The Italian Navy’s second FREMM multimission European frigate, Virginio Fasan, has been launched at the Riva Trigoso (Genoa) shipyard.

The Italian Navy ordered a second batch of four FREMM frigates in February 2008, of which three will be equipped with Thales Type 4929 active very-low-frequency towed array sonars for use in anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

The 139m-long Virginio Fasan, has a full load displacement capacity of 5,900t, a beam of 19.7m, a maximum speed of 27k and can accommodate a crew of 145.

The Italian FREMM frigates, scheduled for deliver in 2013, feature SAAM Aster 15 missile system, Teseo mk2 sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and two Sylver A43 vertical launch systems.

The FREMM family of frigates is being designed to counter threats from air, sea and land and is equipped with a sensor suite based on Herakles multifunction radar, naval cruise missiles and MU90 torpedoes.

Launched in July 2011, the Italian Navy’s first FREMM frigate, Carlo Bergamini is undergoing sea trials and is scheduled for delivery at the end of 2012.

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.

The FREMM frigates will replace the aging Fincantieri-built Lupo and Maestrale-class frigates currently in service with the Italian Navy.