Recently in Italy, the construction of the promising universal amphibious assault ship Trieste was completed. On August 12, he first went to sea trials, and in the coming months will have to confirm its characteristics. According to current plans, in June next year, "Trieste" will enter the combat strength of the Italian Navy. It will replace one of the existing aircraft carriers and will become the largest ship in the fleet.
The history of the Trieste project dates back to the early tenths, when the Italian Ministry of Defense was developing a shipbuilding program for the next 10-12 years. Among other things, it proposed the construction of a UDC up to 200 m long with a displacement of approx. 20 thousand tons, capable of carrying helicopters. When it was created, it was planned to provide the opportunity to participate in humanitarian operations, and this was emphasized.
In May 2015, the Italian parliament approved a new program. 5, 428 billion euros were allocated for the promising UDC. It was also supposed to build several other ships and boats of different classes.
On July 1, 2015, the Ministry of Defense and the Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa (RTI) consortium, formed by Fincantieri and Finmeccanica (now Leonardo), signed an agreement to complete the design and construction of a new UDC. The construction of the ship, excluding equipment and weapons, was estimated at 1, 126 billion euros.
The customer and the contractors gradually disclosed various information about the new project. The appearance of another piece of data in the fall of 2016 almost led to a scandal. It turned out that by this time the length of the projected UDC had grown to 245 m, the displacement exceeded 32 thousand tons, and the F-35B fighters planned for purchase had been included in the aviation group. Thus, the "humanitarian" ship turned into a full-fledged UDC with ample opportunities for basing aviation.
In this regard, accusations of deception fell on the Ministry of Defense and the Navy in order to satisfy their ambitions and use budget funds. However, there were no consequences. The RTI consortium completed the design and began preparations for the construction on time.
Ship at the shipyard
Under the terms of the contract, the construction of the future "Trieste" was carried out by the forces of two factories. It was also envisaged to attract a wide range of subcontractors responsible for the supply of various components. At the same time, a significant share of them was part of Fincantieri and Finmeccanica - the largest organizations of Italian industry.
On 12 July 2017, a metal cutting ceremony was held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia. On February 20, 2018, the laying of the future UDC took place there. Construction on the slipway lasted over a year. On May 25, 2019, the ship was launched, and at the same time it was named Trieste and hull number L 9890.
Until the end of 2019, the ship was being completed afloat. In early 2020, it was towed to the Fincantieri plant in Muggiano for the remaining activities. In particular, the process of assembling electronic systems and weapons has started. All these works have been successfully completed in recent months, which allows moving to a new stage.
On August 12, 2021, Trieste went to sea for the first time to undergo factory sea trials. It is planned to spend approx. 10 months. According to the work plan, the UDC should be transferred to the fleet in June 2022.Contractors are optimistic that they will be able to meet these deadlines.
The final version of the Trieste project provides for the construction of a ship with a normal displacement of 25.8 thousand tons. and full approx. 33 thousand tons The greatest length of the ship is 245 m. The width at the waterline is 27.7 m, the largest is 47 m. The normal draft is over 7 m. The ship has received an upper flight deck with a bow springboard. At the starboard side there are two separate superstructures: on the first there is a navigating bridge, on the second - an aviation control point.
Hangar area of 2300 sq.m is located directly under the flight deck; there are two aircraft lifts. There is a smaller tank deck under the hangar. Behind it there is a docking chamber measuring 15x55 m. Also inside the hull there are cockpits for accommodating the troops, a hospital for 27 places, etc.
The UDC aviation group includes at least 12 helicopters of any type available from the Italian Navy. It is possible to base up to 6-8 F-35B fighters in combination with helicopters. Armored vehicles weighing up to 60 tons in an amount of up to several dozen are transported on the tank deck. The dock compartment accommodates four LCU / LCM boats or one LCAC. The authorized number of the landing force is 604 people. If necessary, you can transport up to 700 people.
When participating in humanitarian operations, the ship can receive casualties, as well as provide medical assistance. For this, it is supposed to use a regular ship hospital. In addition, it is possible to deploy additional beds for patients or places to accommodate victims. In order to speed up preparation, such tools are carried out on the basis of containers.
Trieste is equipped with a CODOG power plant. It is based on two MAN 20V32 / 44CR diesel engines with a capacity of 15 thousand hp each. and two gas turbine Rolls-Royce MT30s with 48.5 thousand hp each. There is also a pair of 5, 2 MW MAN 9L32 / 44CR diesel generators and electric motors of similar power. The movement is carried out by two propellers. There are bow thrusters.
Using diesel generators and electric motors, the ship reaches speeds of up to 10 knots. Economic speed - 16 knots, full speed - 25. The maximum cruising range is set at 7 thousand miles. Autonomy for fuel and reserves - 30 days.
Trieste is distinguished by a developed radio-electronic complex. The tasks of tracking the situation and navigation are solved using the radar Leonardo Kronos Dual Band and Leonardo Kronos Power Shield with AFAR. Flight control is carried out by the Leonardo SPN-720 station. All means are united by the Leonardo CMS SADOC Mk 4 combat control system. It is envisaged to install electronic warfare means, a jamming complex, protection against torpedoes, etc.
The armament complex includes three OTO Melara 76/62 Super Rapid turrets (two in the bow, one in the stern) with the possibility of using guided shells. Defense in the close range is provided by three OTO Melara 25/80 installations with 25-mm automatic cannons, as well as Aster 15/30 missiles. 32 of these products are housed in four VLS Sylver vertical units.
The newest UDC Trieste (L 9890) should complete tests in the first half of 2022, after which it will be accepted into the combat composition of the Navy. It will become the largest battleship of the Italian Navy built in the post-war period. In addition, he will be distinguished by special combat capabilities, due to which he can effectively complement other pennants.
Next year it is planned to decommission the light aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551), which entered service in 1985. After that, only one aircraft carrier, Cavour (C 550), will formally remain in the Navy. However, thanks to the "Trieste", capable of carrying modern fighters, Italy will be able to maintain and improve the quantitative and qualitative indicators of the aircraft carrier fleet.
The core of the amphibious fleet is now made up of three ships of the San Giorgio class. In all characteristics and capabilities, they are inferior to the modern UDC Trieste. Accordingly, his entry into the service will seriously change and improve the landing potential of the Italian Navy.
As one of the main tasks of the Italian Navy, participation in humanitarian operations and assistance to the victims is called. The available ships allow solving such problems, but almost always such a potential is limited by a number of objective factors. The new UDC was originally developed for combat and peaceful use, which will give well-known advantages.
As far as we know, Trieste may remain the only representative of its project. The launch of the development and construction of this UDC faced various difficulties, and after the start of work was criticized. It is unlikely that now the fleet will be allowed to spend another 5, 4 billion euros on a second ship of the same type - despite all the advantages associated with it.
The future of the fleet
The shipbuilding program of 2015 provided for the construction and acceptance into the combat strength of the Italian Navy of a fairly large number of ships and boats of different classes. The first of them are already being accepted and mastered by the Navy, confirming the necessity of the program. In less than a year, the next result of this shipbuilding plan will be the new UDC Trieste.
It is easy to see that Trieste is of particular importance to the Italian navy and industry. First of all, this ship confirms Italy's ability to build large combat units. Such competencies can be applied in the following projects. In addition, the ship is made multipurpose, and with its help it is planned to satisfy several needs of the fleet at once. Depending on the current mission, it will be an aircraft carrier, amphibious assault ship, or a rescue / hospital ship.
In the coming months, the newest UDC Trieste must pass all the necessary tests and show its real capabilities in all expected tasks. The customer and the contractors are very optimistic and believe that all plans will be completed on time. This means that in the near future, the Navy will increase its capabilities, and will also be able to abandon old ships without compromising overall performance.