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Minerva - Corvette

Towards the end of the Cold War Cantieri Navali Riuniti (CNR) in Riva Trigoso and Muggiano were engaged in the production of two guided missile destroyers (Animoso, Ardimentoso) and also in eight 1,200-ton Minerva-class ships variously designated corvettes [in Italy] or frigates [by others]. These corvettes are almost entirely Italian production in all their structural and electronic components designed for a potential 'growth' of the project. With regard to the tasks assigned to this type of unit, the anti-aircraft capabilities was maximally privileged in all its components while observing flexibility that makes them suitable to play the defense of coastal convoys. Recently, some units of the class have lost this capability, while maintaining the air capabilities needed to perform the tasks for coastal patrol.

After the end of the Cold War, small combatants, like corvettes, became an attractive option because (1) many recent operations of navies are in offshore waters and large combatants, like frigates or destroyers, are not suited for littoral warfare under asymmetric threats, and (2) the costs to construct and maintain the large combatants are very high and, as a result, the number of procured combatants will be decreased. Corvettes have smaller displacement than frigates and destroyers. In the case of corvettes, one of the biggest problems is poor seakeeping because, in general, as displacement becomes smaller, the seakeeping becomes worse.

With regard to state-of-the-art solutions include extensive use of automated data processing systems and equipment used in handling propulsion apparatus, in the combat operations center, navigation systems and also in the control of generation and distribution of electricity. The propellers are variable pitch type, the platform is stabilized by a pair of non-retractable anti-roll fin. The direction of the shot they employ, in addition to conventional sensors, infrared sensors and night-vision cameras.

The custom of giving mythological names to military Units has ancient origins. For the Romans “MINERVA” was the Goddess of the city and patroness of the artists, craftsmen and doctors. Thanks to the Etruscans, she soon became the goddess of war, at the expense of Mars. Nevertheless, she was soon identified with the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. Two other Units bore the same name before: A Partenope Class Cruiser Destroyer. Assembled in 1893, she was condemned from the King’s Navy by a Royal Decree on May 15, 1921; and a Gabbiano Class Corvette, whose motto was "Arma Parate, Animi et Spe Premunite Bellum." She entered service in winter 1943; during World War II, and until the Armistice, the Corvette carried out 51 war missions, totaling 517 hours at sea sailing 6,363 miles. She was condemned on July 1, 1969.

The current Corvette Minerva was laid down at the Riva Trigoso shipyards on March 11, 1985 and commissioned to the Italian Navy on June 10, 1987. The Unit, featuring almost all Italian structural and electronic components, has been designed to maximize anti-aircraft equipment, and yet, in the course of time, has undergone thorough changes that have reduced her operational skills. At present, her tasks mainly involve presence and surveillance activities, patrolling and assistance to national motor-fishing, as well as migration watch. Moreover, the Unit is often used for activities related to the Naval Command School and to the many drills carried out in cooperation with other European countries.

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