Italian Navy decommissions Soldati-class patrol vessel ITS Bersagliere

The Italian Navy decommissioned its third Soldati-class patrol ship ITS Bersagliere in a ceremony at Italian naval base La Spezia on April 17.

Bersagliere was decommissioned after 23 years of service in a ceremony attended by Italian Navy Chief Admiral Valter Girardelli and other government and defense officials.

Bersagliere was launched on June 20, 1985, in Ancona, as the third Italian Navy ship to bear the name, honoring the Italian Army Bersagliere corps.

During its time in service, the ship sailed 322,000 nautical miles taking part in numerous national and international missions. In 1996, the ship circumnavigated the world visiting 35 ports in 23 countries.

The ship is one of four vessels in its class which were initially built for Iraq as Lupo-class frigates in the 1980s. Due to restriction on arms sales to Iraq following the Iran-Iraq War and Iraq’s subsequent invasion of Iraq, the vessels stayed in Italy where they were stripped of anti-submarine warfare equipment and commissioned into Italian Navy service as patrol vessels.

The decommissioning of ITS Bersagliere is part of the the navy’s fleet modernization program which will see the vessel count decline by an estimated 65 percent within the next decade.

Vessels already decommissioned as part of the program include frigates Maestrale and Aliseo, corvettes Minerva, Sibilla, Danaide and Urania, offshore patrol boats Granatiere and Artigliere and minesweepers Lerici and Sapri.