The Italian-French FREMM (Multi Mission European Frigates) international program is one of Europe's biggest industrial cooperation projects in the shipbuilding industry. 10 new frigates for the Italian and 9 for the French navies are at the program's core. The first vessels, the frigates Aquitaine and Carlo Bergamini, were actually delivered to France and Italy respectively in 2010 and 2011. In 2015, the Italian Navy took up its option on purchase of the ninth and tenth units, for delivery after 2020.
The FREMM program, state of the art in Italian and European defense, meets the need to replace the Navy's line of vessels in the Lupo class (already decommissioned) and Maestrale class (some already decommissioned, some close to the end of their operating lifetimes), built by Fincantieri in the Seventies.
144 meters long with beam of about 20 meters and displacement (volume and weight of the water shifted) when fully laden of about 7 thousand tons, the new vessels contain leading-edge technology and are suitable for a highly diversified spectrum of maritime duties.
Avio Aero has been involved since the start of the program, fitting the vessels with series LM2500 +G4 gas turbines, installed inside the base & enclosure designed and built exclusively by our company. It also supplies the TCS (Turbine Control System), an electronic monitoring system for aircraft-derived turbines built at Rivalta, a number of engine auxiliary systems and the turbine lubrication system. Working closely with Fincantieri, which builds the ships, Avio Aero takes care of commissioning - which includes the mechanical setup of the turbine on board to render it operational, as well as the actual installation - and oversees the first sea trials to verify and optimize engine performance. GE's LM family turbines enable these gigantic vessels to plow through the waves with a power of 35 MW at a speed of 27 knots (just over 50km/h on land).
And the ninth engine module in the program, to be installed on the frigate Spartaco Schergat (the ninth), was consigned to Fincantieri at the Riva Trigoso yard just several weeks ago.
The ITA9 module (the ninth of the ten modules planned) was assembled by our technical staff at the Brindisi center of excellence, with their specialist knowledge of LM2500+G4 turbine propulsion systems. Brindisi also has a longstanding expertise in the overhaul and maintenance of these and LM6000 and LMS100 (industrial) turbines.
With teamwork from all the departments involved (GSC, Quality, Program Management and Sourcing), hard work from individuals and process optimization, the plant achieved a very big ask and set a new record: for the first time a module was built in just six weeks, allowing delivery to the customer well ahead of time.
The Brindisi site's involvement in the FREMM program began in 2006, and it also supplies the propulsion modules for the new PPA (Pattugliatori Polivalenti Altura) program for 7 Offshore Multipurpose Patrol Ships for the Italian Navy. “The level of teamwork reached with the ITA9 is a major milestone for Avio Aero in terms of proving the Brindisi site's potential," stated Antonio Marchesano, Marine & Industrial CoE Leader, "which will help us to consolidate our partnership with major customers such as Fincantieri and the Italian Navy."
FREMM photos in this page are courtesy of FINCANTIERI S.p.A. - All rights reservedAuthor: Yari Bovalino & Daniela Dell'Anna