Audace DDG Guided Missile Destroyer

The units of the Audace [Audacious] class were an improvement of the Guided Missile Destroyers of the Impavido [Fearless] class, with increase of dimensions and power of the helicopter unit and the armament. They constitute an important contribution for the power and the modernization of the Navy. Multi-purpose destroyers were suitable to conduct missions Commons, against surface, coastal bombardment and amphibious operations support. The helicopter component embarked allowed conducting antisubmarine duties. The units of this class were at the time one of the best expressions of the multi-purpose destroyers in the early 1970s.

Commissioned in 1972, the Italian navy's two 'Audace' class destroyers proved highly successful and formed the basis for the Duran de la Penne ['Animoso'] class. These ships had a powerful general-purpose armament, including Otomat SSMS, Standard SAMs and homing antisubmarine (A/S) torpedoes. Both were fitted with stabilizers and their pair of AB 212 ASW helicopters provide over-the-horizon guidance for the Otomats as well as good anti-submarine capability.

In 1988-90 the Audace was extensively refurbished with greatly enhanced resulting armament consisting of 1 LMS "Standard MR", 4 launchers to surface anti-ship missiles "Theseus", 1 eight-cell "Albatros" launcher for missiles "Aspide" for medium-range air defence, 1 127/54 mm gun, 4 da76/62 guns "super Rapid" t.l.s 6. a.s.

Modern SAM systems have many advantages, which include con-stant combat readiness, the capability of continuously hunting the enemy over considerable distances, simultaneous acquisition and tracking of several targets, short reaction time (5-15 seconds), automation of the fire preparation process, short interval between launches (by automatic reloading of the launcher), resistance to the effect of unfavorable weather factors, high kill probability, minimum size of "dead space," sufficient anti-jam capa-bility, and relative simplicity of day-to-day maintenance and combat operation. The Standard missile family, which replaced the Tartar,Terrier and Talos surface-to-air missiles, includes several modifications: Standard-1 MR (RIM-66A and B), Standard-1 ER (RIM-67A and B), Standard-2MR (RIM-66C) and Standard-2ER (RIM-67C).

As originally built they had two OTO-Melara 5-in guns, but the 'B' turret was removed during modernization and replaced by an octuple SAM launcher firing Aspide semi-active radar homing missiles. The Aspide short-range SAM is part of the multipurpose Albatros SAM system installed aboard Audace and Animoso class guided missile destroyers. It has a semi-active radar homing head. The rapid development of shipboard missiles initially shoved guns into the background, but the experience of combat operations in local military conflicts after World War II showed that their role clearly had been underestimated and this led to creation of new ship gun systems. General-purpose single gun systems and automated AAA systems became the most widespread.

They also had two twin 21-in torpedo tubes in transom mounts, but these have been removed. Two 324-mm triple torpedo tubes(Mk 32) for firing small antisubmarine torpedoes guidedin two planes are installed on practically all destroyers(except French ships). The most widespread torpedo inworld navies at the present time is considered to be theAmerican Mk 46, which belongs to the third generationof small torpedoes and has several modifications. Thelast modification, Mk 46 Mod 5, became operational in1979. In its development attention was given above all tocreating new homing head elements permitting anincrease in range and effectiveness of detecting modern,quiet submarines when they employ passive and activesonar countermeasures.

Plants are divided into three types depending on prin-ciple of operation and design execution: all-mode gasturbine plants and combination gas and diesel-gas tur-bine plants (steam turbine power plants are used aboardships of earlier construction). The special positionaboard new ships occupied by main power plants withgas turbines is explained by their positive qualities suchas low specific mass, small dimensions, high maneuver-ability, adaptability for automation, and possibility ofreplacing machine units. With the retirement of these units is over once and for all for the Navy the era of naval propulsion by steam-powered equipment. It was planned that about 2005-7 two new escort ships would be deployed to substitute for the destroyers Ardito and Audace, which were in fact retired in 2006.

Join the mailing list