Italian Navy decommissions its final two Minerva-class corvettes

The Italian Navy retired the last of its Minerva-class corvettes in a sunset ceremony at the Augusta naval base on September 25.

Photo: Italian Navy

With the decommissioning of ITS Driade and ITS Minerva after their 30-year service, the navy is advancing its plan of downsizing an ageing fleet.

Driade and Minerva were the final two of eight ships in their class.

The navy started decommissioning the ships in 2015, with four units being sold to Bangladesh where they serve as offshore patrol vessels and others awaiting disposal.

In addition to the corvettes, the Italian Navy is also decommissioning Maestrale-class frigates, patrol vessels and minesweepers. The downsizing is expected to reduce the vessel count by 65 percent within a decade.

The retired units will be replaced by the six recently-ordered multipurpose offshore patrol ships (PPA), the first of which was launched in June this year, and the FREMM frigates. The Italian defense ministry has ten FREMM frigates in the class on order, four anti-submarine variants and six general-purpose variants.

Italy is also building a new helicopter carrier, and a 193-meter-long logistics support ship.