Dubbed “First Sea Going” (FSG) this is a crucial contractual milestone towards the delivery of the ship to the Italian Navy (FOAR), scheduled for May 2021.
“Paolo Thaon di Revel” is the First of Class (FOC) PPA in Light configuration. During the FSG, several platform systems/equipment installed on-board have been set up and successfully tested.
The PPA contract was signed on May 2015; only 4 years and a half have elapsed before the first of class FSG, a worldwide remarkable achievement for OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement / Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation) as contracting authority, given the innovative character of this vessel. PPA1 is expected to complete the sea trials in March 2021 and to be delivered to the Italian Navy in May 2021.
The first four ships (seven under current contract) are currently in the production stage. The second one, also in Light configuration, will be named after the Venetian Doge “Francesco Morosini”, and will be launched in March 2020.
The PPA (Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura) patrol ship is 133 meters long and can carry 90 crew members with additional accommodations for up to 171 members. The ship’s flexible hybrid propulsion plant features small gearbox mounted-motors for low speed operations, two propulsion diesels for mid-speed service and the LM2500+G4 gas turbine to reach more than 31 knots.
The PPA is a highly flexible ship with the 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. There will be indeed different configurations of combat system: starting from a “light” version for the patrol task, integrated for self-defence ability, to 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 long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.
• 132.5 meters long
• Speed more than 31 knots according to vessel configuration and operational conditions
• 171 persons of the crew
• Equipped with a combined diesel, a gas turbine plant (CODAG) and an electric propulsion system
• Capacity to supply drinking water to land
• Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2000 kw of power
• 2 modular zones at the stern and at the center of the ship that allow the embarking of various types of containerized operating/logistic/residential/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 are being built at Fincantieri’s Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with delivery expected, for the first vessel of the class, in 2021, while the following deliveries will take place in 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units), 2025 and 2026.
The PPA “full” version will see its total displacement increased to 6,400 tons (compared to 4,500 tons for the “light” version) and its length increased to 143 meters. PPA “full” will thus be comparable to Italian FREMM type frigates (total displacement of 6900 tons and a length of 144 meters).
The sensor and weapon suite of these “patrol ships” is quite impressive, as the PPA in “full” configuration will be fitted with the Leonardo dual-band radar system AFAR (C and X bands), which provides missile defense capabilities as well as a towed and hull mounted sonar.
The armament of the ship should include the SAAM-ESD anti-aircraft missile system with 16 vertical launchers for Aster 15 and Aster 30 SAM, eight Teseo / Otomat Mk 2A Evolutio anti-ship missiles, a 127-mm / 64 Leonardo LW main gun and a 76mm secondary gun with Strales / Davide guided ammunition, two 25-mm remote weapon systems, two 533-mm torpedo launchers. The hangar will be able to accommodate two NH90 or a single AW101 helicopter. At the stern of the ship there is a ramp to quickly launch and recover a 11-meter RHIB, as well as two so-called modular zones with the possibility of placing there a total of 13 standard containers for reconfigurable payload. The crew complement of the PPA “full” configuration should be 173 people.