The Italian aircraft carrier ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551) and the Turkish frigate TCG Gediz (F 495) steam through the Atlantic Ocean while participating in Majestic Eagle 2004. Majestic Eagle is a multinational exercise being conducted off the coast of Morocco. The exercise demonstrates the combined force capabilities and quick response times of the participating naval, air, undersea and surface warfare groups. Countries involved in the NATO led exercise include the United Kingdom, Morocco, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. Truman’s participation in Majestic Eagle is part of her scheduled deployment supporting the Navy’s new fleet response plan (FRP) Summer Pulse 2004, the simultaneous deployment of seven carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat across the globe, in five theaters with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces.
The Italian Navy contemplated overhauling and completing its salvaged carrier Aquila after World War II but abandoned the project because of its cost. Nevertheless, the navy continued its interest in taking aircraft to sea, since many naval officers attributed the fleet’s defeats during the war to a lack of integral aviation. During the 1960s this interest finally manifested itself in the commissioning of three helicopter cruisers, two ships of the Doria class and the much more satisfactory Vittorio Veneto. When it became time to start planning for replacing the two earlier ships, the navy decided essentially to combine the aviation facilities of the Doria class cruisers into a single ship and designed a small helicopter carrier that entered service as the Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1985. Although the carrier was intended to embark only antisubmarine helicopters, in 1992 the navy was able to have repealed a long-standing law prohibiting it from operating combat aircraft from ships. This allowed the Giuseppe Garibaldi to operate either helicopters or VSTOL Harriers, or a mixed air group, and endowed the navy with a much enhanced strike potential within the Mediterranean Sea.
Builder: Italcantieri, Trieste
Laid down: March 26, 1981.
Launched: June 6, 1983.
Commissioned: September 30, 1985
Displacement: 10,100 tons (standard) 13,850 tons (full load)
Dimensions: 590’6″ (oa) x 77’1″ x 22’0″(mean)
Flight deck: 570’10” x 99’9″
Machinery: 4 General Electric-Fiat LM-2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp = 29.5 knots
Range: 7,000 nm @ 20 knots
Aircraft: 16 Armament: 4 x Teseo SSM, 2 x 8-round Albatros SAM launchers, 2 x twin 40mm AA, 2 x triple 12.75″ ASW torpedo tubes
Design: Primarily intended for anti-submarine warfare but subsequently fitted to operate Harrier VTOL aircraft for air defense and strike operations. The hangar is 361 feet long, 49 feet wide, and 20 feet high. There are two elevators and the flight deck has a slightly rising sheer forward that forms a partial ski-jump for Harrier operations. To assist flight operations in heavy weather, there are two pairs of fin stabilizers. The radar suite comprises SPN-748 navigation, SPN- 702 surface search, SPS-768 air early warning, SPS-774 air search, SPS- 52D three-dimensional air search, three each of SPG-74 gun and SPG- 75 missile fire control, and an SPN- 728 carrier controlled approach set.
Modifications: The Mk. 1 SSM launchers were replaced by Mk. 2 launchers in 1987, doubling their capacity. A Marconi DAPS (deck approach landing sight) landing aid was added in 1994.
Service: The Giuseppe Garibaldi serves as the flagship of the Italian fleet.