The Italian Navy released the first cleared photos of the bridge of its latest class of surface combatant, the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol ship (PPA), and it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
According to the Italian Navy release (which announced the qualification of the first bridge officers for the first-in-class ship, ITS Thaon di Revel), the Naval Cockpit is:
“an integrated station that allows the conduct of the ship as well as sea and air operations by only two operators, the Pilot and the Copilot, who fulfill the duties of Officer of the Watch on the bridge and Commander. From this location it is in fact possible to manage both the machines, the rudders, the platform systems and the combat system at the highest level”
The Naval Cockpit, designed by Italian defense electronics company Leonardo and local shipbuilder Fincantieri, really is inspired by the aerospace domain: Pilot and Copilot use joysticks, engine throttles and control wheels (very reminiscent to yokes found in aircraft cockpits) to drive the ship. A central console located between the two sailors and featuring a large number of switches, lights and knobs add to that “aircraft cockpit” feel:
“For many months, staff training has begun during the numerous sea trips dedicated to the new class of Patrol Vessels. Navigations that have allowed the officers designated to this new position to undergo practical training of the on job training type. Another part of the training course took place both at the Navy Bodies on simulation systems, and at the Leonardo and Seastema companies, with the attendance of preparatory courses: in fact, 2 weeks took place at the Navy Programming Center to which they did followed by another 2 weeks for the Platform System part and another week for the Combat System. From now on, this will therefore be the training path that officers will have to follow to learn about this innovative system and conduct the navigation and air-naval operations of the new Offshore Multipurpose Patrol vessels of the Thaon di Revel class. Path that led to the delivery of the first Naval Cockpit Certificates.”
Italian Navy statement
About PPA – Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship
The launching ceremony of the first the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship (PPA) Paolo Thaon di Revel took place on June 15 2019 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia). The first ship-in-class started sea trials on November 19. 2019. It is set to be commissioned this year. The second vessel of the class, Francesco Morosini, was launched on 22 May 2020. The third ship, Raimondo Montecuccoli, was launched in March 2021 and just started sea trials according to OCCAR.
Based on a common platform, PPAs will be delivered in three configurations with incremental capabilities: Light, Light+ and Full. The first two ships are in the “Light” version and the third one is a “Light+”. The PPA “full” version will see its total displacement increased to 6,270 tons (compared to 5,880 tons for the “light+” version and 5830 tons for the “light” version). PPA “full” will thus be comparable to Italian FREMM type frigates (total displacement of 6900 tons). The crew complement of the PPA “full” configuration should be 173 people.
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.
• 133 meters long between perpendiculars (143 meters overall)
• Speed more than 31 knots depending on vessel configuration and operational conditions
• Crew of 171 sailors
• 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)