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Italian Navy to launch its submarine rescue vessel with Fincantieri

From 2018, Italy had discussed its Special and Diving Operations - Submarine Rescue Ship (SDO-SuRS) programme for which an amount of € 424 million ($US 480 million) has been unblocked. This year, this acquisition programme is to be launched by the Naval Armament Directorate of the Italian MoD.

Italian Navy to launch its submarine rescue vessel programme USSP ship design (Picture source : Fincantieri)

This programme, which began in 2010, is to replace the ageing rescue ship Anteo in the near future by a brand new multirole submarine rescue vessel providing space for 200 people.

This new ship, built by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, is a multipurpose submarine rescue vessel (Unità Supporto Subacqueo Polivalente - USSP in Italian) which will be able to accomplish different missions.

These missions include submarine rescue (through a deployable Submarine Rescue System - SRS - embarked on the weather deck), diving support (through an organic saturation system - SAT - including two hyperbaric chambers, one transfer under pressure system, one hyperbaric boat and one working bell), hydro-oceanographic activities (specific sensors and hardware, including echo-sounder, doppler log, sub bottom profiler, acoustic doppler current profiler, ...) and also Navy Seals support (through hosting and deploying them and their relevant equipment).

This ship is scheduled to be equipped with a wide range of sensors, including 2 high precision acoustic positioning, 1 single beam echo-sound, 3 multi beam echo-sound, an underwater telephone, etc... It will also accomodate some deployable equipment such as a McCann rescue chamber, an Atmospheric Diving Suit (ADS), 3 Remotely Operated Vehicles (1 ROV working down to 3,000m depth, 1 ROV watching down to 3,000m depth and 1 ROV light working down to 1,000m depth) and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV going down to 3,000m depth).

This suite that has been mounted on the USSP will permit it to take over a lot of situations related to submarines being in troubles. Therefore, in the future, we could hope to see less casualties during submarine rescue missions.