Horizon MLU: Italian configuration and common equipment

Luca Peruzzi

Delivered respectively in 2007 and 2009, the two Italian Navy Horizon-class ship will soon start their MLU (Mid-Life Update), the programme including common equipment with the French Navy sister units as well as a series of upgrades concerning only to the Italian configuration

Last 28 July, the OCCAR agency has awarded a € 1,5 billion contract to Naviris JV (between Fincantieri and Naval Group) and Eurosam (MBDA France, MBDA Italia and Thales) co-contractors joint-ventures for the MLU programme of the four Horizon/Orizzonte class AAW (Anti-Air Warfare) platforms in service with the Italian and French Navies.

The Horizon MLU regards the platform and its systems, the combat system and the weapons package. With the submission of the industrial proposal by Naviris and Eurosam as future co-contractors in October 2022, during Euronaval, it became evident that once the Horizon MLU will be completed the two nation’s ships would have different configurations. The first official confirmation came after the signature of the MoU between the two nation’s procurement agencies for the Horizon MLU launch at the Paris Air Show last June. A DGA tweet commenting the event specified that the cooperation regards in particular the Principal Anti-Air Missile System & Long-Range Radar (PAAMS & LRR) and the Electronic Warfare (EW) systems. EDR On-Line understood the different configuration for the ships of the two navies is justified not only by reduced budget and programme tight time schedule, but also commonality of systems with the entry-into-service or under construction platforms of the Marina Militare and Marine Nationale. The selection of systems already developed and/or procured for present and future assets of the two fleets allows both services to gain benefits in terms of procurement, maintenance and logistics costs, especially for a mid-life upgrade. EDR On-Line was able to obtain more data regarding the configuration of the two platforms for the Italian Navy and the new common PAAMS & LRR and EW suites.

For a better reading we split the article in four sections that can be found hereafter

Photo courtesy Italian Navy

Horizon MLU: programme history and achievements

Horizon MLU: Italian configuration platforms renewal

Horizon MLU: Bridge, Combat system and Inner-Layer Defence upgrade

Horizon MLU: the PAAMS & LRR and the EW suite