Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilding company, has been awarded a contract by OCCAR to construct the third U212NFS (Near Future Submarine) as part of Italy’s naval modernisation efforts.

With a total value exceeding €500m ($555m), the submarine is anticipated to be delivered by 2030, bolstering Italy’s underwater spatial surveillance and control capacity in anticipation of complex future scenarios of underwater operations.

This strategic move aims to consolidate Fincantieri‘s position as the design authority and enhance the technological know-how of the Italian industries involved in the program.

The submarine is part of the Near Future Submarine programme. The programme aims to safeguard maritime interests and ensure security in an evolving geopolitical landscape.

The U212NFS submarines are set to feature significant design modifications. These submarines respond to the need for enhanced underwater operational capabilities, considering the approaching end of service life for the current “Sauro” class fleet.

According to GlobalData’s “Italy Defence Market 2023-2028” report, The Near Future Submarine program began its construction phase at Fincantieri’s shipyard in La Spezia in January 2022. The new vessels are intended to substantially improve endurance, operational flexibility, and combat capabilities over the Italian Navy’s four Sauro-class submarines.

The submarines actively surveil vital maritime communication routes and underwater regions, including cooperation with NATO and EU alliances. As Italy’s interests expand below the sea’s surface, encompassing valuable seabed resources, underwater energy infrastructure, and communication networks, the significance of underwater surveillance has grown.

In addition to the base contract value, the program development also includes provisions for an extra €160m, allowing for future additional activities or specific capabilities demanded by the Italian Navy. This approach ensures that the U212NFS submarines will continue to evolve and remain adaptable to emerging challenges throughout their operational lifespan.

Fincantieri’s collaboration with OCCAR heralds a new chapter in Italy’s naval modernisation journey. The U212NFS program is poised to fortify the nation’s maritime defence capabilities.