Construction work on the Italian Navy’s second multipurpose offshore patrol ship (PPA) has been officially marked with the first steel cutting at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Riva Trigoso, Genova.

Slated to be delivered in 2022, the second ship is part of the navy’s renewal plan of the surface operational lines of its vessels.

The renewal plan began in May 2015 following approval from the Italian Government and Parliament.

With high-flexibility, the new 132.5m-long PPA has the potential to perform a wide range of operations from patrol with sea rescue capacity to support civil protection operations. In addition, the ship can serve as a first line fighting vessel.

The combat system of the PPA will feature different configurations to be able to conduct a range of operations. A soft version of the combat system will be equipped with basic self-defence capabilities for patrol tasks and a complete version will be integrated with the capability to respond to 3D air and surface threats.

The Italian Navy ship will have a cruise speed of more than 31k and be capable of operating high-speed vessels such as rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) up to 11m-long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp at the far stern.

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The second unit of the PPA will feature a combined diesel, electric and a gas turbine plant, and two modular zones at the stern and at the centre of the vessel that would facilitate the embarking of various types of containerised operating / logistic / residential / healthcare modules.

Steel cutting of the first unit was carried out in February and the keel was laid in May.

All seven PPAs to be delivered to the navy are being built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano.

While delivery of the first ship is currently slated for 2021, the remaining units will be delivered once a year from 2022 to 2026, with two units expected in 2024.