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Leonardo on the Landing Helicopter Dock of the Italian Military Navy

Issue 93

The Italian Navy’s new landing helicopter dock (LHD) Trieste was launched at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia shipyard on 25 May. The new LHD, which features dual-use capabilities for a wide range of military and humanitarian missions. The vessel will be delivered in 2022.

The Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) is a new multi-role amphibious naval unit of the Italian Military Navy for which Leonardo has provided the core sensors and systems. 

With a displacement of around 25,000 tonnes, the vessel enables amphibious operations to be conducted at long range in the “enlarged Mediterranean”. The vessel can perform in a number of contexts with multi-national forces (joint or combined) such as crisis response operations as part of NATO, EU or multi-national coalitions. The LHD will be able to evacuate non-combatants from foreign territories as part of national or international initiatives, humanitarian operations and in the event of disasters, with the ability to coordinate and monitor relief efforts in collaboration with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). 

For the LHD, Leonardo will provide its open architecture Combat Management System, which is modular and reconfigurable and so ready to accept systems that the customer may wish to install in future as needs arise. Leonardo will also equip the LHD with a helicopter approach radar system, a multi-sensor fire control radar (X and Ka Band), a new multifunctional Active Electronically Scanned Array radar with four fixed-face arrays operating in the X-band and a rotating L-band radar for long-range surveillance), Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) sensors and, as with the PPA vessels, the innovative new ‘static InfraRed Search and Track (IRST)’ sensor. 

The LHD’s integrated communications system will include multi-band satellite systems, the new Software Defined Radio (SDR) and an integrated navigation system. 

The main armament of the LHD will be a Leonardo 76/62 Super Rapid Multi-Feeding Strales gun. The 76/62 gun is equipped with a radar antenna, which can guide projectiles with a precise beam of radio frequency. This allows the vessel to fire DART ammunition (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time-of-flight) very accurately, reducing the risk of collateral damage. The speed of the DART projectiles, combined with their guided capabilities, allows the 76/62 system to counter fast-moving threats whether they be traditional or asymmetrical. 

As with the PPA in its “full” configuration, the LHD will be equipped with the Leonardo ODLS 20 decoy launching system as well as the Black Snake towed array sonar and countermeasures, a lightweight and autonomous system for anti-torpedo defence. Leonardo will also provide the vessel’s Obstacle Avoidance Sonar, BathyTermograph unit and Diver Detection Sonar. 

Finally, the LHD will be ‘fitted for’ potential future air-defence missile systems by MBDA.