Home Europe France, Italy starting joint air warfare destroyer mid-life upgrade project

France, Italy starting joint air warfare destroyer mid-life upgrade project

Horizon-class AWD destroyers
Photo: Naval Group

The navies of France and Italy are starting work on the mid-life upgrade of the Horizon-class of air warfare destroyers that are in service with both navies.

Naviris, a 50/50 owned joint venture by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group has been contracted through OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation) to undertake a feasibility study for the project.

The study, which will be developed over the next twelve months, will be the first stage of the project and will focus mainly on the anti air warfare capability of the four vessels. The work will be supported by major combat system suppliers (Eurosam, Thales, Leonardo, MBDA and Sigen).

The Horizon destroyers were originally built between 2000 and 2010 in a joint program between Fincantieri and Naval Group, providing the Italian and French navies with two anti-air destroyers each. The 153-meter ships provide protection for carrier groups and convoys against high-intensity threats and attacks by anti-ship missiles.

This is the second contract for Naviris since its launching in January 2020. The French and Italian shipbuilding major expect the joint venture to bring in new opportunities through consolidated action.

“We are very proud of the contract signature and would like to thank not only Naviris’ client – the OCCAR – but also Segredifesa and the French General Procurement Agency for the close Italo-French collaboration which made it possible to achieve this result in a reasonably short period of time, during an extraordinarily difficult period for organizing exchanges and collective work,” Giuseppe Bono and Claude Centofanti, Naviris’ chairman and CEO respectively, said in a statement.