Italy Submarine Capabilities

Improved Sauro (Final Pair also Longobardo-class) Submarine  

Based at La Spezia and Taranto, the Italian Navy currently operates a submarine flotilla comprised of one diesel-electric Sauro-class (Type 1081) submarine, four improved Sauro-class vessels, and two new Type 212A Todaro-class units. The four improved Sauro-class boats that are currently in service—built by Fincantieri in Monfalcone—include: Salvatore Pelosi S 522, Giuliano Prini S 523, Primo Longobardo S 524 and Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia S 525. [1] In 2004, an upgrade was completed on these four vessels which involved replacing their acoustic sensors, weapons control system and communications, and extending their service lives to 2018-2022. [2] In addition to the four improved Sauro-class submarines, one of the older Sauros, the Leonardo Da Vinci S 520, is also still in operation but for trial purposes only. The other three vessels from this class—Nazario Sauro, Guglielmo Marconi, and Fecia di Cossato—were decommissioned in 2001, 2002 and 2004 respectively. [3]

Submarine Tables for Italy

Italy is gradually replacing the Sauro-class units with new Type 212A Todaro-class submarines. These vessels contain a fuel cell Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that is based on the Siemens PEM fuel cell technology. [4] The first Type 212A vessel, Salvatore Todaro S 526l, was commissioned in January 2005 and entered into service in May 2006. [5] The second boat in this class, Scirè S 527, was commissioned in January 2007 and entered into service in 2008. [6] Two additional Type 212A vessels were ordered in August 2008. The first, the Pietro Venuti, is slated to enter service in December 2015. The other vessel, the Romeo Romei, started sea trials in mid-July 2015 while its delivery is planned for September 2016. [7] Italy's Type 212A boats are being built by Fincantieri in cooperation with Germany's HDW based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian and German defense ministries. The submarines are being manufactured on the basis of German designs and the boats' equipment is similar to that of the German Type 212s but they will use different torpedoes and electro-optic masts. The vessels have also been adapted to operate in the Mediterranean's warmer waters.

The role of Italy's submarine force includes anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare as well as surveillance, intelligence gathering, and task group support. Like other European navies, the Italian Navy is increasingly involved in joint operations. [8] Its primary areas of strategic interest are the Euro-Atlantic region and the Mediterranean Sea, with particular concern for the security of its sea lines of communication in the Adriatic Sea, Northern Africa, the Red Sea and Horn of Africa, and the Black Sea. The Italian Navy is also employed to counter transnational organized crime, such as the illegal trafficking of goods and people, which have increased in the region due to civil unrest in countries bordering the Adriatic.

[1] "Submarine forces: Italy," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 5 July 2011.
[2] "Submarine forces: Italy," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 5 July 2011; "Piano di dismissioni Unita navali entro il 2025," Marina Difesa,
[3] Stephen Saunders, Jane's Fighting Ships: 2002-2003 (Coulsdon, Jane's Information Group, 2002), pp. 353-354; Interview with Captain Ermengildo Ugazzi, Commander Submarine Flotilla, "Submarines today: flotilla commanders comment," Naval Forces, 1999, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 40-46; in ProQuest Information and Learning Company,
[4] "Submarine forces: Italy," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 5 July 2011.
[5] Luca Peruzzi, "Italy takes delivery of first Type 212A submarine," Jane's Navy International, 1 May 2006.
[6] "U212, U214 Attack Submarines, Germany," Naval-Technology,
[7] Andy Nativi, "Italy Orders Two More Submarines," Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, 12 August 2008,; "Italy Building Third AIP Sub," Defense Technology International, 1 February 2010,
[8] Interview with Captain Ermengildo Ugazzi, Commander Submarine Flotilla, "Submarines today: flotilla commanders comment," Naval Forces, 1999, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 40-46, in ProQuest Information and Learning Company,

September 30, 2015
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