Italian Navy’s Near Future Submarine (NFS)

Italy already operates 4 Type-212A Todaro class submarines. These are very similar to German Submarines.

Italy’s Near Future Submarine (NFS) design will be Italian in nature. The Type-212A submarines are the backbone of Italian Navy’s (Marina Militare). Italy operates four type 212A submarines. Lithium-ion batteries promise greater capacity which should translate into longer underwater running. Combined with the AIP this should make the NFS even more stealthy.

The Type 212A submarines are equipped with fuel cell Air Independent Power (AIP), which makes them among the most stealthy submarines anywhere. But the Type-212A is best known as a German design, not Italian. In many respects the NFS is a return to the proud tradition of fiercely independent Italian submarine building.

The NFS will be a direct development of the Type-212A. Although the baseline Type-212A is largely a German design, Italy was a partner in the program. In a cost-conscious defense collaboration typical of the post-Cold War ’90s, Germany was to build six boats and Italy four. Italy’s were built locally by Fincantieri and incorporate some local systems. In particular they are armed with the Italian Whitehead A184 Mod.3 and newer Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes. And they carry an array of unique special forces equipment.

The NFS will feature a slight increase in overall length to accommodate a new intelligence gathering mast. This improvement is a parallel of Germany’s second batch of Type-212As, but with an Italian system.

More significantly, it will incorporate Italian developed lithium-ion batteries in place of lead-acid. This is significant and is likely to be the first Western submarine to feature this technology. Currently only Japan fields submarines with this battery technology, although South Korea, and possibly China, are close behind.

Although it had previously been suggested that Italy would join German and Norway in the ‘Common Design’ version of the Type-212, there are indications that Italy is intent on creating its own waves. The Italian Navy states that there is to be no international collaboration. This is because “the high strategic value of the systems and their technological contents as well as the underlying capabilities industrial, historically protected exclusively nationally.”

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So Italy adopted a German led design in the 1990s when Italy joined Germany’s Type-212 project. Together with a mysterious submarine contract to build unspecified submarines for Qatar, the NFS could pave the way to a resurgence of Italian submarine building.

Amur 950, the original design the S-100 was based on, could carry four torpedo tubes and ten vertical launch tubes, but left minimal space for living and operating area. This sub could also go faster and deeper than the S-1000. Illustration: Rubin Central Design Bureau

The S1000-class submarines are a joint development by Russia and Italy. It is said to be an advanced version of the Amur-class submarine of Rubin Design Bureau. The joint development is between Rubin Design Bureau of Russia and Fincantieri of Italy.

Despite its small size (56 meter long) the sub is designed to include fuel-cell based air-independent propulsion system (AIP) developed by the Italian firm accelerating the submarine to a speed of 14 knots. The submarine was originally designed for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, reconnaissance missions, and transportation of up to 12 troops (accommodations arranged in the torpedoes storage area). Italy withdraw from the project due to EU embargo on Russian entity.

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