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Italian Naval Presence In The Baltic Sea

On Saturday, January 13th, the Italian missile frigate Luigi Rizzo (F 595) of the Carlo Bergamini-class designed for the FREMM (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione) project entered the naval base in Gdynia.

The ships of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) have been regularly visiting Polish naval bases in Gdynia and Świnoujście until May 2023. It is related to the increased activities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) maritime forces in the Baltic Sea. So far, the following ships have been on duty in the Baltic Sea:

  • Caio Duilio (May 2023 – July 2023);
  • Antonio Marceglia (July 2023 – January 2024).

Photos: Michał Szafran, MILMAG

Luigi Rizzo is the sixth frigate of the Carlo Bergamini-class. The vessel entered service in April 2017. Ships of this type are 145 meters in length and can reach a speed of 27 knots. Currently, a pair of new ships of the same type are under construction in shipyards in La Spezia and Taranto to replace two Carlo Bergamini-class frigates originally built for the Marina Militare – Spartaco Schergat and Emilio Bianchi that were bought by Egypt in 2020. In total, Italy plans to operate ten FREMM frigates and is considering ordering an additional two after 2025.

Their armament consists of:

  • single Leonardo Otobreda 127/64 Vulcano naval gun;
  • single OTO Melara 76/62 Davide\Strales naval gun;
  • two OTO Melara 25/80 naval guns;
  • two MU90 Impact torpedo launchers;
  • two quadruple launchers with Teseo Mk.2 anti-ship missiles;
  • Sylver A50 Vertical Launching System with 16 Aster 15\30 anti-aircraft missiles.

Ship is equipped with the Leonardo Kronos Grand Naval radar with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna operating in the C-band. It also features the following Leonardo radars: the RASS (RAN-30X-I) surface search radar,SPS-732(V2) surface radar operating in the I-band, SPN-730 LPI navigation radar operating in the J-band, and GEM-Elettronica MM/SPN-753 radar. Additionally, there is a Leonardo SPN-720 radar for helicopter landing support. The vessels are also equipped with Thales UMS 4110 CL hull sonar and Thales UMS 4249 CAPTAS4 towed sonar. The entire system is integrated with the SAAM-ESD (Surface Anti Air Missile – Extended Self Defense) combat management system and Leonardo Athena combat system.

The vessel can carry two NH90 NFI naval helicopters or a single SH-101A.

F 595 was named in honor of the Italian Admiral Luigi Rizzo, who distinguished himself as a torpedo boat commander during World War I. He participated in the sinking of Austro-Hungarian SMS Wien and SMS Szent István, as well as in daring actions in the Adriatic Sea.

The regular presence of Italian ships in the Baltic Sea is another action by the maritime forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Their goal is to support allies and send a signal to Russia that critical infrastructure and trade routes are protected by NATO vessels.


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