Italy prepares to launch submarine rescue vessel programme

The new multirole submarine rescue vessel will replace the Italian Navy’s salvage ship. Source: Italian Navy

The Italian Ministry of Defence’s Naval Armament Directorate is gearing up to launch its acquisition programme for a new multirole submarine rescue vessel by mid-2019.

The Special and Diving Operations – Submarine Rescue Ship (SDO-SuRS), for which EUR424 million (USD481.7 million) has been earmarked from 2018, is intended to replace the ageing salvage ship, Anteo . Jane’s understands that the vessel will have a modular design in order to carry out its three main tasks of submarine rescue in addition to supporting special forces and diving operations carried out by the Italian Navy’s Comando Subacquei ed Incursori (COMSUBIN) special forces and divers command.

Basic specifications include a full-load displacement of about 8,500 tonnes, an overall length of 120 m, and a 20 m beam. The ship will be powered by an integrated full-electric propulsion system (IFEP) – using two azimuthal propulsion pods and two bow-mounted thrusters – able to achieve a maximum speed of 15 kt.

The ship will be capable of embarking US Navy and NATO submarine rescue systems, a 12-man integrated saturation diving system, a suite of survey and rescue underwater vehicles (including an AUV capable of operating to depths of 3,000 m and two remotely controlled underwater vehicles), an atmospheric diving system capable of operating to a depth of 300 m, a McCann rescue chamber, and a hyperbaric simulator.

A dedicated underwater operations medical facility is to be fitted in addition to extensive special forces and command and control (C2) facilities and provisions for expeditionary operations.

The ship will feature aviation facilities for a medium-sized helicopter such as the Leonardo Helicopters AW101 and a stern area equipped for underwater and special forces operations.

Accommodation will be provided for 200 personnel in about 60 cabins. The new platform will be equipped with a comprehensive C4I suite with internal large-band wireless communications.