Early completion of refit of Italian aircraft carrier

Extensive maintenance and modernization work on the Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi is being completed months ahead of schedule.

ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551) Photo: US Navy, by Rob Gaston
ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551) Photo: US Navy, by Rob Gaston

The Italian Navy said on Friday, October 17, that work on the carrier is now slated to be complete at the Taranto Arsenal, a Navy shipyard and base, on Nov. 10, instead of March of next year, when the ship completes post-refit sea trials.

The work on the ship involved nearly all the ship’s systems, including the propulsion system, which was replaced; the electric generation system; the flight deck; all the flight operations support systems; aircraft lifts and aircraft handling equipment; and combat system’s sensors and weapons.

Work on the ship began in October of last year and carried a cost of about $14 million.

In 2009 Giuseppe Garibaldi has been joined as the flagship of the Italian navy by the new and larger carrier Cavour. The air group on board the Garibaldi consists of a maximum sixteen AV-8B Harrier IIs and two search and rescue helicopter, or eighteen helicopters or a mix of helicopters and fighters. In service since 1985, the Garibaldi was nearing its 30 years life span and could not be supported without these refits.

However, her service at sea is likely be short lived – without the preparation for future F-35 operations, (implemented with Cavour), the Garibaldi was considered to be sent on early retirement as part of cost cutting measured planned by the Italian Ministry of Defense.

Italian Navy flagship Giuseppe Garibaldi (C_551)