Kongsberg has announced a NOK 150 million (about $24 million equivalent) contract from Finmeccanica’s Italian shipyard Fincantieri. Kongsberg will deliver 2 command and weapon control systems, which will equip 2 more Salvatore Todaro/ U212A Class submarines that Fincantieri is building for the Italian Navy. ThyssenKrupp and Fincantieri worked together on the design under a 1996 Memorandum of Agreement, and Salvatore Todaro was commissioned in 2006.
The U212A is a modernized outgrowth of ThyssenKrupp’s ubiquitous U209 Class, with the addition of supplemental air-independent propulsion systems for quieter operation and long dives. Since diesel-electric submarines are most detectable, and most vulnerable, when they surface for air to feed their engines, AIP is a big step forward for non-nuclear submarines. In April 2006, a German U-212A set a world record for non-nuclear subs with a two-week-long dive from Eckernfoerde in Germany to Rota in Spain.
The combat system contract was won against international competition, but Kongsberg came in with a number of advantages. One is commonality; a 1998 contract had already supplied the Salvatore Todaro and the Scire with Kongsberg’s combat system. The second advantage is history. Kongsberg has more than 35 years’ experience of delivering command and weapon control systems for Norwegian, German and Italian submarines.