The Durand De La Penne Class destroyers were built by Fincantieri for the Italian Navy. The keel of the first-of-class ship, MM Luigi Durand De La Penne (D560), was laid in 1988 and was launched in October 1989. The keel for the second, MM Francesco Mimbelli (D561), was laid in 1989 and launched in April 1991. The D560 and D561 were commissioned in March 1993 and October 1993 respectively. The Italian Navy initially planned to procure four ships but the second pair was cancelled as it joined the Horizon Project. The ships were constructed at Fincantieri’s Riva Trigoso shipyard.
The Durand De La Penne destroyers are 5,000t multi-role warships able to perform anti-air defence for protecting task forces and convoys, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare operations, assistance during landing operations and coastal bombardment.
COMMAND AND CONTROL
The IPN 20 command and control system, supplied by Alenia Marconi Systems (now Selex Sistemi Integrati), gathers information from the ship’s sensors, and communications and data networks in order to compile, maintain and display the tactical situation. The Elmer communication system is integrated with a satellite communications system with Link 11 and Link 14.
The NA 30 (Dardo E) weapon control system is supplied by Selex Sistemi Integrati. NA 30 includes an infrared camera and laser rangefinder, as well as the Selex RTN 30X fire control radar.
The ship’s surface-to-surface missile system is the MBDA (formerly Alenia) OTOMAT Mk2. Four twin launchers are installed on the missile deck amid-ship between the two radar masts. The missile uses mid-course guidance and active radar homing to approach the target at high subsonic speed in sea-skimming mode to deliver a 210kg warhead to a range of 140km.
The vessels were fitted with an upgraded Otomat missile, the MBDA Teseo Mk 2/A. The Italian Navy awarded a production contract for the missile in August 2006.
The Albatros Mk 2 medium-range surface-to-air missile system is supplied by MBDA (Alenia) of Rome. It is installed on the gun deck immediately behind the ship’s main gun. The Albatros system employs the semi-active Aspide missile to provide the ship with point defence. The range is 15km.
The ship is also equipped with the Raytheon Standard Missile SM-2MR Tartar GMLS Mk 13 missile system for defence against medium-range airborne targets. The SM-2MR has semi-active radar guidance and a range of 70km. The ships are fitted with the MBDA MILAS anti-submarine missile system.
The ship’s main gun, the Oto Melara 127mm 54-calibre gun, fires 32kg rounds to a range of more than 15km. The maximum firing rate is 45 rounds a minute. Three Oto Melara 76mm 62-calibre Super Rapide guns are installed, which fire 6kg shells to a range of 15km at a rate of 120 rounds a minute.
The ship is armed with two B515 torpedo launch systems by Whitehead Alenia. Each B515 is a triple launch tube system.
The Durand de la Penne class has been fitted with the Eurotorp MU90 Impact torpedo along with the MILAS ASW rocket system in 2002. Eurotorp is a consortium formed by Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS), DCN and Thales. MU90 has a directed energy warhead and a range of 12,000m at maximum speed and 25,000m at minimum speed. The torpedo is also in service with the Italian Navy.
The ship is equipped with a helicopter deck and a hangar with facilities for two helicopters such as the Agusta Bell AB 212, the Sea King SH-3D or the EH-101.
The ship’s countermeasures systems include the Sagem Défense Sécurité (formerly EADS Defence & Electronics) Sagaie rocket launch system for firing chaff, SLQ-25 Nixie anti-torpedo system, and the SLQ-732 Nettuno radar warning receiver and jammer supplied by Elettronica.
The ship’s radar suite includes: Raytheon SPS-52C E-band long-range three-dimensional air search radar; Selex MM/SPS-774 (RAN 10S) F-band air search and surface search radar; Selex MM/SPS-768 D-band air search radar; Selex (formerly Galileo Avionica) MM/SPS-702 I-band surface search radar; four Selex fire control radars for the NA 30 operating at I and J band; two Raytheon AN/SPG-51D fire control radars for the surface-to-air missiles, operating at G and I bands; and Selex MM/SPN-748 navigation radar operating at I band.
The ship is equipped with the Raytheon DE 1167 medium frequency hull-mounted active search and attack sonar and the DE 1167 Variable Depth Sonar (VDS).
The ship’s propulsion system is based on a Combined Diesel Or Gas (CODOG) arrangement. The two gas turbine engines, the Fiat/GE LM 2500 GT provide a sustained power of 40.3MW. The diesel engines, GMT BL 230.20 DVM are rated at a sustained power level of 9.3MW each.
Units: Luigi Durand De La Penne (former Animoso), Francesco Mimbelli (former Ardimentoso)
Type and significance: Currently these ships are the newest guided missile destroyers of the Italian Navy.
Dates of construction: Luigi Durand De La Penne (former Animoso) was laid down in 1988 and commissioned in 1993. Francesco Mimbelli (former Ardimentoso) was laid down in 1991 and was ready for service in 1993 also.
Hull dimensions: 487’5″ x 52’10″ x 28’2″
Displacement: 4,330 tons
Armor: Kevlar armor over vital areas.
Armament: One 5″ gun mounted in the bow, three 3″ guns with one being mounted astern amidships and one each being placed on the sides, eight Ottomat SSM, one Standard SAM system, six 12.6″ torpedo tubes, and two helicopters.
Machinery: Combined diesel and gas machinery capable of 54,000 horsepower.
Speed: 31 knots
Summary: These destroyers are in active service and rank as two of the best surface combatants of the Italian Navy.