A keel laying ceremony of the multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock) was held Tuesday at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia, Italy, marking the beginning of the slipway works of the unit.
The new unit will be delivered in 2022 and it falls within the naval program of the maritime capability of Defense, approved by the Italian Government and Parliament and started in May 2015.
The LHD will be classified by RINA Services pursuant international conventions about prevention of pollution regarding the more traditional aspects, like the ones of the MARPOL Convention, as well as those not yet mandatory, as the Hong Kong Convention about ship dismantling.
The unit will be approximately 215 meters long with a maximum speed of 25 knots. It will be equipped with a combined propulsion system diesel/electric and gas turbines
The LHD's main mission is the transport of people, vehicles and loads of different kinds and in their transfer on land in port areas through onboard systems and in not equipped areas with on board staffing vessels (such as the LCM landing craft units with a load capacity up to 60 tons, four of which can be admitted, launched, and recovered through a flooded basin, located on the stern of the vessel).
The LHD’s military profile use provides transport and landing, in equipped and non-equipped areas, of trops, military vehicles, logistic equipment, using the provided features and means of transfer.
The civil profile use provides:
- healthcare and hospital support;
- transfer and landing of people and wheeled or crawled means of transport in equipped and non-equipped areas;
- supply of drinking water to land and supply of electricity;
- possibility of accommodating specialized staff on board or hosting civilian personnel;
- rescue operations base through helicopters and onboard staffing vessels
Equipped with wide internal embarkment areas (of about 4,500mq within dock-garage and hangar-garage), and a continuous open deck, able to receive wheeled vehicles of various kinds, containers and helicopters, the unit can perform several military and civil missions.
The different areas of cargo securing are accessible through stern and side ramps, and cargo handling will be managed by internal ramps and elevators.
On board there will be a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office and a hospital rooms capable of hosting 28 seriously injured patients (further admissions are possible through duly equipped container modules).