Italian aircraft carrier Cavour (550)
|This article's listed sources may not meet Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources. (April 2012)|
|Laid down:||17 July 2001|
|Launched:||20 July 2004|
|Commissioned:||27 March 2008|
|In service:||10 June 2009|
|Motto:||In Arduis Servare Mentem|
|Type:||CVH aircraft carrier|
|Displacement:||27,100 tonnes; 30,000 tonnes (full-load)|
|Propulsion:||4 × General Electric/Avio LM2500+ gas turbines providing 88.000 hp
6 × Diesel generators (13.200 KW)
|Range:||7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)|
203 Fleet Air Arm
140 C4 staff
325 Marines (standard)
|Armament:||4 × 8 cell A-43 Sylver launchers carrying the MBDA Aster 15 surface to air missile
2 × Oto Melara 76/62 mm Super Rapido gun
3 × Oerlikon Contraves 25/80 mm AA gun
Cavour (550) (Italian: Portaerei Cavour) is an Italian aircraft carrier (CVH) and the newest flagship of the Marina Militare, the Italian Navy. She is named after the Italian statesman and politician Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour.
Cavour was laid down by Fincantieri on 17 July 2001, and she was launched from the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Sestri Levante, on 20 July 2004. Sea trials began in December 2006, and she was officially commissioned 27 March 2008. Full Operational Capability (FOC) was reached 10 June 2009. The ship was never moved to Taranto, as usually happens for the maintenance of the Italian Navy ships, because the dock is not deep enough to host it. It stays in Muggiano harbor, close to La Spezia.
First Mission 
On 19 January 2010, Cavour was dispatched to Haiti as part of Operation White Crane, Italy's operation for 2010 Haiti earthquake relief. This was the first mission of the aircraft carrier, where it supplemented international efforts to provide relief for the victims of the January 2010 earthquake.
The ship is designed to combine fixed wing V/STOL and helicopter air operations, command and control operations and the transport of military or civil personnel and heavy vehicles. The 134 metre, 2,800 m2 hangar space can double as a vehicle hold capable of holding up to 24 main battle tanks (typically Ariete) or many more lighter vehicles (50 Dardo IFV, 100+ Iveco LMV), and is fitted aft with access ramps rated to 70 tons, as well as two elevators rated up to 30 tons for aircraft. Cavour can also operate as Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH), accommodating heavy transport helicopters (EH 101 ASH) and 325 marines.
Cavour has a displacement of 27,900 tons but can reach more than 30,000 tons at full military capacity, after improvements done in 2008.
Initially she was to be named after Luigi Einaudi, then Admiral Andrea Doria, before receiving her current title. Now that Cavour has become operational, it is the Nuova Unità Maggiore (NUM, or New Main Unit) of the Marina Militare, complementing the Giuseppe Garibaldi. The ship was originally constructed in two sections (bow and stern) then later joined together.
The Italian Navy will replace its 16 Harriers with 15 (Originally 22, then reduced) F-35B within the next few years. The F-35 schedule is uncertain at the moment, but it is planned to modify the Cavour to support the F-35 by 2016. The Cavour will have room for ten F-35's in the hangar, and six more parked on deck.
- Cavour Aircraft Carrier, Italy
- (Italian) ANSA, "Photostory: Portaerei Cavour, gli aiuti per Haiti", 4 February 2010 (accessed 5 February 2010)
- Excerpts (with photo) about the Cavour mission in Haiti (Italian)
- Mezzi Militari Italiani - Cavour, project development (Italian)
- Nativi, Andy; Menon, Jay; Sweetman, Bill (5 April 2012). "Navies Worldwide Invest In Sea-Based Airpower". Aviation Week. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- ARG. "F-35B on Italian "Cavour" aircraft carrier". Military-today.com. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cavour (550)|
- Cavour on the Marina Militare website (Italian)
- History, technical details and a collection of photo of Cavour (English)
- Naval-Technology (English)