The consortium – Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa (RTI) – led by Fincantieri has signed with OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for joint armament cooperation) a contract for the construction of a second Vulcano-class logistic support ship (LSS) for the Italian Navy, which also includes the option for a third ship. The LSS will be entirely built at the Castellammare di Stabia shipyard, with delivery scheduled for 2025. The value of the contract is approx. 410 million euros including the combat system. Vulcano is an auxiliary ship that entered service with the Italian Navy on 12 March 2021. She is designed to support fleet operations with fuel and dry stores. Along with another future sister ship, she is expected to replace the replenishment oilers (AORs) Stromboli-class replenishment oiler.
The order also includes the provision of support over the lifecycle of the vessel in the first ten years, divided into logistics and in-service support (maintenance), as well as the supply of naval components and machinery produced by Fincantieri Mechanical Systems and Components Unit, including shaft lines, steering system, maneuvering thrusters, fin stabilizers, and other handling systems. As part of the multi-year program aimed at safeguarding Italy’s Defence at-sea capacity (known as the “Naval Act”), Fincantieri is currently building seven multi-purpose offshore patrol vessels (PPA) and the “Trieste” Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD). Last March, it delivered the “Vulcano” LSS, a project that was also acquired by the French Navy for the definition of the Flotlog program, a series of units built in partnership with the Castellammare di Stabia shipyard.
The LSS is a vessel that provides logistics support to the fleet, endowed with hospital and healthcare capabilities thanks to the presence of a fully equipped hospital of approximately 800 square meters, which includes: 2 operating rooms with pre-anesthesia, a radiology room, a dentist’s office, a gynecological office, 2 emergency rooms, a clinical diagnosis lab, and blood bank, an intensive care room, a CT scan room, and a burns room. The ship combines the ability to transport and transfer to other transport vessels liquid cargo (diesel fuel, jet fuel, freshwater) and solid cargo (spare parts, food, and ammunitions) and to perform at sea repairs and maintenance work for other vessels. The defense systems are limited to the capacity of command and control in tactical scenarios, communications, and non-lethal dissuasive defense systems. The LSS is also capable of embarking on more complex defense systems and becoming a platform for intelligence and electronic warfare systems.
The French Navy through OCCAR ordered four modified ships of the class to replace its Durance-class tankers to be delivered in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029. The program is known as the Bâtiment ravitailleur de forces (BRF). The basic characteristic common to all three classes of ships is their very high level of innovation, which makes them extremely flexible in their various profiles of users with a high degree of efficiency. Most importantly, it will be possible to use these units in a complementary way even for non-military-related activities, such as, for example, supporting civil protection in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Moreover, their environmental impact is low, thanks to advanced low pollution emission generators and electric-drive propulsion motors, and biological waste control systems.