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Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (OSN), the joint venture between Fincantieri (51%) and Leonardo (49%), has signed a contract with the Italian Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate for the construction of three next-generation patrol vessels, the two constituent companies announced on 31 July 2023.

The contract, which has an overall value for the first three units of EUR 925 M (including related logistics support), has options for a further three units and infrastructural upgrades required for the naval bases in Augusta, Cagliari and Messina, where the vessels will be based.

OSN will now finalise the subcontracts with Fincantieri and Leonardo, with values respectively of around EUR 540 M and EUR 255 M. The one for Fincantieri constitutes significant related party transactions defined in compliance with the applicable legislation.

The Italian Navy’s next-generation patrol vessels will be derived from Fincantieri’s FCX family of vessels. (Image: Fincantieri)

The Italian Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) acquisition programme addresses the need to ensure adequate capabilities for presence, maritime surveillance, merchant traffic control, protection of lines of communication and the exclusive economic zone, as well as activities to protect against threats from marine pollution, such as spills of toxic liquids.

With a length of about 95 M, a displacement of 2,300 tonnes and the capacity to accommodate 97 crew members, the new patrol vessels “will be marked by their high concentration of technological solutions, as well as high standards in terms of automation and manoeuvrability, making them suitable to operate in a wide range of tactical scenarios and weather conditions”, Fincantieri and Leonardo stated.

One of the most innovative features developed for the Italian Navy’s Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Vessels (PPAs) is the ‘naval cockpit’, which allows the ship and flight deck operations to be controlled by just a pilot and copilot, who fulfil the duties of commander and officer of the watch on the bridge. From this station, located in the command bridge, it is possible to manage the vessel’s machinery, rudders and platform systems as well as some of the functions of the combat management system.

Peter Felstead