The Spartaco Schergat (F 598) frigate, the first of two new Multi-Mission European Frigates (FREMM) being built by Fincantieri for the Italian Navy under commission within the framework of the Italian-French international cooperation programme managed by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement), the joint organization for cooperation in armaments, was technically launched at the Italian shipbuilder’s Riva Trigoso (Genoa) integrated shipyard on 24 November
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, admiral Giuseppe Berutti Bergotto who highlighted the importance of the capabilities, flexibility and availability being demonstrated every day in operations by the Italian Navy’s FREMMs, the backbone of the service’s surface fleet. General Joachim Sucker, Director of OCCAR stressed the success of the joint French-Italian FREMM programme managed by his organization with ten ships currently being delivered to the Marina Militare and eight already handed over to the Marine Nationale, in addition to international success. He was echoed by General Claudio Graziano, Chairman of Fincantieri, who highlighted the success of the FREMM design and its continuous development with both the two new platforms and the future FREMM Evo (Evolved) which are being developed by the Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (OSN), the joint-venture between Fincantieri (51%) and Leonardo (49%) under the Italian MoD’s General Directorate of Naval Armaments (NAVARM) and OCCAR supervision and contribution.
Under procurement by NAVARM to replace the two FREMM GP (General Purpose) sold to Egypt by Fincantieri, the Spartaco Schergat together with its future twin Emilio Bianchi, were contracted at OSN and steel cut celebrated respectively in February and October 2021. After its launch, the Spartaco Schergat is being transferred to the Muggiano shipyard (La Spezia) for final fitting-out and trials, trial at-sea planned to begin within Q2/2024, before being delivered to the Italian Navy in Q2/2025.
The two FREMMs come in a new configuration which combines the hull and superstructures design and mission suite of the GP (General Purpose) Italian Navy’s FREMMs with the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) suite and capabilities of the same service’s ASW-configured frigates of the same type, together with the replacement and/or enhancements to onboard systems to keep them lasting the lifespan of new frigates, such as an evolution to the latest configuration of the ship management system (SMS) by Fincantieri NexTech.
The new frigates feature the same command and combat suite of the GP FREMMs , centred on the Leonardo SADOC 3 combat management system together with the same sensor package of the latest FREMMs, in addition to the full ASW suite of in-service platforms including a hull-mounted sonar and CAPTAS-4 towed suite by Thales. The introduction of the latter system will replace the stern launch and recovery station for the main RHIB, maintaining the two davit-operated stations on the ship sides.
The new frigates will introduce the latest generation integrated electronic warfare suite (IEWS) including RESM/CESM and RECM, requiring modifications to the secondary mast, alongside the latest communication suite already installed on board the PPAs (Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura) and LHD. The armaments package will be the same of in-service GP-configured frigates, with the MBDA Italia SAAM ESD surface-to-air missile defence system based on the Aster weapon family and Leonardo Kronos Grand Naval 3D multifunction radar, the 127/64 mm LightWeight main gun and the 76/62 mm Super Rapido in the Strales configuration, plus the two 25 mm remote controlled weapon systems by Leonardo, alongside the launchers for the MBDA Italian Teseo family of anti-ship/land attack missiles and torpedo launchers.
Photos by L. Peruzzi