Naval News reports the award of a contract for a new Italian CG cutter.
The order, which concludes the tender procedure and has a value of approximately 80 million euros, provides for the construction of a multirole OPV and the related temporary support services for a duration of 5 years. There is also an option for the construction of a further 2 vessels.
The Italian Coast Guard is a quarter the size of the US Coast Guard and is part of the Italian Navy. Historically, offshore Coast Guard functions were frequently performed by the Italian Navy. Their Coast Guard only began building larger specialized coast guard Offshore Patrol Vessels a little over a decade ago.
The new ship(s) appears generally similar to the two earlier Dattilo class OPVs commissioned in 2013 and 2014. At a reported 85 meters in length it will be about ten meters shorter. USCGC Hamilton exercised with a Dattilo class cutter during its European deployment back in April.
This and previous Italian OPVs appear to be derived from Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) practice. There is no indication of speed, but I would expect about 18 knots, this being the speed of previous Italian OPVs. All previous Italian OPVs had provision for taking containers aboard, so that also appears likely. There is no provision for a hangar. No mention is made of armament, but judging from the artist’s renderings and current Italian Coast Guard/Navy practice, it is likely to be an Leonardo Oto Melara/Oerlikon KBA 25 mm/80 remote weapon system which fires the same 25x137mm round as the Mk38 but at up to more than 550 rounds per minute supplemented by 7.62mm machine guns. Following previous practice, the new ship(s) is probably fitted for but not with the OTO Melara 76mm.