The approved multi-year program U212 NFS, refers to the construction of the third and fourth submarine type U212NFS (Near Future Submarine), or the construction of a series of four submarines derived from the U212A Class, represents the continuation of the program relating to the development, acquisition and ten-year technical-logistical support of the first two U212 submarines, deriving from the Todaro class.
According to the technical report, the program has a significant international visibility, with a view to a future common European Defense project, as integrated into the international procurement of the OCCAR agency, as an already consolidated project (design and operating contract) in the face of similar initiatives carried out by other countries (Norway, Germany, Holland, Turkey, Indonesia) that are still in an embryonic state.
With the start of construction of the third unit and the fourth, further impetus will be provided to the national industry, also in terms of export. In this sense, the Italian shipbuilding hub will be able to further increase its industrial value, in terms of competitiveness and penetration into foreign markets. Being able to maintain in its order book the ability to create underwater units represents for the national industry an extremely qualifying element in terms of export.
Furthermore, according to the technical report, the potential areas of cooperation deriving from the life support contract of the new vehicles must be considered, given that several plants adopted by the submarines type U212, U214, U218 will be able to promote cooperation agreements in the field of Common In-service Support, as already happens between Italy, Germany and Portugal.
Compared to the previous U212A (Todaro class), the new U212 NFS submarines are designed to ensure the improvement of the following capabilities:
- command and control, through the increase of communication, data exchange and management capabilities of operational and platform conduct teams;
- long stay at sea, through the reduction of logistical needs, the greater efficiency of the embarked propulsion system with Fuel Cell (powered by hydrogen and oxygen), and the adoption of new energy storage and management technologies;
- anti-submarine and anti-ship capabilities, through, among other things, the strengthening of anti-torpedo defenses and the adoption of counter-discovery radar systems;
- overall and hidden autonomy, guaranteed by the use of a propulsion battery system that allows missions to be carried out to the end of the so-called “Enlarged Mediterranean”.
The implementation of an Integrated Logistic Support (SLI) system must be ensured for a period of not less than 10 years, aimed at maintaining and improving the level of efficiency and operational readiness, the progressive technological renewal of systems / equipment and the prevention of obsolescence and the increase of “in-house” support capabilities.
Interoperability will be guaranteed by the application of current international/NATO standards to plants and equipment. Since the U212 NFS submarines represent the evolution of the U212A project, they will merge into the organization of an international logistics support program (Common In-Service Support – CISS) already in place with Germany, to which the Portuguese Navy has recently joined and which provides for the accession of additional partners. This agreement – according to the explanatory report – has aroused the interest of other European countries that plan to acquire underwater fleets deriving from projects of German origin (Norway, with the U212CD, Holland, Poland, Greece).
The specialist crew of the U212 NFS submarines will be extremely small, as for the U212A type. The crews will be interchangeable and, to cope with the necessary technological adjustments related to the new U212 NFS platform, the acquisition program will provide for the administration of courses for operators / maintainers on board and on the ground, as well as for the personnel involved in testing.
The Units must be able to operate with non-organic assets to the Italian Navy, in particular with other Units and systems supplied to the other Italian Armed Forces, NATO, EU and coalition. The platform and combat systems will therefore be characterized by the maximum commonality with the most recently introduced systems in the Navy and with those of other organizations.
The interoperability of the systems/equipment will therefore be ensured in the terms indicated by the STANAG (NATO Standardization agreement) and other regulations and requirements applicable at NATO and European Union level.
As regards the duration, the acquisition program of the third and fourth U212NFS units is conceived according to a multi-year development plan expected to start in 2023 and have a total duration of fifteen years (2023-2037). With regard to the financial profiles, the technical data sheet specifies that the total cost of the construction of the third and fourth submarines and the related ten-year technical-logistical support is estimated at approximately 1,332.39 million euros, at 2020 economic conditions.
Follow us on our Telegram channel