Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri hosted a ceremony on January 11 to mark the start of construction work for the first of two U212NFS (Near Future Submarines) for the Italian Navy.
The submarines are upgraded variants of the four Type 212 air-independent propulsion (AIP) already in service with the Marina Militare.
The first four boats were delivered in cooperation with Germany’s thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) between 2006 and 2017, while the two NFS boats are scheduled for delivery between 2027 and 2029.
Italy also has the option to buy two more NFS boats, after placing an order for the first two units under a 1.35 billion euro deal from February 2021.
Fincantieri says the new submarines will be “highly innovative, with significant design modifications,” which will all be developed independently by Fincantieri.
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. 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 technology from the Italian defense industry. Italian defense technology company Leonardo has been awarded a 150 million euro contract to provide a new combat management system (CMS) for the two boats. In addition to the CMS, Leonardo will also provide a simulation and training laboratory at the Italian Navy’s Submarine Centre in Taranto and a package of logistic support including staff training and a set of spare parts.
U212 NFS will also be fitted for the deployment of long-range deep strike cruise missiles and Leonardo’s Black Shark advanced heavyweight torpedoes. These systems will also offer the ability of being retrofitted to the previous boats.
In addition to complementing the Todaro-class boats, the U212NFS program is aimed at securing a replacement for the older Sauro-class submarines, whose out-of-service date is drawing near.