The New Year started with a prestigious milestone for Avio Aero and GE’s Marine Solutions team. The Italian Navy—an important and longstanding customer—decided to expand its fleet with seven new multipurpose offshore patrol ships (known by their Italian acronym PPA). The new ships will be constructed by Fincantieri, an Italian shipbuilding company, and will be powered by GE’s reliable and compact LM2500+G4 aeroderivative marine gas turbines capable of producing 42,900 horsepower. The first naval unit will be delivered by 2021, followed by the others from 2022 until 2026.

The PPA will be 133.3 meters long, and will have a high level of innovation, together with an extremely flexible configuration. Each ship will be capable of carrying out a variety of tasks, which range from patrolling with sea rescue abilities, to operations in support of civil defense, and, in its more equipped configuration, as a frontline combat ship.

2-lm2500+G4

The PPA patrol ships will carry up to 171 persons, and will be capable of a cruising speed in excess of 32 knots thanks to the combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAG) system. Avio Aero will have design responsibility for the gas turbine propulsion package, which will include the LM2500+G4 gas turbines, manufactured at GE’s Evendale, Ohio, facility; the base and enclosure (the sophisticated “box,” an exclusive Avio Aero design, that houses the gas turbine on the ship, with instruments, connections and accessories); a newly designed TCSelectronic Turbine Control System; GE’s shock-proof MV3000 drives; a GE-designed electrical network of motors as part of the propulsion system; and a series of other accessories tailored to the customer’s specific needs. The gas turbines, combined with the advanced motors, will produce low emissions.

“The PPA contract award is a culmination of an intense negotiation that lasted months, in which the team displayed great responsiveness,” tells Federico Buono, Senior Commercial Proposal Director at Avio Aero. “This program is a great example of the “GE Store” whereby GE businesses share and access technology to provide customer solutions. Working as a team not only in-country but with members of GE’s marine gas turbine and energy solutions businesses, truly makes a difference. Teamwork also will be critical to meet these very tight deadlines for the first deliveries.”

At the Brindisi plant, Avio Aero produces up to 20% of the components for the LM2500 engine, used by 34 international navies and in countless industrial and marine applications. The facility in Puglia has also been chosen as GE’s Center of Excellence for the overhaul and repair of GE’s LM2500 family of gas turbines and the LM6000 gas turbine; outside of the US, the Brindisi facility is currently the largest overhaul center for these turbines.

CODLDAG configuration Italian Navy PPA 3-16

The PPA program continues a long tradition of LM2500 power combatants in the Italian Navy with the selection of the LM2500+G4. Starting in 1977, the Italian Navy and Fincantieri were early adopters of GE’s LM2500 gas turbine for the Lupo-, Maestrale, Artigliere and Horizon-class frigates, the De la Pen-class destroyers, and the aircraft carriers Garibaldi and Cavour (equipped with GE gears). In 2004, the Italian Navy was first to select GE’s LM2500+G4 gas turbine to power 10 FREMM multi-purpose frigates for the Italian Navy.

“We are excited to be part of a project that will continue to modernize and strengthen the Italian Navy’s surface fleet,” commented Riccardo Procacci, Avio Aero President and CEO. “GE’s going partnership will provide the Italian Navy with cost efficiencies throughout the lifecycle of these ships”