Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has begun production activities for the first of two next-generation U212NFS submarines for the Italian Navy. The two units will be built at the Muggiano, La Spezia, shipyard.
The Near Future Submarine program, which also envisages relevant in-service support, an option for two additional units, as well as the creation of a training center, is led by organization Conjointe de Cooperation en matiere d’Armement (OCCAR).
Fincantieri and OCCAR signed a contract for the construction of the two submarines in February last year.
The project is an evolution of the U212A program carried out in cooperation with the German company thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, which resulted in the production of four submarines for Italy – Todaro, Scirè, Venuti and Romei, delivered by Fincantieri between 2006 and 2017 – and six for Germany.
According to analyses, the technological content of these air-independent propulsion submarines determined the shift in the balance between nuclear and conventional vessels in the postwar period. The new submarines will be highly innovative, with significant design modifications which will all be developed independently by Fincantieri.
The U212NFS program, which envisages the first two deliveries in 2027 and 2029, responds to the need to secure adequate underwater spatial surveillance and control capacity, considering the future complex scenarios of underwater operations and that the operational lifetime of the 4 “Sauro” class submarines, currently in service, is drawing near.
It also aims at upholding and further developing Fincantieri’s acquired strategic and innovative industrial know-how, as well as consolidating the technological lead attained by the company and its supply chain, major industries, and small and medium-sized enterprises of the sector, enhancing the presence on board of technologically advanced component parts developed by Italian industries.
The submarines carry out many different tasks for the benefit of the community on a daily basis, preserving national interests and collective defense within the framework of the most important alliances in which Italy participates, NATO and the EU.
They range from purely military missions to operations pertaining to freedom of navigation, anti-piracy, keeping the energy supply routes safe (due to the presence of seabed resources or underwater infrastructure), observance of international law, fighting terrorism, defending external borders, and safeguarding maritime infrastructure, including essential off-shore and underwater infrastructure, not least preserving marine ecosystems.
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