The launch of the frigate Emilio Bianchi, the tenth and final ship of the FREMM class, took place at the shipyard of Riva Trigoso this week.

The ten Fremm ships were ordered from Fincantieri by the Italian Navy within the framework of an Italian–French cooperative programme coordinated by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement), the international organisation for cooperation on armaments.

After the launch, fitting-out activities will continue at the integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia), with delivery scheduled in 2021. The Emilio Bianchi, like her sister-ships, features a high degree of flexibility and is capable of operating in all tactical situations.

With a length of 144 metres and a beam of 19.7 metres, the ship will have a displacement of approximately 6,700 tonnes at full load. She has a top speed of over 27 knots and will be able to accommodate a up to 200 people, including crew and passengers.

The FREMM program stems from the Italian Navy’s requirement to replace the Lupo-class (now all retired) and Maestrale-class frigates (now being decommissioned), both built by Fincantieri in the 1970s.

The ships Carlo Bergamini and Virginio Fasan were delivered in 2013, the Carlo Margottini in 2014, the Carabiniere in 2015, the Alpino in 2016, the Luigi Rizzo in 2017, the Federico Martinengo in 2018, and the Antonio Marceglia in 2019.

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If I were a betting man, I’d be leaning towards this design as the winner of the USN’s FFGX competition. Not even considering the fact that it would be built in a shipyard in a battleground state for the upcoming U.S. election.



I am still inclined to say that the Navantia/GDBIW F100 Alvaro de Bazán based design has a better chance. Having actually been on one it looks and feels like a US designed ship and a successor to the Perry class which is hardly surprising as BIW helped modernise Navantia to build the Santa Maria sub variant of the Perry class. It is also designed from the off with AEGIS and AN/SPY1 and they are currently doing the design work to fit AN/SPY6 for the follow on F101 variant that the Spanish Navy are ordering. AN/SPY6 is required for FFG(X) so… Read more »


Good points Fedaykin! I would weight the design more strongly in terms of success if it WEREN’T for the location of the shipyard involved. The float away cost of the FREMM is also right on mark ~ 900 million U.S. dollars. The F100 design is going to come in over that by a good margin.

Overall it’s a good design and compatible with the RAN’s Hobarts which is a big plus. Also, as you pointed out it’s the only one to have integrated the AEGIS radar and CES already. Looking forward to the USN’s decision.


andy reeves

HOW LONG SINCE THE FIRST LUMP OF STEEL WAS CUT HAVE THE ten ships taken to design, produce and become operational? it would be good to compare the production rates of the Italian yards to our own, which, i think would expose the fallacy of giving our naval contracts to the Clyde. the Clyde which has not for years has shown itself to be a cash sucking, poorly managed, lowly skilled waste of the resources that would have been more product-ably spent elsewhere

Paul T

The Italian Navy will end up with 10 FREMM Frigates, and typically the French Navy will end up with 8 despite an original requirement for 17.A better comparison to the speed of Warship building would be the first PPA,Paulo Thaon De Revel which started construction at roughly the same time as HMS Glasgow.She was launched in June last year and is now undergoing Sea Trials,I put a picture of her up on another thread.Obviously when Shipyards get a decent order book they can make efficiencies.


Italian FREMMs taken between 3 & 5 years, mostly 4 years. Our cavalier attitude to our own defense is unfathomable. Heads should roll.


Unfathomable and dangerous. There needs to be much stronger management at the MOD in the way they operate and influence our country.


This isn’t the Scottish yards fault but the government slowing it down for as long as possible so it delays payment. Unfortunately this actually makes the build more expensive overall.


A major plus is that the Fincantieri Group build ships day in day out. If its not military units for home and export use its commercial vessels for numerous users, especially the Cruise liner market. The whole company is designed for efficiency in building vessels using Super Block, Block, Unit and Panel construction. Because they are always building something somewhere there is no skill fade there is no loss of skilled labour. The Riva yard is a yard that does not struggle for space and it does not need to cram everything in to a small foot print as the… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Agreed. Where could we build such a facility in England, and roughly how long would it take to construct?

Levi Goldsteinberg

Birmingham. 4 and a half weeks


No Birmingham stinks of shit! Let’s say Blackpool in a day.

Paul T

Perhaps a compromise solution can be found,like having the Design and Prototyping / First of Class done in the UK, but then all the serial Production done in a Shipyard such as here.Industrial offsets usually form parts of Defense contracts,the other party can then reciprocate with some other contract be it Naval or Aviation etc.


You must be joking. This is political suicide. There is also a law against building warships outside UK. The best idea see above, is to construct a new mega yard with priority of resources and manpower in North of England west coast.

Paul T

No,i wasn’t joking and I’m aware of the Law regarding building Warships in the UK.If you acknowledge there is a problem regarding the costs of say a Type 26 and the time it takes to get even just one constructed and in service then you have to look at all options,however unpalatable.Im not sure creating a Mega Shipyard in the North of England is the solution,thats just moving the costs ( plus set-up costs) and delays somewhere else.We are all aware that the UK Govt and MOD are the main culprits regarding a steady flow of orders ,but with rumours… Read more »


How much of the ships costs is actually in the ship build compared to the full cost? I think the fit out of weapons, sensors etc is the main costs.

Paul T

Keeler – the Fabrication/Build process is quoted as somewhere around a Quarter/one Third with the Weapons and Systems procurement/installation/intergration making up the rest.


The British Government should be ashamed in the way it funds and equips the Royal Navy. We would all agree that Italy is finacially in a bad condition. We would also agree that the Italian Navy operates mostly in the Med where as the Royal Navy has commitments on all the worlds oceans. Yet when I look at numbers and capability I would say that for area of responsability the Italian Navy is better equipped. To start with the Italians have 4 AIP SSKs with a further four planned, ok so the RN has 7 SSNs but I would not… Read more »

Paul T

Ron – I totally agree with your points,obviously the Italians have a very different system of Government to ours,one that appears chaotic and fractious at the best of times but to give them credit the Marina Mlitare needed a Fleet Renewal Programme,the Government was prepared to pay for it ( despite Economic uncertainty) and in Fincatieri they have a Shipbuilder that can execute it.Can I add that as well as the Two Horizon Class DDG’s they have Two Durand De Le Penne Class Destroyers due to replaced around 2025 by a potential 10,000 ton design more akin to a modern… Read more »


I don’t understand Type 23 giving that kind of troubles. I mean the Italians are still retiring their Maestrale frigates and they are almost 10 years older than Type 23. And it is not like they have been put to use, they went several times to Indian Ocean.