The Italian Navy's sixth Frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel, Luigi Rizzo, has been launched at the Riva Trigoso shipyard, near Genoa, Italy.
Scheduled to be delivered to the Italian Navy in early 2017, the vessel is being built by Orizzonte Sistemi Navali as part of a contact awarded by the Italian Navy.
The contract is within the framework of an Italo-French cooperation programme under the coordination of Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l'Armement, the international organisation for cooperation on arms (OCCAR).
Fincantieri owns a 51% stake in Orizzonte Sistemi Navali while the remaining 49% stake is held by Finmeccanica.
The contract involves the construction of 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.
The Italian FREMM vessels will feature the SAAM Aster 15 missile system, Teseo Mk2 sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and MBDA's Milas all-weather weapon system.
The vessels are designed to support anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-air warfare missions.
Orizzonte Sistemi Navali and Armaris, a joint venture between DCNS and Thales, are the prime contractors for Italy and France respectively under the FREMM programme.
Image: The Italian Navy's sixth Frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel, Luigi Rizzo. Photo: courtesy of Orizzonte Sistemi Navali S.p.A.