Fincantieri displayed the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Vessel (PPA) last week at Euronaval to demonstrate to other markets, following its deployment with the Italian Navy, that the PPA it is a proven product. 

Fincantieri, working from the integrated shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano in La Spezia, have completed two ships from their contract to build seven PPA for the Italian navy at 6000 tonnes and supporting 171 crew. Fincantieri are the only manufacturers in the Italian naval market making vessels of the PPA’s size. 

The first ship is already in service, the second is ready and concluded, and the third is under construction and due in 2023. Two more units will be supplied 2024, while the final ships are to be completed in 2025 and 2026. 

Variants of the PPA include either a light, light-plus, or full combat system for the same platform. The cost of the ship varies between versions, as the cost of the combat system is a significant part of the overall cost of the ship. 

The PPA is around 143m in length and was designed for multiple functions including patrol, sea rescue, and civil protection operations, as well as having the capability to act as a first line combatant when equipped with the full combat system. The construction of the combat system embraced modular design principals, and should the Italian Navy decide to increase the capability of the light combat system ships, the platform is ready to receive upgrades.

With a stern hauling ramp and mid-stern lateral cranes, the vessel is also capable of supporting special forces operating high-speed Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) that can measure 11m length. The modular design principle of the PPA offers some flexibility in this capacity, as the mid-stern cranes can be replaced with alternative systems for launching and recovering boats of different sizes. If it is required for different missions, four containers can be embarked at this position. 

The modular design also allows for the transport of a greater number of boats, as required by the mission. There is a modular area under the flight-deck that allows for the compartmentalised addition of habitable, medical, or operative areas, that can also be replaced to increase the storage capacity of the PPA to carry five RHIBs. A sliding water-tight bulkhead divides the stern ramp and the modular area.

Energy and propulsion for the ship comes from four generators and a combined diesel, gas turbine plant (CODAG) manufactured by Isotta Fraschini Motori. The generators are 4 stroke diesel engines with Bosch high pressure common rail fuel injection system, capable of 1670bkW of continuous mechanical output at 1200 rpm and 1600ekW in electrical output. The PPA has a maximum speed of 32 knots. Helicopter capabilities include a flight deck for an SH90 or EH101 and a hangar for 2 SH90s or 1 EH101.