Maestrale class frigates (image : MConrads)
A Defense official said
's "Maestrale" class
frigates eyed by the government to bolster its Navy will also sail in with
technical support which will allow the prospective crew to use the ship to its
fullest potential. Italy
DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said this is one of the reasons the "Maestrale" is such an attractive proposition.
Technical support means the Italians would train PN personnel in the proper use of the frigates' systems and maintenance.
Acquisition of the ships is expected to cost the Philippine government P 11.7 billion.
Aside from this, the Italian Navy also guaranteed to supply its Filipino counterpart with spares which the ships need for dockyard maintenance.
"It means that we don't have to scrounge around for parts. We can call them about the items we need and they will supply them to us. It means greater availability for our
'Maestrale' for maritime missions," Manalo stressed in Filipino.
He added the Italians will put the ships on "zero time" or intensive overhaul wherein their equipment — weapons, navigation, sensors, engines, and hulls — will be made good as new.
"This will take around nine months. Once it is complete, the ships will be good as new or even better," he emphasized.
AB-212 anti submarine warfare helicopter (photo : Militaryphotos)
The "Maestrale class is composed of eight vessels, all of which were built by Fincantieri S.p. A, Riva Trigoso, except for Grecale, built by Fincantieri S.p.A. – Muggiano,
It is primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare.
However, the ships are highly flexible so they are also capable of anti-air and anti-surface operations.
Ships of this class have been widely used in various international missions and during normal operations of the Italian Navy.
The first of these ships entered the service in early 1982. The rest of the fleet was launched over the next three years.
The ships of the Maestrale class are scheduled to be replaced by the "Rinascimento" class starting in 2011.
The frigates have a displacement of 3,100 gross register tons, a length of 122.7 meters, draft of 4.2 meters.
Its propulsion system consists of two GE/Avio General Electric LM2500 gas turbines; two D Grandi Motori Trieste BL-230-20-DVM diesels, and two five-blade propellers.
This gives the "Maestrale" class a top speed of 33 knots and cruising range of 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knot economical speed.
It has a complement of 24 officers and 201 enlisted personnel.
The "Maestrale" frigates armament fit consists of four Teseo Mark-2 anti-ship missile launchers, one octuple Aspide surface air missile launchers, one Otobreda 127 mm main gun, two Oto Melara twin 40mm automatic cannon, two 533mm torpedo tubes and two 324mm torpedo tubes for anti-submarine warfare.
It is also capable of carrying two AB-212 helicopters for anti-submarine and patrol work.
With all these features, the "Maestrale" will be the most potent ships acquired for the PN, making the latter more capable of defending the country's territorial waters. (PNA)