Italy to build National Security Cutters

DefenseNews is reporting Italy will soon award a contract for new Patrol Ships.

While a bit longer, 135 meters in length compared to 127 for the NSC, the Italian ships will be the same displacement as the Bertholf class, 4,500 tons.

The initial contract will be for five ships in a “light” (patrol) configuration and one in “heavy” (frigate) configuration, with an option for four additional heavy versions.

There are a number of interesting things about this class.

The ships were designed in-house (I assume to the preliminary level) which appears to have it made quicker to get the ships into production. They expect to launch the first ships in 2016 or early 2017.

They are expected to have a top speed of 34 to 35 knots, so I presume they will have two gas turbine while the NSC has one. It is not clear if they will have a single complex gearbox like the NCSs that all allows any or all of her engines to power both screws or if they will go with a simpler arrangement with separate gear boxes for each shaft. It is also unknown how powerful their diesel cruise engines will be.

The radar will be fixed units. According to the manufacturer, Selex, “The KRONOS radar exploits Selex ES’s advanced Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) technology. It is able to perform surveillance, tracking, threat evaluation and fire control against multiple threats, simultaneously and automatically, at all altitudes.”

Even the “light” ships carry both a 5″ forward and a 76mm on the roof of the hangar. I would like to think that they have the 5″ for the reasons I outlined here, but the Italian 5″/64 has additional capability, the Volcano round. The two medium caliber guns also gives them a degree of redundancy.

They also have a degree of modularity.

“Both versions will offer two modular zones, one in the center of the deck and one underneath the rear flight deck. The central zone will be able to host vehicles or cargo containers that can be lifted aboard by on-board cranes. In a combat situation, that space can be used to carry large rigid-hull inflatable boats for special operations, the source said.”

Even the financing arrangements are innovative with bank loan to be repaid over 20 years.

44 thoughts on “Italy to build National Security Cutters

  1. I don’t like swapping real warships for patrol ships but I think given the situation in the Mediterranean this isn’t a wise choice for the Italians. If I were them I would be swapping these for 2 more GP FREMM and buying as many OPVs as I could man with the rest of the money.

    • Looks like the French are also looking at a ship of this type, “The FREMM multimission warship program. The Navy plans to decide in 2016 on a possible redesign for ships nine, 10 and 11, due for delivery after 2020, two industry executives said…The three new vessels could be “an intermediate size,” between the 6,000-ton FREMM and a 2,500-ton corvette, the executives said. The ships could be similar to the Lafayette frigate, being lighter and less heavily armed than the FREMM.”

      • The French have always had a use for ships in that class for patrolling far flung parts of empire;something bigger than an OPV with slightly better armament but smaller and less capable than a true fleet escort. The Italians too have a need for similar ships because of their rather exposed geographical position. I just think with what is coming (if Turkey stays on the path of supposed state secularism) then they, the Italians, need more simple patrol ships.

        A little bit too left for me (“Let ’em all in!”) but this illustrates the situation.

        PS: I have been watching this situation since the start of the Arab Spring. All that latter did was open the valves wider.

      • The French Navy does a lot of Coast Guard type functions and their “light surveillance frigates” like the Lafayettes and Floreals are very similar in concept to USCG cutters.

      • The Brits also have a lot of small overseas territories that have include a lot of EEZ but those waters do not get patrolled very often.

        I could say the same about a lot of US EEZ in the central Pacific.

    • These ships, like the NSC, are generally larger than the ships they are replacing. But like the NSC it looks like they will not build as many as they replace. If they indeed replace all the ships in the four classes referred to in the article that is 15 ships to be replaced by six (or ten if they exercise the option).

  2. Sorry this one,

    It should be noted that the Italian has a considerable number of inshore craft belonging to a variety of agencies. They need more vessels to give depth.

  3. Yes, there’s some significant political undertones throughout that video.

    The thing that really stands out is that, for any country’s Coast Guard or naval border control service, the key really starts at the policy level. Policy is typically/often driven by public opinion. And public opinion is driven by two non-governmental entities: Education and the Press. I’m sure Chuck isn’t interested in his blog becoming political, but I think it’s fair to say a border service (such as the USCG, in the sense a significant mission is maritime border operations) should probably have some level of education and media-interaction which at least (to stay non-political) describes the capabilities of the service in handling policy changes and educates about the perils of typical migrant travails, both at home and in the originating countries of the migrants.

  4. Sad to say but I think the next West (for that is the “club” to which the Ozzies belong) vs East conflict will be between Australia and Indonesia. I know both sides work hard to steer away from confrontation but I believe it is only a matter of time. T

  5. Update on the ship, including a short video:
    The vessel is also capable of operating high-speed vessels such as RIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) up to 11 meters long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.
    • 129 meters long
    • Speed of over 31 knots
    • 171 persons of the crew
    • Equipped with a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODAG)
    • Capacity to supply drinking water to land
    • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2000 kw of power
    • Possibility of embarking modular residential and healthcare zones
    • 2 modular zones at the stern and at the center of the ship that allow the embarking of various types of containerized operating/logistic/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)
    The PPAs will be built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with delivery expected, for the first vessel of the class, in 2021, while the following deliveries of the vessels will take place in 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units), and 2025.

  6. The Italians’ will have the best navy in Europe within a decade. Lacking on submarines, could do with 4/8 more. But will be a balanced fleet. The Royal Navy is beyond saving now.

    • The Italians learned they needed naval air even in the Med during WWII. They have been maintaining a modest carrier force for decades now. But no Nuclear subs, No Ballistic Missile subs. Frigate/destroyer forces are pretty close. What the Italians have that the RN does not is large patrol force. Ship for ship, the RNs carriers and subs are superior. I would not sell them short.

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