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Cassiopea-class patrol vessel
Spica P403.jpg
Patrol ship Spica (P 403)
Class overview
Name: Cassiopea
Builders: Fincantieri - Muggiano
Operators:  Marina Militare
Completed: 4
Active: Cassiopea (P 401)
Libra (P 402)
Spica (P 403)
Vega (P 404)
General characteristics [1]
Type: patrol ship
Displacement: 1,110 long tons (1,130 t) standard
1,475 long tons (1,499 t) full load
Length: 79.80 m (261 ft 10 in) oa
71.50 m (234 ft 7 in) pp
Beam: 11.80 m (38 ft 9 in)
Draught: 3.60 m (11 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 shafts
2 Grandi Motori Trieste BL-230.16 diesels
8,800 bhp (6,600 kW)
Speed: 21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph) maximum
20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph) continuous
Range: 3,300 nmi (6,100 km; 3,800 mi) at 17 kn (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Endurance: 35 days
Crew: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
1× SMA SPN-748(V)2 Navigation radar
1× AESN SPS-702(v)2 surface search radar
1× AESN SPG-70 fire control radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Elint equipment

Oto Melara 76/62mm MMI
2 × 25 mm/90 cannon[2]

2× 12.7 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: 1 AB.212 helicopter
Aviation facilities: Hangar and flight deck

The Cassiopea class is a heavy series of four patrol boats of the Italian Marina Militare. They were built in the late 1980s on civilian standards. They are designed for patrol in safe areas.

Development and design

In the early 1980s the Italian navy developed two classes of corvettes to replace older vessels. The Minerva-class were fully combatant ships to serve as coastal escorts, and equipped with modern sensors and armament, while the Cassiopea class were simpler offshore patrol vessels intended to replace the old Albatros-class corvettes used for fisheries patrol.[1][3]


Construction of four ships (out of an originally planned eight) was authorised in December 1982, with funding coming from the Ministry of Merchant Marine, while orders were placed in December 1986, with construction at Fincantieri shipyard, Muggiano to merchant ship standards, starting the next year, and the first ship entering service in 1989. A further two ships were cancelled unbuilt in 1991.[1][4]

The ships' main gun armament is a single 76mm/L62 Allargato gun, with both gun and fire control systems coming from scrapped Bergamini-class frigates. The ships are fitted with a flight deck and collapsable hangar to accommodate a helicopter, with an Agusta-Bell AB.212 of the Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) normally carried. The ship also carries equipment for dealing with pollution.[1]



Number Laid Down Launched Commissioned
Cassiopea P 401 16 March 1987 19 July 1988 21 October 1989
Libra P 402 16 March 1987 27 July 1988 23 March 1991
Spica P 403 5 September 1988 27 May 1989 23 March 1991
Vega P 404 30 June 1989 24 February 1990 8 May 1992


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Baker 1998, pp. 380–381.
  2. "Pattugliatori OPV (PG)". (In Italian) Marina Militare. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  3. Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 197.
  4. Grove 1990, p. 95.
  • Baker, A.D. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999. Annapolis, Maryland, USA. ISBN 1-55750-111-4.
  • Gardiner, Roger and Stephen Chumbley. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland, USA. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Grove, Eric J. NATO Major Warships - Europe. Tri-Service Pocketbook. London: Tri-Service Press, 1990. ISBN 1-85400-006-3.

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