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Third PPA ship underway for trials as Italy prepares to receive first unit

ITS Raimondo Montecuccoli sea trials
Photo: OCCAR

The Italian Navy’s third PPA (Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura) multipurpose offshore patrol ship, the future ITS Raimondo Montecuccoli, began sea trials seven months after its launch at Fincantieri’s Riva Trigoso shipyard.

The ship sailed in the Tyrrhenian Sea for the first time on September 22, just three years after the shipbuilder cut first steel for the vessel.

Raimondo Montecuccoli and its crew will test propulsion and navigation performance under the watchful eye of Italian Navy and OCCAR officials during the trials. Delivery of the ship to the Italian Navy is planned for January 2023.

Prior to that, the service will have to take delivery of the lead ship in the class, future ITS Paolo Thaon di Revel. The first ship delivery milestone is already five months behind schedule, but the navy says it is in the final stage of preparations for the delivery, which is currently slated for November this year.

Coinciding with the start of sea trials for the third ship, the service certified the new “Naval Cockpit” system for operational use, which will make the bridges of the PPA ships look more like aircraft cockpits. The system will allow for the integrated management of sailing and combat system operations, using augmented reality to allow both functions to be effectively managed with fewer operators.

The Naval Cockpit onboard the PPA ship ITS Paolo Thaon di Revel. Photos: Italian Navy

PPA ships will be capable of executing a range of missions, from patrol with sea rescue capacity to combat tasks, thanks to three different configurations.

The “light” configuration, which is also featured on Raimondo Montecuccoli, is equipped for patrolling tasks contains basic self-defense capabilities, the “light+” adds the anti-air capabilities while the “full” version is capable of handling three-dimensional threats (air, surface and underwater).

The light version has a complete set of artillery and is developed with the “fitted for” approach that makes it able to quickly deploy growing operational capabilities. The Light+ version adds the missile firing capability with actuators planned also for ballistic missile defense. The full version will be able to operate in every naval warfare domain, such as AAW, ASW and ASuW.

Fincantieri is currently working on six of overall seven ships that will be built for the Marina Militare.