The delivery of the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol ship (PPA – Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura) “Paolo Thaon di Revel”, first of seven vessels, took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia) on March 18. The PPAs are built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with deliveries expected until 2026, and they are part of the renewal plan of the operational lines of the Italian Navy vessels, approved by the Government and Parliament and started in May 2015 (“Naval Act”) under the aegis of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).
Paolo Thaon di Revel was laid down on 9 May 2017 at Fincantieri Muggiano and launched on 15 June 2019. Expected to be commissioned in May 2021. 15 November 2019, she underwent her first sea trial off the Gulf of La Spezia. ITS Paolo Thaon di Revel had been scheduled for delivery in May 2021, and commissioning in November 2021. While the ship will now enter service after several months of delay, it is not uncommon for lead ships of new vessel classes to experience delays. A fourth ship in the class, future ITS Giovanni delle Bande Nere, was launched in the same month.
It is planned to replace four Soldati-class light patrol frigates and eight Minerva-class corvettes between 2021/2035. As part of the 2014 Naval Law, a total of sixteen ships are planned and as of 2019 seven vessels have been financed with three more on option. The class, designed with a high level of modularity and automation, will be delivered in a full, a light+ and a light configuration in terms of different sensors and equipment embarked and can perform multiple functions, ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to civil protection operations and, in its most highly equipped version, first-line fighting vessel.
The Italian Navy ordered the new MBDA TESEO MK/2E heavy-duty missile (TESEO “EVO”), a long-range anti-ship missile with also strategic land attack capability. The missile will have a new terminal “head” with a dual RF seeker (Radio Frequency) and, presumably, date the need to even attack ground targets, IIR (Imaging IR). Compared to the predecessor OTOMAT/TESEO, the TESEO “EVO” MK/2E has a double range of more than 360 km. The Light configuration has only gun armament. The Light+ and Full options also mount Aster anti-aircraft missiles and torpedoes. All configurations have the option to mount TESEO “EVO” MK2/E anti-ship missile launchers.