Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551)

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For other ships of this name, see Italian ship Giuseppe Garibaldi
ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551).jpg
Giuseppe Garibaldi in 2004
Career (Italy)
Name: Giuseppe Garibaldi
Namesake: Giuseppe Garibaldi
Builder: Fincantieri
Laid down: 26 March 1981[1]
Launched: 11 June 1983
Commissioned: 30 September 1985
Homeport: Taranto
Identification: Pennant number: 551
Motto: Obbedisco
Status: in active service, as of 2015
General characteristics
Type: ASW aircraft carrier
Displacement: 10,100 tonnes (standard)
13,850 tonnes (loaded)[2]
Length: 180.2 m (591 ft)
Beam: 33.4 m (110 ft)
Draught: 8.2 m (27 ft)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric/Avio LM2500 gas turbines providing 82,000  hp
6 × Diesel generators (9.360 KW)
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)+
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 630 Crew
100 Fleet Air Arm
100 C4 staff
Sensors and
processing systems:
MM/SPS-768 (RAN 3L) long-range radar
SPS-774 (RAN-10S) early warning radar
AN/SPS-52C early warning radar
SPS-702 CORA surface search radar
SPN-749 navigation radar
SPN-728 approach radar
RTN-30 fire control radar
RTN-10X fire control radar
DE 1160 LF hull sonar
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
SLQ-732 jamming system
SCLAR decoy launcher
SLAT anti-torpedo system
SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy
Armament: 2 × Mk.29 octuple launcher for Sea Sparrow/Selenia Aspide SAM
3 × Oto Melara Twin 40L70 DARDO
2 × 324 mm triple torpedo tubes
4 × Otomat Mk 2 SSMs (removed)
Aircraft carried: up to 18

AV-8B Harrier II fighter/bombers

Augusta SH-3D or AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters (ASW, ASH and AEW)

Giuseppe Garibaldi is an Italian aircraft carrier, the first through deck aviation ship ever built for the Italian Navy, and the first Italian ship built to operate fixed-wing aircraft. It is equipped with short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) aircraft and helicopters. Giuseppe Garibaldi was involved in combat air operations off Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya.


She is the fourth ship of the Italian Navy to be named after the 19th century Italian General Giuseppe Garibaldi. All four ships, including the missile cruiser, together with an image of Garibaldi, are depicted in the crest.

Giuseppe Garibaldi‍ '​s deck layout
SH-3 Sea King on deck

Built by Fincantieri (Italcantieri) at the Monfalcone shipyards on the Gulf of Trieste, she was laid down on 26 March 1981,[1] launched on 11 June 1983, and commissioned on 30 September 1985. Garibaldi is classed as an anti-submarine warfare carrier (ASW), and is based in Taranto.

The ship is powered by four Fiat COGAG gas turbines built under license from GE, offering a sustained power of 81,000 hp (60 MW). Driving two shafts the ship has a maximum speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and can travel for 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at around 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).

The ship was equipped with four Otomat Mk2 long range surface-to-surface missile system installed at the stern of the ship (removed in 2003 to improve the flight deck and satellite communications) and two ILAS three triple tube torpedo launchers. Defences are provided by two eight-cell SAM launchers firing the SARH Aspide missile, additional defences are offered by three Oto Melara Twin 40L70 DARDO CIWS.

The ship also has many countermeasures include two SCLAR twenty-barrel launchers for chaff, decoy, flares, or jammers, the SLQ-25 Nixie and SLAT anti-torpedo systems and ECM systems.

Her air-arm consists of a maximum sixteen AV-8B Harrier IIs and 2 search and rescue helicopter, or eighteen Agusta helicopters or a mix of helicopters and fighters. The flight-deck is the characteristic off-axis design with 4 degrees ski-jump for STOL aircraft, it is 174 m (571 ft) long and 30.4 m (100 ft) wide.

A 1937 law gave control of all national fixed-wing air assets to the Italian Air Force and only helicopters were permitted to the navy, therefore at the time of her launch she did not receive her Harriers, and she was classed as Incrociatore portaeromobili (Italian for Aircraft carrying cruiser). Until 1988 only Italian helicopters landed on her deck, as well as Royal Navy Sea Harriers during NATO joint maneuvers. This ban on Italian naval fixed-wing aircraft was lifted in 1989, and the Italian Navy received fixed-wing Harrier II fighters to fly from the Giuseppe Garibaldi.[3]

In 2009 Giuseppe Garibaldi was joined as the flagship of the Italian navy by the new and larger carrier Cavour.

Combat operations[edit]

Giuseppe Garibaldi and the US aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman operate near each other in the Atlantic Ocean while participating in Majestic Eagle 2004, a multinational war exercise conducted off the coast of Morocco.

In 1999 with the Kosovo War in the Balkans, Italy committed Harrier AV-8B II+ fighters embarked aboard Giuseppe Garibaldi, from 13 May to early June 1999. The planes carried out 30 sorties in 63 hours of flight. The planes used Mk 82 GBU-16 bombs and AGM-65 Maverick missiles. The Italian naval force in addition to the aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi, with its air group, included the Maestrale-class frigate Zeffiro.

Following the attacks of 11 September 2001 and the war on terror declared by U.S. President Bush, Italy participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Giuseppe Garibaldi was engaged as the command ship of GRUPNAVIT I, 1 Italian Shipping Group, which also included Zeffiro, the patrol team and the airman supplier in Etna. The group set sail from Taranto on 18 November 2001. They trained in the Indian Ocean from 3 December 2001 to 1 March 2002 and returned to Taranto 18 March 2002. During the mission, the AV-8B Harrier unit carried out 288 missions for a total of 860 hours of flight. Tasks carried out included interception/interdiction, sea and air support, and aircraft interdiction in Afghanistan.

Front view of two-seat grey jet fighter on aircraft carrier deck. A directive personnel is close-by.
A Marina Militare TAV-8B Harrier II aboard Giuseppe Garibaldi

Participating in the 2011 military intervention in Libya after the transfer of authority to NATO and the decision to participate in strike air-ground operations, the Italian government assigned under NATO command four Italian Navy AV-8B plus (from Garibaldi) in addition to Italian air force aircraft.[4] As of 24 March, the Italian Navy was engaged in Operation Unified Protector with the light aircraft carrier Garibaldi, the Maestrale-class frigate Libeccio and the auxiliary ship Etna.[5] Additionally the Orizzonte-class frigate Andrea Doria and Maestrale-class frigate Euro were patrolling off the Sicilian coast in an air-defence role.[6][7] In total, until the end of the mission in Libya, the eight Italian Navy AV-8Bs flying from the carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi dropped 160 guided bombs during 1221 flight hours.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gardiner, Robert (1983). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1982, Part One: The Western Powers. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-87021-918-9. 
  2. ^ "Giuseppe Garibaldi Portaeromobili". GlobalSecurity. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Issue 11 - Harrier: The Harrier Abroad". Aviation Classics. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "contributo nazionale operazione "Odissey Dawn"". Italian Ministry of Defense. 11 June 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Operazione "Unified Protector": navi italiane partecipano all'embargo". Italian Ministry of Defense. 25 March 2011. [dead link]
  6. ^ "La Marina Militare in campo per la crisi libica e i flussi migratori" (in Italian). Ministry of Defence of the Italian Republic. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Libia: nave Andrea Doria nel canale di Sicilia con compiti di difesa aerea da attacchi missilistici" (in Italian). 19 March 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Kington, Tom (14 December 2011). "Italy Gives Bombing Stats for Libya Campaign". Defense News. Retrieved 1 January 2015.