• Saturday, May 30, 2020

Italian Navy Will Go Its Own Way With New Submarines

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare' started by Zarvan, May 22, 2020.

  1. Zarvan


    Apr 28, 2011
    +86 / 50,773 / -13
    H I SuttonContributor
    Aerospace & Defense
    I cover the changing world of underwater warfare.

    Italy’s Near Future Submarine (NFS) design will be Italian in nature. Currently the backbone of Italian Navy’s (Marina Militare) submarine force are four Type-212A submarines. These are equipped with fuel cell Air Independent Power (AIP), which makes them among the most stealthy submarines anywhere. But the Type-212A is best known as a German design, not Italian. In many respects the NFS is a return to the proud tradition of fiercely independent Italian submarine building.

    Italy already operates 4 Type-212A Todaro class[+]

    The NFS will feature a slight increase in overall length to accommodate a new intelligence gathering mast. This improvement is a parallel of Germany’s second batch of Type-212As, but with an Italian system.

    More significantly, it will incorporate Italian developed lithium-ion batteries in place of lead-acid. This is significant and is likely to be the first Western submarine to feature this technology. Currently only Japan fields submarines with this battery technology, although South Korea, and possibly China, are close behind. Lithium-ion batteries promise greater capacity which should translate into longer underwater running. Combined with the AIP this should make the NFS even more stealthy.

    Although it had previously been suggested that Italy would join German and Norway in the ‘Common Design’ version of the Type-212, there are indications that Italy is intent on creating its own waves. The Italian Navy states that there is to be no international collaboration. This is because “the high strategic value of the systems and their technological contents as well as the underlying capabilities industrial, historically protected exclusively nationally.”

    It will be a small step in a return to a proud submarine design tradition. The Italian Navy was an early mover in submarine warfare, commissioning its first boat, Delfino, in 1895. This predates the famous USS Holland, which was the U.S. Navy’s first modern submarine. And unlike the early submarines in many other countries, the Delfino was good enough that it served for many years.

    During the World War One period Italy was an exporter of submarines, and it continued a strongly independent design philosophy into World War II. There was a break in submarine building following the War but production resumed in the 1960s. So it was a blow to adopt a German led design in the 1990s when Italy joined Germany’s Type-212 project. Together with a mysterious submarine contract to build unspecified submarines for Qatar, the NFS could pave the way to a resurgence of Italian submarine building.

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    H I Sutton

    Defense analyst using OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) to get to the stories first. Author of several books on Submarines, Special Forces and Narco subs. I mostly write
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