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Fincantieri launches first full combat PPA for Italian Navy

Giovanni delle Bande Nere is the fourth of seven PPAs being built by Fincantieri for the Italian Navy. (Fincantieri)

Fincantieri held a technical launch for the Italian Navy's first multipurpose offshore patrol ship (Pattugliatore Polivalente d'Altura: PPA) configured for full combat at its shipyard in Riva Trigoso in Genoa on 12 February.

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere is the fourth of seven planned PPAs being built by Fincantieri as part of the Italian Navy's fleet renewal plan, which also includes the construction of a logistic support ship and a landing helicopter dock (LHD). Construction of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere began in March 2019 and under current planning it is scheduled for delivery in 2024. Its launch will be followed by that of the fifth PPA, Marcantonio Colonna , later this year.

The PPAs are being delivered in three configurations based on a common platform, including two ‘light', three ‘light plus', and two ‘full combat' vessels. The 143 m ships are based on a modular design to enable reconfiguration from low- to high-end if required.

Displacing around 5,700-800 tonnes at full load, the ‘light' patrol version will be used for low-intensity missions. It features a gun-only weapon package (a Leonardo 127/64 lightweight main gun, a new stealthy and low-footprint 76/62 mm over deck mount, and two 25 mm remotely controlled guns) for limited air defence, a combat system based on Leonardo's Kronos StarFire X-band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and a scaled down version of Leonard's distributed sensor system infrared search and track (DSS-IRST) suite.

The ‘light plus' version includes an anti-air warfare (AAW) capability and is equipped with MBDA Italia's surface-to-air anti-missile system extended self-defence (SAAM ESD) guided-weapon system with Leonardo's Kronos Quad C-band AESA radar.

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