Giuseppe Garibaldi Portaeromobili
The Garibaldi was the world's smallest aircraft carrier, with a 10,000 ton standard displacement. Commissioned in 1985, the aircraft carrying cruiser "Giuseppe Garibaldi" was designed to be the Fleet Flagship and to match the following requiremems: an high platform stability in any sea state, capabiliry to carry a large amount of weapons and materials, rooms and spacing for housing a relevant air squadron. The project was developed starting from the evaluation of the foreseeable employement conditions (Mediterranean Sea and adjacent regions), resulting in a small-displacement vessel.
The ship Giuseppe Garibaldi has external lines typical of a traditional aircraft carrier and its construction came from the Navy's need to have a unit of anti-aircraft, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, with the ability to operate a considerable number of suitable aircraft to achieve even very distant from the normal base of operations. The unit is then designed to be able not only to develop and complete a naval training, also to be able to exercise the functions of central command, coordination and control of naval training.
The Giuseppe Garibaldi is able to house up to 18 heavy helicopters or an air squadron of 16 vertical or short take off and landing (VSTOL) aircraft, or a combination of helos and STO/VL required for mission tasks. The ship can accommodate up to eighteen helicopters, for example the Agusta Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King or the Agusta Bell AB212. Alternatively the ship can accommodate 16 AV-8B Harrier II aircraft armed with the Maverick air to surface missile and the AMRAAM AIM-120 air to air missiles. Helicopters are mainly utilized in anti-submarines tasks, while HARRIER II AV-8 PLUS aircrafts' operational abilities ensure effectiveness in ASUW and AAW.
The design was conceived in order to satisfy the requirement of having a unit endowed with the necessary capacity of command and control with adequate characteristics for the optimal use of the aircraft and antiship and antiaircraft missile weapon systems. The ship can embark antisubmarine medium helicopters of advanced characteristics, along with medium helicopters for electronic warfare. The ship has necessary the technical facilities for the employment of HARRIER II AV-8B PLUS aircrafts to provide antiaircraft and antiship capabilities at distances greater than the capacity of the current shipboard missiles.
The ship's crew is 550 officers and ratings plus 230 air staff. The carrier can carry out anti-submarine warfare, command and control of naval and aero-naval forces, area surveillance, convoy escort, commando transportation, and fleet logistic support including the maintenance of helicopters based on other ships. The ship is also equipped to carry out humanitarian relief missions.
The ship's long range surface to surface missile system, the Alenia Oto Sistemi Missilistici (AOSM) Otomat, is installed on the gun decks at the stern of the ship, two launchers on the port and two on the starboard side. The ship's surface-to-air missile is the AESN Albatros which provides short range point defence against threats from aircraft and missiles, both sea skimming and diving. The Albatros octuple launchers are installed on the roof decks at the forward and stern end of the main island. The Albatros Mark 2 system uses the Aspide missile. The ship is armed with 48 Aspide missiles. The ship is armed with three OTOBreda 40/70 mm twin guns. One gun is installed on the gun deck at the stern of the ship and two are installed, one each on the port and starboard gun decks at a lower level than the flight deck. Two ILAS 3 triple tube torpedo launchers from are fitted to the ship, one on each side of the ship. The 324 mm tubes are capable of firing the Honeywell Mark-46 or the A290 torpedo.
The ship's flight deck is 174 meters in length and 30.5 meters in width, and the forward 15 meters of the flight deck rises to a gentle ski ramp of about 4 degrees. The ship has an extensive aircraft hangar with maintenance and support facilities. The ship's propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 30 knots and at an economical speed of 20 knots the range is over 7000 nautical miles.
This Light carrier ship is suitable to carry out functions of command and control of operations of complex forces. The hull is divided lengthwise into six decks while thirteen vertical bulkheads form many watertight compartments. The hangar, situated below the flight deck, measuring 108 x 15 x 6 meters and is divided into three sections by two flame-cut walls. The flight deck is equipped with a lateral gangway, about 1 meter below the bridge itself, for the movement of personnel and for the accommodation of ancillary equipment (fuel supply points, power sockets, fire services, etc.).
At the bow and stern of the island there are two elevators of 18 x 10 m 15 t flow. Combined Gas and Gas engine system with remote control unit. The propellers are five fixed blades. The flight line can have different configuration aircraft/helicopters depending on the mission - AAW, ASW, anti-surface, etc. The Teseo system employs surface missile Otomat Mk 2, while the Albatros has an endowment of 48 anti-aircraft missiles Aspide. The arms of the Dardo [Dart] point defense system are placed in three twin complexes.
All new rooms have been carefully and thoroughly screened to ensure the ship always fully operational and to encourage maximum stability under all conditions. The aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi is also equipped with State-of-the-art electronic systems to cover every field of action, be it directed air surveillance systems and naval, underwater environment, electronic warfare operations or communications.
The aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi Cruiser, due to its versatility, played a key role over the years in all major international missions that have seen the Navy. The first task that the ship took part in was the operation Restore Hope in Somalia, from 18 February to 5 April 1994, in support of amphibious operations for the return of the Italian contingent. Always in Somalia from January to March 1995, the unit joined the Task Force UNOSOM to support the UN contingent.
As part of operation DINAK, when Italy has provided an essential operating and logistic support to Allied operations to the resolution of the Yugoslav crisis, Garibaldi was employed in the Adriatic from 26 April to June 17, 1999. From November 2001 to March 2002 the unit participated, as an aircraft carrier and command headquarters, Operation Enduring Freedom, remain continuously at sea for 87 days non-stop technical about 20000 miles. Throughout the period the unit was used as a means for naval monitoring, interception and interdiction at sea, and as a launch pad for the AV-8B aircraft which, together with other coalition aircraft structures, made support missions and aerial interdiction on Afghan soil.
In the summer of 2006 the Navy promptly intervened in the crisis in Lebanon, at first with the Mimosa and later with operation Litani, which, from October 19 to 29 August, Garibaldi was the command headquarters. During this time the aircraft group helped merchant traffic control in transit to the Lebanese coast, while the naval task force has been focused on amphibious landings in southern Lebanon for the introduction of a joint contingent of approximately 1000 soldiers of the San Marco Regiment, special forces and Lagoon.
In March 2011, in the Libyan crisis, Nave Garibaldi has provided support to international activities in operation Odyssey Dawn. Subsequently, from 26 March to 26 July, the unit took part in operation Unified Protector, for about two months was also home to command. The activity conducted by the naval and air assets of the Coalition, in compliance with the 1970 and 1973 resolutions of the UN Security Council, was intended to ensure respect of the embargo of arms trafficking by sea and the implementation of the No-Fly Zone against Libya. On this occasion the ship Garibaldi demonstrated excellent operational and logistical capacity remaining at sea continuously for 78 days and travelling over 20000 miles.
According to the Defense white paper "Investing In Security - Transforming the Italian Military" published in early 2006, the aircraft carrier Garibaldi will be replaced with an LHD/LHA that will have the capability of embarking a large Amphibious Force and a number of support aircraft, and will be equipped with Command and Control capabilities for the management of complex air maritime and amphibious operations (MCC/(C)JTF/CATF/CLF level). Early in 2009, the new 27,100 ton VSTOL aircraft carrier Cavour replaced the older Garibaldi carrier, which is only half of its size. Garibaldi would serve for a transitional period as an LPH to strengthen Italian amphibious assets.
ITS Garibaldi entered service in 1985, and although she was initially planned to be retired around 2012, as of 2003 was expected to remain in service until 2020, when she would have 35 years of service. The carrier underwent a MLU program in order to achieve that goal and remain in service until the new aircraft carrier was built.
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