The Italian Navy has followed up on its dual-use design for new multifunctional ships with a fresh design for its new landing helicopter dock (LHD) that officials say pushes the service’s civil-military ethos even further.
After signing contracts with Italian industry in May for six multifunctional or so-called PPA vessels, the Navy signed a €1.1 billion (US $1.2 billion) deal earlier this month for its new LHD, a 25-knot, 200-meter-long vessel that will enter service around 2022.
A senior Navy official said dual civil-military use was the “driving concept” in the design of the new ship, as well as interoperability, reflecting Navy chief Giuseppe de Giorgi’s desire to build a new generation of ships that can handle disaster relief as well as war fighting.
The biggest qualification for dual use is the on-board hospital, which will cover 700 square meters — as large as the one on Italy’s Cavour aircraft carrier and six times as large as the hospitals on the Navy’s three current landing platform dock vessels.
Designed to meet NATO’s Role 2 (Enhanced) level, the hospital will offer an intensive care ward, a surgery and 50 beds, the Navy official said. If the ship is able to dock in a disaster area, it is designed to provide power, as well as water from its desalination system, for a community of 6,000 people,.