Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has conducted the first steel cutting for the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) multipurpose amphibious unit, which is being built for the Italian Navy.

The steel cutting ceremony took place at the company's shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia, Italy. 

Fincantieri is currently scheduled to deliver the LHD in 2022. The vessel forms part of the Italian Navy's wider fleet renewal plan, which has been granted approval by the government and Parliament.

The multi-year programme for the renewal of the Italian Navy’s fleet includes the LHD and the construction of seven multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ships (PPA) with the option for three additional PPA units, as well as the logistic support ship (LSS) Vulcano.

The 200m-long LHD vessel will have a maximum speed of 25k and will feature a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODOG).

"The 200m-long LHD vessel will have a maximum speed of 25k and will feature a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODOG)."

Additionally, the ship will have the capacity to accommodate more than 1,000 people.

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The LHD has been designed to transport people, vehicles and loads of various kinds, and will be equipped with wide embarkment areas of roughly 4,500m² within its dock and hangar garages, as well as a continuous open deck space.

It will have the capability to receive containers, helicopters and wheeled vehicles of various kinds, and will be able to carry out a wide range of military and civil missions.

The different cargo-securing areas are designed to be accessible through stern and side ramps, while cargo handling can be managed by internal ramps and elevators.

The LHD is also set to feature a fully equipped hospital with operating rooms, radiology and analysis laboratories, a dentist’s office, and hospital rooms that will be able to accommodate 28 seriously injured patients.