The Italian Navy has taken delivery of the first Frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel, Carlo Bergamini, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Muggiano, La Spezia, Italy.
The delivery is 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.
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 be built for France as well, with the deliveries closing in 2022.
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.
Italy will receive the vessels in two versions: an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) model and a general-purpose (GP) vehicle.
The 144m-long and 19.7m-wide Carlo Bergamini has a full-load displacement capacity of 6,500t, a maximum speed of 27k and an accommodation capacity of 145.
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 Galileo Avionica silent acquisition surveillance system (SASS) to serve as infrared search and track (IRST) system.
Capable of supporting a range of missions and better safeguard the Mediterranean area, the FREMM frigates will also be used to conduct broad maritime defence strategies such as deterrence, protection, crisis mitigation and power projection.
Image: Illustration of Italian Navy's FREMM ship. Photo: courtesy of Orizzonte Sistemi Navali.