The Italian Navy has launched the lead vessel of a new class of multipurpose offshore patrol ships (PPA) at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano, La Spezia, Italy.

Known as ‘Paolo Thaon di Revel’, the vessel is the first of seven vessels planned to be acquired by the country.

Fincantieri expects to deliver the ship in 2021, with the subsequent deliveries to occur from 2022 through 2026.

The PPA is part of the €5.4bn renewal plan of the Italian Navy’s fleet vessels. In addition to the patrol vessels, the plan also includes the construction of one transport and landing unit (LHD).

The multipurpose offshore patrol vessel will be used in support of various operations, ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to civil protection operations.

PPAs are being built in three different configurations, which are Light, Full, and Light Plus.

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The Light version will be equipped with a complete artillery set, Light Plus will have a missile firing capability with actuators, and the Full version can operate in a surface, air and underwater domains.

The 132.5m-long patrol ship can also operate high-speed vessels such as the rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) up to 11m-long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp at the far stern.

In addition, the vessel can achieve a top speed of more than 31k and accommodate a crew of 171 people.

Equipped with a combined diesel, a gas turbine plant (CODAG) and an electric propulsion system, the ship will have the capability to supply electricity to land with 2,000kW of power.

Paolo Thaon di Revel is a Light configuration vessel. It is expected to undergo its first sea trial by mid-October.

All seven units will be built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano.

In March, Fincantieri began construction of the fourth PPA.