A class of seven multi-role offshore patrol vessels (Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura (PPA)) on order for the Italian Navy will be delivered by 2026. Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri is the prime contractor for the PPA-class.
Construction on the first patrol vessel began in February 2017. The ships are intended to perform a number of duties in Italy’s territorial waters. Their mission capabilities include patrolling, surface combat, anti-piracy, monitoring, protection and control of maritime zones, and rescue of personnel in distress.
FIRST STEEL CUTTING CEREMONY FOR PPA
The First Steel Cutting ceremony for the Multipurpose Patrol Ship (Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura – PPA) took place in FINCANTIERI’s shipyard, in La Spezia, on 13 February 2017. The event represents the beginning of production of the first of seven PPA ships, and was honoured by the presence of the Italian Deputy Secretary of Defence, On. Domenico Rossi and the Chief of the Italian Navy, Admiral Valter Girardelli.
The OCCAR PPA Programme includes design, development and construction of 10 ships (7 + 3 optional), together with Temporary Support for ten years. The first ship will be delivered in 2021.
This new class of vessel is designed to operate in multiple scenarios, ranging from traditional military tasks to humanitarian support operations and disaster relief assistance, benefiting from an extensive use of the modularity concept (i.e. modular hospital, electrical power/drinkable water ashore and containers).
The ship presents many innovative features in both platform and combat system areas such as an advanced propulsion system and a piercing bow to enable a speed higher than 31 Kts, great flexibility due to the presence of modular areas and the integration of a cockpit which gathers bridge and Combat Information Center functions by using technologies and ergonomics, typically used in the aeronautical field. Source occar.int
The keel-laying ceremony of the first PPA was held at Fincantieri’s Muggiano shipyard in May 2017.
The first PPA will be delivered in 2021, and deliveries of the remaining vessels are scheduled to take place between 2022 and 2026.
PPA-class procurement details
The procurement of the PPA-class offshore patrol vessels is part of Italian Navy’s fleet renewal plan, which is aimed at replacing the ageing fleet of patrol boats, corvettes and frigates.
In May 2015, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) awarded a €3.5bn ($3.89bn) multi-year contract to a consortium of Fincantieri and Finmeccanica (now Leonardo) for the construction of six PPAs, with an option for additional four units and one logistic support ship (LSS).
The contract also requires Fincantieri to provide integrated and in-service logistics support for the vessels for a period of ten years. A contract option was executed for the seventh vessel in November 2015, increasing the total contract value to approximately €5.4bn ($5.74bn).
The ships are being built at Fincantieri’s integrated naval shipyards at Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, Italy.
Design and features of Italy’s future offshore patrol vessels
Each offshore patrol vessel will be able to carry up to 171 crew members. The overall length is approximately 143m, while the length between perpendiculars is 133m. The depth and beams of the vessel are 10.5m and 16.5m respectively.
An 11m-long rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) will be carried in the middle of the ship for patrol and transportation missions. Launch and recovery of the RHIB will be performed either by the lateral cranes located beside the RHIB or through a hauling ramp located at the rear. The vessel’s bridge is placed amidships.
A hangar located at the aft of the vessel will hold up to two NH90 or one EH101 medium-lift utility helicopter. A flight deck, which is placed next to the hangar near the stern of the ship, is intended to support the operations of one NH90 or one EH101 helicopter.
Armament of the PPA-class vessels
The PPA-class offshore patrol vessels will be armed with OTO Melara 127/64 LW high-calibre Vulcano gun system (main armament) and OTO Melara 76/62 medium-calibre gun mounts for defence against surface, airborne, maritime, and asymmetric targets.
127 mm – Vulcano
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO System consists of four key sub-systems:
- the large caliber 127/64 LW Gun assembly,
- the Automated Ammunition Handling System,
- the Naval Fire Control Support and
- the VULCANO family of ammunition.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO is a state of art medium caliber gun suitable for installation on large and medium size ships and intended for surface fire and naval gunfire support as main role and anti-aircraft fire as secondary role. The compactness of the gun feeding system makes possible the installation on narrow section crafts.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO is equipped with a modular feeding magazine, composed by 4 drums with 14 ready to fire ammunition each, reloadable during firing, and highly flexible in terms of selection of ammunition, independently from their position in the drums. Ammunition flow is reversible as rounds can be downloaded automatically.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO can fire all standard 127mm / 5 inches ammunition as well as the new VULCANO family of ammunition.
The 127/64 LW – VULCANO has digital / analogical interface and ballistic calculation capabilities that allow a smooth integration with any Combat Management System.
The Automatic Ammunition Handling System is a modular solution adaptable to any ship ammunition magazine layout; it is able to load the feeding magazine of the gun without man assistance during operation to allow a sustained firing action of the gun. The system is able to handle both standard 127mm /5-inches ammunition and new VULCANO family of ammunition.
The Naval Fire Control Support is a mission planning system that may support the Combat Management System for definition of possible firing solutions, ammunition selection, trajectory definition, best ship course identification.
The 127mm VULCANO ammunition family, is composed by Ballistic Extended Range (BER) and Guided Long Range (GLR) ammunition with different multifunctional fuses, sensor and final guidance that extend the range of the gun up to 100km.
Medium Caliber Gun – 76 mm SP – Davide?
Two 25mm remotely controlled small-calibre gun systems will be used for close-range combat operations, anti-smuggling and maritime interdiction. MBDA’s anti-ballistic missile system will be fitted to further increase the vessel’s anti-ship defence capability.
MARLIN – WS?
The MARLIN – WS is an advanced system developed to meet the emerging requirements of modern naval warfare at best level of effectiveness and suitable either as main armament for small size vessels or as secondary armament for larger ship, with no deck penetration and simple installation.
The MARLIN – WS is a highly accurate and reliable multi-role system, particularly effective in the simultaneous engagement of multiple targets such as swarms of Fast Inshore Attack Crafts.
The MARLIN – WS can be fitted with either a 25mm or 30mm cannon and it is modular as to be configured according to an wide range of customers’ requirements.
The modular architecture offers an extensive combination of characteristics. Optical sensor suite with day and night vision and laser range finder can be mounted coaxially to or independent from the line of fire or not installed at all.
The excellent performance provided by the fast and accurate servo systems, are also ensured working either as a stand-alone system with own Remote Control Console or linked to the ship’s Combat Management System. The latest generation of built-in digital architecture provides a straightforward interface for being simply slaved to the ship’s Fire Control System or being fully integrated into the CMS through LAN technology with Fire Control System and video tracking capabilities residing within the weapon.
The multi-role vessels will use a heavy-weight torpedo system to detonate under-water targets.
Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability
“The PPA Full version will be able to embark and use the Aster 30 Block 1NT that is the anti-ballistic missile with the support of the radar system of the future LHD in terms of early warning detection” said Captain Esposito.
The long range detection of ballistic missiles will be realized with the L-band AESA radar based on gallium nitride (GaN) technology which allows the radar to have better performance in terms of range. The missile tracking capability will be provided by the C-band element of the new dual-band radar developed especially by Leonardo for the PPA.
An MBDA Italy representative explained that PPA Full will be able to detect and engage ballistic missiles on their own or in cooperation with other early warning sources via Link 16. He added that PPA Light+ variant could potentially have that BMD capability but the first real BMD capable ship for the Italian Navy will be the first PPA Full variant to be delivered in 2024. Source navyrecognition.com
Aster 30 Block 1 NT missile
The Aster 30 Block 1 NT missile evolution consists in a new seeker operating in Ka band, replacing the current Ku band seeker, as well as a new improved weapon controller. This change delivers a significant performance enhancement.
The new missile will be capable of intercepting threats of the entry of the MRBM (Medium Range Ballistic Missiles) domain whereas the current Aster 30 Block 1 deals with SRBM (Short Range Ballistic Missiles) of up to 600 km range and it will also be capable of dealing with missiles with separable warheads. This new version of Aster will extend the antiballistic capability of the missile from a range of 600km up to 1,500km. On December 20, OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation) notified to EUROSAM, a consortium formed by MBDA and Thales, the amendment 1 of the contract for the “B1NT” programme. This amendment embodies the participation of Italy in the programme. It follows the notification of the initial contract under French mandate on December 23, 2015, and the Arrangement of Cooperation, signed in June 2016 by the French and Italian Defence Ministers, laying down the framework of responsibilities and rights of the two countries vis-a-vis the missile to be developed in cooperation, and its multiple applications in land and naval defence systems against air attacks and ballistic missiles. Source navyrecognition.com
Anti-Ship Missile System TESEO
Enhanced version of the all weather OTOMAT MK2 missile system, providing improved performance in terms of OTHT (Over The Horizon Targeting) and operations in complex naval scenarios.
Capable of ranges from 6 to 180 km in all directions, the system relies on powerful mission planning (3D way-points, terminal sea skimming profile, simultaneous attack from different directions).
Target data is derived from the ship’s Command System or taken directly from the ship’s surface search radar. Mission Planning allows the selection of different firing modes (such as Fire and Forget or midcourse guided) and of specific trajectories and evasive manoeuvres.
Cruise and approach phases may be either fully inertial or partially guided from the launch ship through a radio-link. Mid course re-vectoring from a co-operating ship or helicopter is also possible.
The excellent capabilities of the new missile (short reaction time, Fire and Forget, INS/GPS navigation, high target selection, ECCM and anti-CIWS manoeuvres, warhead lethality with no collateral damage) allow the system to operate effectively in littoral warfare environments, as well as in blue waters. The terminal attack phase is based upon an autonomous terminal guidance using an active homing head with improved target selection capabilities in complex scenarios. Source mbda-systems.com
Passive protection for the vessel will be provided by OTO Melara Decoy Launching System (ODLS) remote-control launching system, which is effective against infrared seeker-equipped missiles and radars as well as anti-submarine warfare decoys.
Decoy Launching System (ODLS)
The Decoy Launching System (ODLS) is a remote controlled system suitable for launching different types of multipurpose ammunition. Special versions can fire rockets of caliber other than 105-mm – 118-mm which represents the standard size. The ODLS is designed for accurate deployment of decoys, thus providing passive defence for a ship against radar and IR homing missiles and can also be employed in shore bombardment role.
- Capability to simultaneously load different types of rockets (Chaff, IR, Illuminating);
- Automatic selection of the type of rocket to be fired;
- Continuous engagement action thanks to rapid reloading of launching units;
- Complete automatic control by the ship s EWS;
- Safe operation under all operational conditions;
- No deck penetration.
Elettronica’s electronic warfare system will be used to provide self-protection for the ship.
Navigation and communications
The vessel’s navigation and combat system operations will be performed by the crew members from the bridge using a combat management system, which integrates weapons, sensors and other units aboard the ship.
A number of sensors will be installed to ensure safe operation of the boat at sea. They include next-generation identification friend and foe (IFF) sensor with a circular antenna, infrared sensor, diver detection sonar, active towed array sonar system, NA30S MK2 weapon control system based on a multi-sensor fire control radar (X and Ka), LPI SPS732 air and ground surveillance radar, and KRONOS dual-band 3D multi-function active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar with four C- and X-dual band radars.
NA30S MK2 weapon control system
NA-30S MK2 is a new generation Weapon Control System designed to control modern guns (up to three) against conventional and asymmetric air/surface threats with a reduced reaction time.
NA-30S MK2 is based on a dual-band (X and Ka) naval tracking radar with a stealth antenna design which combines high tracking accuracies with improved range performance. Both X and Ka bands are processed in order to optimise tracking performance according to the targets.
For search and acquisition purposes, medium-to-long range detection and tracking, and reliable processing in adverse weather conditions.
For close in targets, low flying threats, need for increased accuracies, and DART ammunition guidance.
The Ka band, with its very narrow beam width, is optimally suited for measuring targets at low-elevation, without suffering from multi-path interference.
NA-30S MK2 provides gun control and ammunition guidance. The system can be provided with a dedicated multifunction console or can be controlled by any console within the Combat Management System (CMS).
The Weapon Control System automatically selects the optimum ammunition and firing patterns according to the tracked threats. A set of combined sensors (TVcamera, IR cameras and laser) can be mounted on the radar antenna to enable firing assessment and to provide either an alternative or redundant line-of-sight. Source leonardocompany.com
LPI SPS732 air and ground surveillance radar
SPS-732 is a compact X-band air/surface surveillance naval radar with fully coherent solid state technology and Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) capability. SPS-732 is built upon experience in designing and delivering naval surveillance radars to the most demanding Navies. It performs bi-dimensional surface and air target detection in all weather conditions and features track-while-scan with automatic track initialisation. Short reaction time combined with small target detection allow sea-skimmer threat detection and designation.
The solid state fully coherent 2D X-band air/surface surveillance SPS-732 family combines typical features of naval radars belonging to different class in one radar series.
The SPS-732 radar family offers superior performance for any ship class, including Landing
Craft, Offshore Patrol Vessels, Large Support Ships and Corvettes/Frigates. On board of medium/large-size vessels, the SPS-732 middle and highend version are a valuable, higher performance/price ratio alternative to 3D radars even against high threating targets like sea-skimming missiles in all sea and weather conditions. Source leonardocompany.com
KRONOS dual-band 3D multi-function AESA radar
KRONOS® Power Shield is an early warning AESA radar for Anti Tactical Ballistic Missile (ATBM) guidance and Air Breathing Threat (ABT) defence. It is designed for naval application and is able to operate in both a rotating and staring mode.
The AESA fixed panels are coordinated by the system manager to minimize electromagnetic interferences and to allow the most effective coverage of the entire 360° x 90° surveillance volume.
To each task is associated a specific radiated waveform, time of execution and frequency for each direction of the surveillance volume. Scheduling /Prioritization and Task Execution are key blocks of the system architecture:
Scheduling and Prioritization set the sequence of tasks to be executed by each panel. Task Execution manages the physical implementation of all microevents (e.g. transmit/receive modules programming, gate enabling, etc.) which make up the task itself.
All functions operate typically on a time scale of seconds, except Scheduling and Prioritization which operate on a msec time scale and Task Execution
which operates on a nsec base.
Multiple non-rotating optical heads will be fitted on the four sides of the ship to provide 360° surveillance. Target detection and tracking will be performed by a static IRST (infrared search and track) system. A bathythermograph unit will be used for measuring the water temperature.
Communication for the boat will be provided by integrated communications systems including multi-band satellite systems, software-defined radios and long-range acoustic devices (LRAD).
PPA-class OPVs propulsion and performance
The PPA-class will be powered by a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion system consisting of two MTU 20V 8000 M91L engines, each developing 10,000kW of power, and one GE LM2500+G4 gas turbine with a capacity of 35,320kW.
2 x MTU 20V 8000 M91L engines
1 x GE LM2500+G4 gas turbine
LM2500+G4 is the fourth generation of the industry-leading LM2500. Main features are increased power (17%) compared to the third generation LM2500+, and the same high reliability, availability and the same high efficiency (lower SFC).
The LM2500+G4 system’s modular design provides for easy and timely repair and refurbishment, with its split compressor casing, in-place blade and vane replacement, in-place hot-section maintenance and external fuel nozzles. The LM2500+G4 is ideal for the Italian, French and Moroccan FREMM frigates and other military ships, and is available as a generator set.
|Output||47,370 shp (35,320 kW)|
|SFC||.352 lb/shp-hr (214 g/kW-hr)|
|Heat rate||6,469 Btu/shp-hr
|Exhaust gas flow||205 lb/sec (93 kg/sec)|
|Exhaust gas temperature||1,020°F (549°C)|
|Power turbine speed||3600 rpm|
|Average performance, 60 Hertz, 59°F, sea level, 60% relative humidity, no inlet/exhaust losses|
The vessel will also feature four MAN 12V175D GenSets, each rated at 1,640kW, and two shafts, driving controllable-pitch propellers.
Driven by GE’s shock-proof MV3000 drives, the small gearbox-mounted electric motors will be installed to drive the ship at low speeds, while generating power for the onboard sensors and weapons.
The offshore patrol vessel can achieve a maximum speed of more than 32kt and a range of 5,000nm. The MTU diesel engines alone allow the vessel to sail at speeds of 24kt.
Sensors and weapon systems for the PPA multi-role offshore patrol vessels will be supplied by MBDA, OTO Melara, Elettronica, and WASS.
Leonardo’s subsidiary Selex is responsible for providing combat management system for the vessels. The company will develop a bridge system in co-operation with Fincantieri. In addition, Selex will provide assistance for subsystems such as sensors and weapons.
GE’s Marine Solutions was selected to supply seven LM2500+G4 gas turbines in March 2016. The turbines will be developed by Avio Aero in Italy, while GE Power Conversion will produce drives.
Rolls-Royce won a contract in October 2016 to provide 14 MTU 20V 8000 M91L engines for seven PPA vessels, with deliveries scheduled to commence in 2017.
Main material source naval-technology.com
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