Italian aircraft carrier Cavour

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Cavour (550).jpg
NamesakeCamillo Benso, conte di Cavour
Ordered22 November 2000
Cost1.39 billion (2010)
Laid down17 July 2001
Launched20 July 2004
Commissioned27 March 2008
In service10 June 2009
IdentificationPennant number: 550
MottoIn arduis servare mentem
General characteristics
TypeAircraft carrier
Displacement27,100 metric tons (26,700 long tons)[2] (30,000 MT full load)[3]
Length- 244 m (800 ft 6 in) LOA[4]
  • - 29.1 m (95 ft 6 in)
  • - 39 m (127 ft 11 in) moulded breadth
Draught8.7 m (28 ft 7 in)
Speed+29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph) (Max sustained speed, 85% MCR)
Range7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
  • - 1,202 (90 more on option) of which:
  • - 5 Flag Officers and VIPs
  • - 486 crew
  • - 211 embarked air wing
  • - 140 C4 staff
  • - 360 troops (90 more on option)
Sensors and
processing systems
  • - Selex RAN-40L 3D L-band long-range radar[6]
  • - Selex ES EMPAR (SPY-790) multifunction radar
  • - Selex ES RAN-30X/I RASS (SPS-791) surface radar[6]
  • - 2 × SELEX ES RTN-25X Orion, fire direction radars
  • - PAR (Precision Approach Radar) Selex ES MM/SPN-720
  • - PALS (Precision Approach and Landing System) Telephonics AN/SPN-41A [7]
  • - 2 x GEM Elettronica MM/SPN-753(v)10 navigation radars
  • - Selex ES SIR-R/S IFF system[6]
  • - TACAN SRN-15 A
  • - WASS SNA-2000 Mine Avoidance Sonar (Leonardo Thesan)
  • - 2 x Selex ES IRST SASS (Silent Acquisition and Surveillance System)
  • - GEM Elettronica IRST EOSS-100
  • - underwater telephone
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carried
  • - flight deck: 232.60 m (763 ft 1 in) x 34.5 m (113 ft 2 in)
  • - 20–30[5]
  • hangar capacity:
  • - 134.2 m (440 ft 3 in) x 21.0 m (68 ft 11 in)
  • - 10 × F-35B Lightning II
  • - 12 × AgustaWestland AW101
Notes4 LCVP

Cavour (Italian: portaerei Cavour) is an Italian aircraft carrier launched in 2004. She is the flagship of the Italian Navy.


Cavour (foreground) operating with Harry S. Truman (middle) and Charles de Gaulle (background) in the Gulf of Oman, 2014
Cavour maneuvering in the Gulf of Naples.

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 m (440 ft), 2,800 m2 (30,000 sq ft) 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, accommodating heavy transport helicopters (AgustaWestland UH-101A ASH) and 325 marines (91 more, on option).[8] The Cavour has a displacement of 27,900 tons but can reach more than 30,000 tons at full military capacity.[2]

It complements the Italian navy's other aircraft carrier, the Giuseppe Garibaldi.

The Italian Navy will replace its 16 Harriers with 15 (originally 22) Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IIs.[9] By May 2020, the modernization to allow Cavour to support the F-35B was completed, and the carrier was ready for subsequent integration trials.[10] Cavour will have room for ten F-35Bs in the hangar, and six more parked on deck.[9]


Cavour was laid down by Fincantieri in June 2001, and was launched from the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Sestri Levante, on 20 July 2004.[11] Sea trials began in December 2006, and she was officially commissioned 27 March 2008. Full operational capability (FOC) was reached 10 June 2009.

Service history[edit]

On 19 January 2010, Cavour was dispatched to Haiti as part of Operation White Crane, Italy's operation for 2010 Haiti earthquake relief.[12] This was the first mission of the aircraft carrier, where it supplemented international efforts to provide relief for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[13]

It is reported that modernization works on the Cavour has been completed. In May 2020, it was announced the Italian aircraft carrier will undertake a preparatory training before sailing to the U.S. where the ship will conduct trials with the F-35B STOVL.[10]

In February 2021, Cavour deployed to the United States for its initial period of flying trials with the F-35B. This saw the ship engage in four weeks of verification to determine the performance envelope of the aircraft when operating from the flight deck, using a pair of aircraft from VX-23, the US Navy's Test and Evaluation Squadron. Once these trials are complete, and the ship is passed for operation of the F-35B, it will move to the next phase of fixed-wing flying trials, which will see Italy's own aircraft begin operating from the carrier.[14] On 9 March 2021, USNS John Lenthall replenished her in the western Atlantic Ocean.[15] Then on 20 March, she operated alongside USS Gerald R. Ford in the Atlantic Ocean.[16] On 26 March, she was in Norfolk, Virginia when the F-35B trial was completed.[17] She left Norfolk on 16 April and returned to homeport Taranto on 30 April.[18]

Initial operating capability is expected for 2024.[19]

In February 2022, she was part of interoperability training operations with the American carrier Harry S. Truman and the French carrier Charles de Gaulle in the lead up to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cavour – Marina Militare". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "The world's largest and most powerful aircraft carriers, in pictures". 23 March 2015 – via
  3. ^ "The 10 biggest aircraft carriers – Naval Technology". 5 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Cavour Class". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Cavour Aircraft Carrier, Italy". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Finmeccanica on board of Cavour – DETAIL – Finmeccanica Naval Capabilities". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Griffon Subsidiary Announces $3.6 Million Contract Award from Italian Navy for Aircraft Carrier Landing System; Telephonics Continues Expansion into European Markets". Business Wire. 13 September 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b Nativi, Andy; Menon, Jay; Sweetman, Bill (5 April 2012). "Navies Worldwide Invest In Sea-Based Airpower". Aviation Week.
  10. ^ a b "Italian Navy Cavour Aircraft Carrier ready for F-35B integration tests". Navy Recognition. Navy Recognition. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Italian Navy Launches Conte di Cavour-Class Carrier". Sea Power. 1 September 2004. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  12. ^ "Photostory: Portaerei Cavour, gli aiuti per Haiti" (in Italian). ANSA. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  13. ^ "La portaerei Cavour pronta a partire per Haiti" (in Italian). la 16 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  14. ^ "The aircraft carrier ITS Cavour started Sea Trials to achieve her "Ready For Operation" certification". Marina Militaire. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Italian Navy Capt. Giancarlo Ciappina, commanding officer, Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550)". DVIDS. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  16. ^ "USS Gerald R. Ford Completes another Independent Steaming Event - Shock Trials are Next". Naval News. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  17. ^ Reim2021-03-26T22:47:00+00:00, Garrett. "F-35B completes sea trials on Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour". Flight Global. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Italian Navy Cavour aircraft carrier is back in Italy ready for operational deployment with F-35B". Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  19. ^ "F-35B lands on Italian carrier for the first time". UK Defence Journal. 4 March 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  20. ^ "NATO Allies Exercise Interoperability In The Mediterranean Sea". 6 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.


  • Cosentino, Michael (2014). "Cavour: A Multi-Role Aircraft Carrier for the Italian Navy". In Jordan, John (ed.). Warship 2014. London: Conway. pp. 93–111. ISBN 978-1-84486-236-8.

External links[edit]