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Italian aircraft carrier Cavour (550)
Cavour (550).jpg
Cavour (550)
Career (Italy)
Name: Cavour
Builder: Fincantieri
Laid down: 17 July 2001
Launched: 20 July 2004
Commissioned: 27 March 2008
In service: 10 June 2009
Homeport: La Spezia
Motto: In Arduis Servare Mentem
Status: Active
General characteristics
Type: CVH aircraft carrier
Displacement: 27,100 tonnes; 30,000 tonnes (full-load)[1]
Length: 244 m
Beam: 39 m
Draught: 8.7 m
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric/Avio LM2500+ gas turbines providing 88.000  hp
6 × Diesel generators (13.200 KW)
Speed: 28+ knots
Range: 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement: 451 Crew
203 Fleet Air Arm
140 C4 staff
325 Marines (standard)
Armament: 4 × 8 cell A-43 Sylver launchers carrying the MBDA Aster 15 surface to air missile
2 × Oto Melara 76/62 mm Super Rapido gun
3 × Oerlikon Contraves 25/80 mm AA gun
Aircraft carried:


30 max load.
Notes: Pennant 550

Cavour (550) (Italian language: Portaerei Cavour ) is an Italian aircraft carrier (CVH) and the newest flagship of the Italian Navy (Marina Militare). She is named after the Italian statesman and politician Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour.



Cavour was laid down by Fincantieri on 17 July 2001, and she was launched from the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Sestri Levante, on 20 July 2004. Sea trials began in December 2006, and she was officially commissioned 27 March 2008. Full Operational Capability (FOC) was reached 10 June 2009. The ship was never moved to Taranto, as usually happens for the maintenance of the Italian Navy ships, because the dock is not deep enough to host it. It stays in Muggiano harbor, close to La Spezia.

First mission

On 19 January 2010, Cavour was dispatched to Haiti as part of Operation White Crane, Italy's operation for 2010 Haiti earthquake relief.[3] This was the first mission of the aircraft carrier, where it supplemented international efforts to provide relief for the victims of the January 2010 earthquake.[4]


The Cavour maneuvering

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 (EH 101 ASH) and 325 marines.

Cavour has a displacement of 27,900 tons but can reach more than 30,000 tons at full military capacity, after improvements done in 2008.

Initially she was to be named after Luigi Einaudi, then Admiral Andrea Doria, before receiving her current title. Now that Cavour has become operational, it is the Nuova Unità Maggiore (NUM, or New Main Unit) of the Marina Militare, complementing the Giuseppe Garibaldi. The ship was originally constructed in two sections (bow and stern) then later joined together.

The Italian Navy will replace its 16 Harriers with 15 (originally 22) F-35B within the next few years.[5] The F-35 schedule is uncertain at the moment, but it is planned to modify the Cavour to support the F-35 by 2016.[6] The Cavour will have room for ten F-35s in the hangar, and six more parked on deck.[5]

See also


  2. "Cavour Aircraft Carrier, Italy". Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  3. (Italian) ANSA, "Photostory: Portaerei Cavour, gli aiuti per Haiti", 4 February 2010 (accessed 5 February 2010)
  4. Excerpts (with photo) about the Cavour mission in Haiti (Italian)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nativi, Andy; Menon, Jay; Sweetman, Bill (5 April 2012). "Navies Worldwide Invest In Sea-Based Airpower". 
  6. ARG. "F-35B on Italian "Cavour" aircraft carrier". Retrieved 4 December 2011. 

External links

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