In Naples over the weekend, Fincantieri launched the Italian Naval Ship Trieste ( L9890), a “multipurpose amphibious unit.”
A big girl at some 33,000-tons and officially classed as a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) she is expected to replace 1980s-vintage 13,000-ton 1980s Italian “Harrier carrier” Giuseppe Garibaldi around 2022.
Able to carry a battalion of troops, EH101 and NH90 helicopters, as well as at least a squadron of F-35B Lightning strike aircraft, Trieste will be Italy’s largest carrier, ever, and the largest warship for the country since the ill-fated Vittorio Veneto-class battleship Roma was commissioned in 1942.
She will also be the fourth largest carrier in NATO, behind the two new British Queen Elizabeth-class flattops and the aging French De Gaulle. In terms of amphibious assault ships, she will be the only LHD under a European banner, is the largest non-U.S. ‘phib in NATO, and is nearly the size of American Wasp-class vessels. Further, they are a good bit larger than Japan’s controversial Izumo-class
light carriers multi-purpose destroyers which Tokyo is currently modifying to facilitate carrying F-35Bs.
And the first F-35 transatlantic crossing has gone to the Italian air force (Aeronautica Militare). As reported by FlightGlobal, an Italian made, maintained and flown F-35A Lightning II (#AL-1) made the puddle jump supported by an AM KC-767 tanker (with just 7 refuelings!)
The aircraft took off today from Lajes Field on Portugal’s Azores island group at 7.30am local time before turning south over Canada to touch down at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland at about 2.24pm on 5 February – approximately 7h and more than 2,000nm later.
At the controls was Italian test pilot Maj Gianmarco, callsign “Ninja” – a former Panavia Tornado pilot who graduated from the multinational F-35A pilot school at Luke AFB in Arizona in November and has accumulated 80h of flight time on the type.