Italian Navy Launches Advanced FREMM Frigate Emilio Bianchi for 2025 Delivery

World Defense

Italian Navy Launches Advanced FREMM Frigate Emilio Bianchi for 2025 Delivery

Italy's Navy launches the FREMM frigate "Emilio Bianchi," marking a key milestone in its naval fleet renewal. The vessel, featuring advanced ASW and ASuW capabilities, will be delivered in summer 2025.

The Italian Navy recently celebrated the launch of the FREMM frigate "Emilio Bianchi" at the Muggiano shipyard in La Spezia. The ceremony was attended by numerous dignitaries, including Chief of Staff of the Navy Admiral Enrico Credendino, President of Fincantieri General Claudio Graziano, and General Director of the Fincantieri Military Ships Division Dario Deste. Mrs. Maria Elisabetta Bianchi, daughter of Gold Medal for Military Valor Emilio Bianchi, served as the godmother of the launch.

The event also saw participation from the President of the Regional Council Gianmarco Medusei, Director of the Joint Organization for Armaments Cooperation (OCCAR) Joachim Sucker, and various civil and military authorities. Following its launch, the "Emilio Bianchi" will undergo outfitting activities at the Muggiano shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in the summer of 2025.

The "Emilio Bianchi" is a multi-mission European frigate (FREMM) known for its high operational flexibility. The ship measures 144 meters in length, 19.7 meters in width, and has a full load displacement of approximately 6,700 tons. It can reach speeds exceeding 27 knots and accommodate around 200 personnel. Like other FREMMs, it is designed to operate in various tactical situations.

FREMM is a significant joint initiative developed by European defense industries, reflecting the cutting-edge of Italian and European naval defense technology. The program aims to renew the Italian Navy's fleet, replacing older units such as the “Lupo” and “Maestrale” classes built by Fincantieri in the 1970s and 1980s.

The FREMM program has seen the successful delivery of several vessels: "Carlo Bergamini" (2012), "Virginio Fasan" (2013), "Carlo Margottini" (2014), "Carabiniere" (2015), "Alpino" (2016), "Luigi Rizzo" (2017), "Federico Martinengo" (2018), and "Antonio Marceglia" (2019). The "Spartaco Schergat," launched in November 2023, is currently in the final preparation phase with delivery expected in April 2025.

The final two FREMMs, "Spartaco Schergat" (F 598) and "Emilio Bianchi" (F 589), feature a new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) hybrid configuration. This new setup is designed to enhance the Italian Navy’s ASW capabilities. The steel cutting ceremonies for these ships were held in February 2021 and October 2021, respectively. The "Spartaco Schergat" is expected to start sea trials in the second quarter of 2024, with delivery slated for the second quarter of 2025.

The addition of these hybrid-configured FREMMs will increase the Italian Navy’s ASW escort fleet from four to six ships. This expansion sets the stage for the development of the new FREMM EVO (Evolved) platforms. The Italian Ministry of Defense’s multi-year defense planning document (DPP 2023-2025) includes plans for at least two of these advanced ships.

The FREMM program is based on an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed between India and the former Soviet Union in November 1988, supplemented by a later agreement in 1998. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), which employs VVER-1000 type reactors, is an example of the collaboration between Russia and India. The Proryv project aims to revolutionize nuclear energy by creating a closed nuclear fuel cycle, significantly reducing radioactive waste.

India aims to expand its nuclear power capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032 from the current 6,780 MW. Collaborations with international partners, such as Russia, are crucial in achieving this goal. The continued development and expansion of nuclear energy projects like Kudankulam are vital for India’s energy future, providing a reliable and clean source of power to meet the country’s growing energy needs.

These developments highlight the growing strategic partnership between Italy and its international partners, emphasizing the importance of advanced technology and cooperation in enhancing national defense and energy security.

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