The Italian Navy is a step closer to receiving additional air-independent propulsion submarines after the Italian ministries of defense, treasuries and economic development reached an agreement for the funding of the armed forces’ procurement programs.
As reported by local media, the procurement of up to four Type 212 “Near Future Submarines”, as the units are being designated, is one of the programs that will be funded.
The 2.3 billion euro acquisition would bring the total number of Type 212 submarines (referred to as the Todaro-class in Italy) to eight. They would be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri under license from German submarine specialist thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
According to unofficial reports, the new boats will be slightly longer than the 55.9-meter-long Type 212A boats Todaro, Sciré, Romeo Romei and Pietro Venuti which entered service between 2006 and 2016. The increased length will provide space for additional fuel cells for extra range and additional space for new electronic warfare systems.
The submarines are also set to incorporate more equipment from the Italian defense industry.
It remains to be seen how similar, or different, the Italian NFS Type 212 submarines will be compared to the Type 212 CD (Common Design) submarines that are currently being jointly acquired by Germany and Norway. Germany already operates six units in the class and is acquiring two more, while Norway is buying four units to replace its six Ula-class submarines.
What is more, the Type 212 could become a European favorite should thyssenkrupp’s proposal be chosen by the Netherlands which is also in the process of renewing its submarine fleet. The country has downselected TKMS, France’s Naval Group and Sweden’s Saab as the potential submarine suppliers. The country expects to sign an official contract for submarine construction by 2022.