Italy has always been a pioneering country in the conduct of underwater operations, both in the civil and military fields, through the use of specialized operators and manned and unmanned underwater vehicles. The program for the construction of an underwater reclamation unit, together with that of the SdoSurs Unit (Special & Diving Operations-Submarine Rescue Ship) will help to raise the country’s rank in this specialized sector, contributing in parallel to boost the development of technologies and state-of-the-art devices in the field of underwater operations.
The project stems from the need to create a highly specialized unit in the field of seabed reclamation conducted by the personnel of the “Teseo Tesei” Underwater and Incursor Group Command (COMSUBIN), but also able, thanks to its intrinsic design flexibility, to be able to conducting a wide spectrum of activities in the diving sector The platform, highly versatile and reconfigurable, arises from the need to bridge the technological gap of the vehicles currently supplied to MMI, which have now reached the limit of their operational life.
The unit will have suitable characteristics to be able to reconfigure itself, according to the specific mission assigned, thanks to its large aft working deck set up and designed to accommodate different equipment and deployable equipment supplied to the MMI diving departments.
As part of the preliminary design, the Navy General Staff defined the basic configuration of the platform capable of satisfying all the technical-operational requirements of the Armed Force. This configuration during the functional and executive design, which will be carried out by the supplier Shipyard, may undergo some changes.
With reference to the technical requirements, the new system has the following characteristics: – ability to maneuver in confined spaces and dynamic maintenance of the position up to Stato del Mare 4; – large aft deck also used for the transport of ISO standard 10, 20 and 40 foot containers containing the operational assets that can be deployed to support underwater activities with remote operators or systems; – recovery of objects from the seabed by means of organic lifting means; – sonar discovery capability, through organic and risky systems.
Specifically, the Defense Staff, in the report attached to the draft decree in question, points out that thanks to the ability to maintain the geostationary position, the organic lifting means and the large aft working space, the new platform will be in able to support both diving activities aimed at cleaning up explosive devices found in maritime contexts, and complex underwater operations, by means of “riskable assets” that can be embarked, such as: – containerized decompression chambers, for assistance with immersion or for hyperbaric support in general; – rigid articulated diving suits Atmospheric Diving System (ADS), capable of operating up to a depth of 300 m; – underwater search systems such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), suitable for operating at depths of 3,000 m, and towable sensors such as Side Scan Sonar (SSS) for acoustic searches up to a depth of 750 m; – Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) wire-guided vehicles, to carry out underwater searches, inspections and recoveries up to an intervention depth of 3,000 m.
The Unit will be equipped with highly reliable equipment / systems accompanied by adequate maintenance plans, such as to guarantee the required readiness with high levels of operational availability. With reference, then, to support logistics, this will be based on logistics engineering studies (ILS).
The platform and the relative systems for maintaining the position and lifting from the seabed will be designed to have maximum commonality with similar offshore units used to support professional underwater operations, so as to largely meet the EU / NATO / standardization criteria. International. Furthermore, maximum interoperability with the riskable assets of the Underwater and Incursor Grouping Command will be guaranteed.
The program is conceived according to a multiannual development plan expected to start in 2021 and total duration of 13 years (2021-2033). The total cost of the program is € 35.38 million for the acquisition of the naval unit (UBOS), including the related ten-year technical-logistic support.