Italy approves build work for third U212 NFS submarine

ITN SSK 3 ambientata
An artist’s rendering of the Italian Navy’s U212 NFS SSK. Italy’s Parliament has approved build of boat three.

Italy’s parliament has approved construction of boat three in the Italian Navy’s (ITN’s) four-boat U212 NFS (Near Future Submarine) diesel-electric submarine (SSK) class.

In a media statement released on 31 May, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri – design authority and prime contractor for the four SSKs – stated that the construction plan for the third boat “will now follow the standard administrative procedure”.

The four U212 NFS submarines are being built in two batches of two boats.

The first two boats (U212 NFS NR.1 and NR.2) were placed on contract in 2021. The keel for NR.1 was laid in January 2022. In its statement, Fincantieri noted that steel cutting on NR.2 is scheduled for 6 June 2023. These two boats are scheduled for delivery in 2027 and 2029, respectively.

The batch two boats, U212 NFS NR.3 (the boat now approved for build) and NR.4, are set to be delivered in 2030 and 2031, respectively.

Build and delivery of the four SSKs is being led by the Organization for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR).

The U212 NFS boats’ design and capabilities are drawing on technologically advanced componentry developed by Italian industry. The statement added that the boats will be highly innovative, developing some significant new design elements to meet the ITN’s operational requirements.

Under the U212 NFS programme, a training centre will be established to support development of the new boats’ capabilities.

To maintain an eight-boat force level for the ITN, the four new submarines will be deployed alongside the in-service Type 212A Todaro-class SSKs, which were commissioned between 2006 and 2017.

“The submarine is a unique strategic and industrial asset, combining shipbuilding and its highest standards with the underwater [domain], a sector in which crucial games will be played,” Pierroberto Folgiero, Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, said in the statement. In this context, the statement highlighted the operational requirement for submarines to develop underwater surveillance and command-and-control capacity, set against complex future underwater operational scenarios.

by Dr. Lee Willett, London