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Lupo-class frigate
MM Sagittario Distant Drum 1983.jpg
MM Sagittario (F-565)
Class overview
Builders: Cantieri Navali Riuniti (CNR)
Operators:  Marina Militare
 Peruvian Navy
 Bolivarian Armada of Venezuela
Preceded by: Alpino-class frigate
Succeeded by: Maestrale-class frigate
Subclasses: Carvajal class
Mariscal Sucre class
Artigliere class
In commission: July 20, 1977
Planned: 18
Completed: 18
Active: 14
Retired: 4
General characteristics
Type: guided missile frigate
Displacement: 2,506 tonnes (2,986 tonnes full load)
Length: 113.2 m (371 ft)
Beam: 11.3 m (37 ft)
Draft: 3.7 m (12 ft)

2-shaft CODOG system

  • 2 GE / Fiat LM2500 gas turbines 50,000 shp (37 MW)
  • 2 GMT A230-20 diesel engines 7,800 shp (5.8 MW)
Speed: 35 kn (65 km/h) with gas turbines
21 kn (39 km/h) with diesels
Range: 4,300 nmi (8,000 km) at 16 kn (30 km/h)
Complement: 185 (20 officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • SADOC 2 combat management system
  • 1 SPS-774 (RAN-10S) early warning radar
  • 1 SPQ-2F CORA OTH surface search radar
  • 1 SPS-702 (or RAN-11L/X) air/surface search radar
  • 1 SPG-70 (RTN-10X) fire control radar
  • 1 Mk 95 fire control radar
  • 2 SPG-74 (RTN-20X) fire control radar
  • 1 SPN-748 navigation radar
  • 1 DE 1160B (SQS-56) hull sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • SLR-4 ESM system
  • SLQ-D ECM system
  • SLQ-25 Nixie torpedo decoy
  • 2 SCLAR decoy launchers
  • Armament:
  • 8 Otomat Mk 2 SSMs
  • 1 Mk.29 octuple launcher for Sea Sparrow/Aspide SAM
  • 2 Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes
  • 1 OTO Melara 127/54 mm gun
  • 2 OTO Melara Twin 40L70 DARDO compact gun
  • Aircraft carried: 1 AB-212ASW helicopter
    Aviation facilities:
    • Flight deck: 25.2 x 11.3 m
    • Telescopic hangar for 1 medium helicopter.

    The Lupo class is a class of frigates built by Cantieri Navali Riuniti (CNR) for the Italian Navy. Designed as multipurpose warships with emphasis on anti-surface warfare (ASuW), they have enjoyed some success in the export market, being acquired by the navies of Peru and Venezuela. A small run of a slightly updated version is known as the Soldati class.


    In the early 1970s, the Marina Militare faced an increased Soviet naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea which constituted a threat to its sea lines of communication as well as to its extensive coastline. To parry this menace, Italy started a naval expansion program which included frigates focused on ASuW (Lupo class) and on ASW (Maestrale class).

    For the first part of the requirement, CNR presented a design for a 2,500-ton frigate with a high speed and a heavy weapons load. The ship employed a CODOG propulsion plant to achieve 35 knots, making it one of the fastest warships at the time. Armament included 8 SSMs, 8 SAMs, several gun systems, 2 triple torpedo tubes and an ASW helicopter, which was equivalent to that carried by larger warships. Lupo-class frigates have a crew of around 200.

    Italian Navy

    The Marina Militare commissioned four Lupo-class frigates between 1977 and 1980. These ships were deployed to the Persian Gulf first as escorts for tankers during the last stages of the Iran–Iraq War (1987–1988) and then as part of the Coalition forces during the 1990–1991 Gulf War. After this operations the whole class underwent modernization which included fitting an SPS-702 CORA surface search radar and SATCOM equipment. After two decades in service, the four Italian Lupo-class frigates were decommissioned and sold to Peru in the early 2000s.

    In 1996 four new Lupo class frigates which had been built for Iraq in 1985-87 (see below), were incorporated into the Marina Militare as the Artigliere class. These ships feature a telescopic hangar; they were refitted as patrol ships and changes made for Italian service included the removal of all ASW equipment. The four ships are Artigliere ("artilleryman" - pennant F 582), Aviere ("aviator" - F 583), Bersagliere ("sharpshooter" - F 584) and Granatiere ("grenadier" - F 585), and are used in fleet escort or long range patrolling duties.

    Artigliere has been placed in reserve.[1]

    Peruvian Navy

    Peru became involved early in the Lupo class frigate program, ordering four ships in 1973. The Peruvian ships were built to a modified design which included different radars, Aspide instead of Sea Sparrow SAMs and a fixed instead of a telescopic hangar. The first two were built by CNR at its shipyard in Riva Trigoso, Genoa, and commissioned in 1979.

    Construction work for the second pair was carried out under license by SIMA (Servicio Industrial de la Marina, Navy Industrial Service) at Callao, with the ships commissioning in 1984 and 1987. Of the Peruvian Lupos, BAP Carvajal (FM-51), BAP Mariátegui (FM-54), BAP Villavicencio (FM-52) and BAP Montero (FM-53) have had their flight decks extended to allow ASH-3D Sea King helicopters to land and refuel, even though they cannot be housed in the ship's hangar.

    In November 2004 other "Lupo" class were incorporated into the Peruvian Navy: BAP Aguirre (FM-55) and BAP Palacios (FM-56). Finally in August 2006 the last Italian "Lupo" ships arrived in Callao: BAP Quiñones (FM-58) and BAP Bolognesi (FM-57)

    Venezuelan Navy

    Venezuela ordered six Lupo-class frigates from CNR in 1975 as a replacement for older warships. These units were commissioned between 1980 and 1982. In general terms, their appearance and equipment is similar to those built for Peru, except for some small differences in electronics. The first two ships, ARV Mariscal Sucre (F-21) and ARV Almirante Brión (F-22) were upgraded by Ingalls Shipbuilding over a four years period (1998–2002). Modifications have included:

    • Fitting of Elbit NTCS 2000 combat management system
    • Fitting of Elta EL/M-2238 Single Face STAR 3D air/surface radar
    • Fitting of Northrop Grumman 21 HS-7 hull sonar
    • Fitting of Elisra NS-9003 ESM system
    • Fitting of Elisra NS-9005 ECM system
    • Replacement of 2 GMT A230-20M diesel engines with 2 MTU 20V 1163.

    The other ships in Venezuelan service are expected to undergo an austere version of this upgrade.

    Soldati class patrol frigate

    Iraq ordered four Lupo-class frigates from CNR in 1980 as part of a naval expansion program just before the Iran–Iraq War.[2] These ships, which feature a telescopic hangar were completed between 1985 and 1987. Due to restrictions on arm sales to Iraq because of the Iran-Iraq War placed by the Italian prime minister Bettino Craxi, the ships remained interned in Italy until the end of that war in 1988. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein then tried to renegotiate the price of these ships (and the other ships purchased from Italy), claiming he should receive a discount due the delay in delivery of the ships.[3] Negotiations and court proceedings were still ongoing when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and a new arms embargo against Iraq was placed by the United Nations, again blocking the sale.[4] In 1993 all of them were seized and, after being refitted as patrol ships, incorporated to the Marina Militare as the Soldati class in 1996. Changes made for Italian service included the removal of all ASW equipment. The four ships are Artigliere (pennant F 582), Aviere (F 583), Bersagliere (F 584) and Granatiere (F 585), and are used in fleet escort or long range patrolling duties. The Soldati class is among the items the Philippines is taking into consideration for acquisition as the Philippines and Italy recently signed a 5-year agreement for a fast track procurement of Italian-supplied new and used military equipment.[5]



    • Faulkner, Keith, Jane's Warship Recognition Guide. 2nd edition. Jane's Information Group, 1999.
    • (Spanish) Rodríguez, John, "Las fragatas Lupo: una breve mirada retrospectiva y perspectivas". Revista de Marina, Year 95, No. 3: 8–32 (July / December 2002).


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