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Trieste - NEWCON Multipurpose Amphibious Unit [MAU]
LHD/LHA Amphibious Assault / Multifunctional Ship

According to the Defense white paper "Investing In Security - Transforming the Italian Military" published in early 2006, the amphibious projection capability will be modernized and enhanced by progressively substituting the current San Marco and San Giorgio class LPDs with new and larger units.

The Italian Navy contemplated overhauling and completing its salvaged carrier Aquila after World War II but abandoned the project because of its cost. Nevertheless, the navy continued its interest in taking aircraft to sea, since many naval officers attributed the fleets defeats during the war to a lack of integral aviation. During the 1960s this interest finally manifested itself in the commissioning of three helicopter cruisers, two ships of the Doria class and the much more satisfactory Vittorio Veneto.

When it became time to start planning for replacing the two earlier ships, the navy decided essentially to combine the aviation facilities of the Doria class cruisers into a single ship and designed a small helicopter carrier that entered service as the Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1985. Although the carrier was intended to embark only antisubmarine helicopters, in 1992 the navy was able to have repealed a long-standing law prohibiting it from operating combat aircraft from ships. This allowed the Giuseppe Garibaldi to operate either helicopters or VSTOL Harriers, or a mixed air group, and endowed the navy with a much enhanced strike potential within the Mediterranean Sea.

The Trieste-class amphibious assault ship was established in June 2010. At that time, the design was basically an enlarged version of the St. Giorgio-class amphibious transport ship with a displacement of about 16,000 tons. Finacteri initially had a design for a 20,000 ton displacement LHD/LHA Multifunctional Ship configured with extensive aviation facilities (LHA). This project had been under discussion since the mid-1990's, but by 2013 appeared to have been shelved for the duration of the financial crisis.

In July 2015 the Italian Navy ordered a new landing helicopter dock (LHD), with Fincantieri and Finmeccanica announcing they had been awarded a EUR1.1 billion (USD1.3 billion) contract for the vessel on 01 July 2015. The delivery of the new Unit Anfibia Multiuso [MAU] ship was planned for the beginning of 2022. Design activities had already begun, with initial construction (steel cutting) due at the end of 2016. The launch was scheduled for the beginning of 2019.

By early 2015 what emerged from this process was a vastly enlarged unit, with possibly double the diplacement of that originally envisioned. This model was seen at the 2016 European Naval Exhibition. Surely the emergence of 9,000 ton Kalaat Beni-Abbes in Algeria, the pair of 22,000 ton Mistrals in Egypt, the 27,800 Andalou in Turkey, persuaded Italian officials that something rather larger was needed to preserve Italian naval dominance in Mare Nosturm.

The work on the first multirole amphibious unit (Landing Helicopter Dock, LHD) of the Italian Navy officially began 12 July 2017. The ceremony of cutting the first sheet at the Fincantieri shipyards - the ship's first contractor - of Castellammare di Stabia, in Campania. The ship - which will most likely be called Trieste - would be delivered in 2022 and will take the place of the Garibaldi aircraft carrier, whose disposal was scheduled for 2025. Compared to Garibaldi, the new unit will be rather larger, with a total length of about 240 meters and a displacement of more than 25 thousand tons, at least 10,000 more than the old flagship of the Italian Navy. The maximum speed will be 25 knots, guaranteed by a combined diesel propulsion system and gas turbines (CODOG). The latter, in particular, will be the Rolls-Royce MT30s, derived from the aircraft engines of the British motorist Trent series.

The future LHD is part of the plan to renew the operational lines of naval units of the Navy decided by the Government in 2015 and for which 5.4 billion have been allocated. The second and third units of this class will more than compensate for the retirement of the diminuative Santi class LPDs, which start phasing out around the year 2020. In addition to the multi-role amphibious unit, the plan includes the construction of seven Multipurpose Offshore Patrol boats (PPA) (an additional three in option) and the Vulcano logistic support unit (LSS), being assembled between the Castellammare shipyards and Muggiano. The estimated cost for "Trieste" is around 1.1 billion euros.

The civil Employment profile includes:

  • Health and hospital support
  • Transport and landing also in unequipped areas of personnel and rescue vehicles rotated or tracked
  • Supply of drinking water to the ground by means of on-board deseaters or ship deposits
  • Supply of electric current to Earth for a power of 2000 kw and distribution of the same through containerized conversion and distribution units
  • Possibility to host on board specialised personnel or to hospitalize civil personnel up to 700 units plus a similar number in containerized housing units
  • Base for rescue operations through helicopters and vessels of organic endowment

The military employment profile of the LHD provides for the transport and unloading of troops, military vehicles and logistical equipment in equipped and non-manned areas using the equipment and means of transfer provided.

The Trieste class is also epoch-making in the amphibious assault ship application and the same parallel double-ship island design of the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. According to the model, the former ship island is the sailing ship island, and the top of the ship island is installed with a Leon. Nardo's RAN 40 L-band 3D air-to-air search radar (also installed on the rear mast of the aircraft carrier of the Cavour).

The Trieste-class deck is very square and has a strong American style. In terms of armament, the bow of the ship has a descending small platform with a set of jamming launchers. There is an Otto Melerah 76mm gun in the front position on both sides of the ship. A central part is also installed, and the whole ship has three 76mm guns.

A set of eight-unit Silva vertical launch system is installed on the starboard side of the front, which can be loaded with eight Ziyan-30 anti-aircraft missiles or 24 CAMM-ER air defense missiles (one pit and three bombs with a maximum range of 40 kilometers. The European missile group CAMM air defense The Italian version of the missile, the British version is the sea-receiver air defense missile modified by the Type-23 frigate.

The ship's stern is equipped with a 50-meter-long floodgate dock that can carry landing crafts such as LCAC, LCM-1E or L-CAT, all of which can carry the main battle tank; while the left side of the hull carries two LCU personnel landing boats and two RHIB assault boats. The ship is equipped with 200 personnel and can carry 800 landing troops; there are 1,050 ordinary beds and 50 medical beds on board.

The construction of the first unit will cost 1.2 billion euros. The follow-up two ships will be simpler but the cost will be around 1 billion euros. This is only the budget cost. Combined with the five Italian new generation multi-purpose frigate PPA projects that have been built, the Italian Navy's dominant position in the Mediterranean has not been comparable to any country.

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