29.09.2009

Cavour aircraft carrier


Cavour and the Navy

A single Italian naval organisation was created on 17 November 1860 by the unification of the Sardinian, Bourbon, Sicilian, Tuscan and Papal navies, changing its name to the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) when the Kingdom of Italy was established on 17 March 1861. "I want ships that can serve the entire Mediterranean, carrying the most powerful artillery, travelling at top speeds and containing large quantities of fuel," said Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, Prime Minister and Minister of the Navy, the day after the creation of the new Navy Ministry.
Cavour's naval career had begun 11 years earlier when, in the Kingdom of Sardinia, he had become head of the departments of Agriculture, Trade and the Navy, the latter having been separated from the War Ministry in October 1850.
Cavour showed great determination as soon as he became involved in naval affairs: "I will put all my efforts and whatever parliamentary influence I can achieve into ensuring that the organisation of our Navy meets the needs of the country."
The newly created Kingdom of Italy boasted a Navy with a large number of boats thanks to the sum of the pre-unification fleets. However, it would take more than that to build a truly unified Navy in both an operational and spiritual sense. No-one knew this better than Cavour.
The statesman immediately set about an extensive programme. First of all, he dissolved the naval ministries of Naples and Sicily and reorganised all civilian and military staff. Then he divided up the long Italian coastline into three departments (Genoa, Naples, Ancona) and funded a modern arsenal construction programme at La Spezia, which he turned into a first-class naval base.
The first directives issued by the Count underlined the Mediterranean leanings of his policies. This was also against a background of increasing importance for the basin which, with the opening of the Suez Canal (on 17 November 1869), was becoming a short cut to the Indias and the centre of naval interest on a global scale. What was achieved in terms of naval construction on the back of the post-unification directives issued by the statesman was known as the Cavour Programme. A programme that would outlive its creator, who died on 6 June 1861 at just 51 years of age.
Cavour realised that technological developments demanded modern construction criteria for the new ships, but also that these innovations were not ready because such developments had only just got underway at Italian shipyards.
The smaller ships of the "Armata Navale" - as the fleet was known in those days - were set up in the national shipyards: the second-class battleships Principe di Carignano, Messina, Roma, Venezia, Conte Verde, all with wooden hulls. The two first-class battleships, the Re d'Italia and the Re di Portogallo, were commissioned in the United States. The battleships Ancona, Castelfidardo, Maria Pia and San Martino, the corvettes Formidabile and Terribile and the gunboats Palestro and Varese were built at the French shipyards.
The Affondatore battleship, one of the first tower ships in naval history, was ordered in England.
That is how Cavour played a fundamental role in the birth of the Italian Navy.

The Cavour Ship: name and history
War ships are good symbols of the most noble values of a nation, capable of representing and displaying them at any time. Their names are important means of communication, summarising their content and spreading it beyond military circles.
After the name assigned to the Garibaldi ship, with the aim of promoting the homeland, it was decided to name the new aircraft carrier after another major founder of the unified Italy, Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, whose commitment and work are a perfect complement to the undertakings of Garibaldi.
This is how the Navy's largest ships came to bear the names of Italy's founding fathers with pride.
The Cavour aircraft carrier is the latest Navy ship to bear the name of the illustrious statesman.

The Conte di Cavour battleship, launched in 1911 and reconstructed between 1933 and 1937, featured in the Second World War and, after coming under attack at the Battle of Taranto in November 1940, it was restored in Trieste in 1941; it remained in service until 1947.
Construction of the current aircraft carrier began in the Riva Trigoso shipyard on 17 July 2001; because of its size, the ship was built in two separate parts that were then joined together. The bow was built at the Muggiano shipyards and the stern at Riva Trigoso. The main ship was launched on 20 July 2004 at the Genoa naval shipyard in the presence of President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The platform was then assembled at Muggiano.
The aircraft carrier was delivered to the Italian Navy on 27 March 2008.

Main specifications (2004)
Shipyards: FINCANTIERI - Muggiano and Riva Trigoso
Start of construction: 17 July 2001
Displacement: 27,500 t
Overall dimensions: 244 x 40 m
Flight deck dimensions: 220 x 34 m
Immersion: 7.70 m
Propulsion: Combined Gas And Gas (COGAG), two axles, variable pitch propellers, four gas turbines AVIO-GE LM-2500
Power: 88 MW (120,000 hp)
Top speed: more than 30 knots
Range: 7,000 miles at 16 knots
Weapons:
- 3 Oto/Breda 25/80 machine guns
- SAAM/IT missile system (4 eight-cell modules for ASTER 15 missiles)
- 2 SCLAR H anti-missile rocket launchers
- 2 SLAT anti-torpedo systems
- A maximum of 24 aircraft comprising:
1.AV8-B II Plus and F-35B Lightning II planes
2.EH-101, NH-90, SH-3D and AB-212 helicopters

Transport carrying capacity: wheeled, caterpillar and armoured vehicles, including Ariete tanks
Main radars: RASS, RAN-40L, EMPAR
Crew: 530 (including 39 Officers)
On-board capacity: 1210

The Cavour, the new flagship of the Italian Navy, is a modern and flexible vessel, able to carry out a wide range of missions to service national foreign policy such as supporting peace operations, preventing international crises and defending naval communication routes. The Cavour ship is proof of Italy's industrial and technological skills.

A modern ship at the service of Italy
The Cavour aircraft carrier is the biggest post-war naval construction and the largest technological investment by the Defence Ministry. The project to build the ship, known as NUM, began in November 2000. It involved the Navy teaming up with national shipyard Fincantieri and the national defence industry to adopt the latest design and construction methods and develop advanced systems. The fruit of their joint labour is now a symbol of global prestige for the entire Italian military and industrial system.
The Cavour is one of the major ships able to manage international missions, in far-flung places, for global security, stability and protecting national interests in different regions.
The operational experience of the Navy in recent years - with missions in Lebanon, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, East Timor, Kosovo and the former Yugoslavia - has confirmed the efficiency of the biggest ships. These are notable for their command, control, communication and transport capacities that allow them to serve as airports, hospitals, command centres and logistical structures to effectively support, from the sea, ground troops in conflict areas. In the summer of 2006, during Operation Leonte in the Lebanon, the presence of the Garibaldi and the three other amphibious helicopter carriers was crucial for managing, unloading, protecting and supporting the landing troops and special ground forces, while at the same time ensuring a broad range of maritime surveillance in the waters of the conflict zone.
The Cavour is destined for the role of Italian fleet flagship because of its dedicated command, control, communications and operational planning areas, which are five times larger than those on the Garibaldi. Although larger and more powerful, the Cavour will be run by a smaller crew than the Garibaldi (530 crew members compared with 600 - around 12 per cent fewer) thanks to the increased automation that characterises the Navy's most modern ships.
Using the Cavour as the Italian aircraft carrier will free up the Garibaldi for amphibious protection duties, using its capabilities in the national sea protection body "Capacità Nazionale di Proiezione dal Mare (CNPM)" until a new amphibious ship comes into service.
Bigger ships are required in strategic situations of varying instability and conflict intensity, on a regional and global scale, that increasingly require military forces to effectively support diplomatic missions and steps to manage international crises, and to restore security and stability.
In this context, there is an increasing demand for mobile, flexible and self-sufficient forces that are readily available and can be moved to different locations to deal with a wide range of situations, from protecting national interests where threatened to resolving crises and keeping the peace, including humanitarian missions and rescues in the event of a natural disaster.
For these operations, the national vessel is increasingly called upon to make important contributions to national and international security as part of interforce and multinational coalitions. Carrying out such operations involves various types of mission that fall under the following main categories:
- maritime surveillance, including air and sea deep sea and coastal activities, defending air space at sea, contributing to air defence of a territory, protecting maritime routes of communication, policing the high seas and gathering information. For such activities, the Cavour can be used as a command ship able to make an invaluable contribution with its own weapon systems and sensors, including on-board aircraft;
- protection, at sea and from the sea, across the range of naval operations, including amphibious and interforce operations, for assisting and evacuating compatriots from danger zones and providing air, medical and logistical support to military units and civilian organisations on the ground.

Thanks to its versatility, the Cavour is an advanced vessel that combines the features and capabilities of several different types of ship: aircraft carrier, command platform, surveillance unit and air and sea defence.
Its flexibility and mobility, together with its notable logistics capabilities and standout command, control and communication skills, mean the Cavour has a central role in protection missions, both at sea and from the sea, in different interforce and multinational situations. In short, it is a modern ship at the service of Italy.
The Cavour's motto is: In arduis servare mentem.


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