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The construction work on the Italian Navy’s sixth Frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel, Luigi Rizzo, has moved ahead with the Fincantieri-held keel laying ceremony at the Riva Trigoso shipyard, near Genoa.

The vessel is scheduled to be delivered to the Italian Navy in early 2017, as part of a contract awarded to Orizzonte Sistemi Navali to build ten vessels for the Italian Navy to replace the ageing Fincantieri-built Lupo and Maestrale-class ships by 2021.

Capable of cruising at a speed of over 27k and accommodating a crew up to 200, the 144m-long and 19.7m-wide ship has a full load displacement of about 6,700t.

Established in late-2002, the FREMM multi-mission ship programme is part of a major cooperation agreement between France and Italy, under which 11 frigates will also be built for France, with the deliveries closing in 2022.

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"11 frigates will also be built for France, with the deliveries closing in 2022."

The Italian FREMM vessels will be armed with the SAAM Aster 15 missile system, Teseo Mk2 sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and MBDA’s Milas all-weather weapon system to support anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-air warfare missions.

In addition, the ships will be equipped with EMPAR G-band multifunction phased array radar and a Galileo Avionica silent acquisition surveillance system (SASS) to serve as infrared search and track system.

Italy will receive the vessels in two versions: an anti-submarine warfare model and a general-purpose vehicle.

Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, 49% Finmeccanica) is the prime contractor for Italy, while Armaris, a joint venture between DCNS and Thales, is the prime contractor for France under the FREMM programme.

Image: Illustration of FREMM frigate. Photo: copyright of DCN.

Defence Technology