features a fully equipped NATO Role 2E hospital with operating rooms and 28 beds. The main garage underneath and stern well deck can accommodate wheeled and armoured vehicles weighing up to 62 tonnes and up to four LMC-1E landing craft, respectively.
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