On 10 March, a Memorandum of Understanding for the continuation of the close partnership between Italy and Germany concerning the construction of submarines was concluded between the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support and the Italian Ministry of Defense.
“The long-standing partnership between Italy and Germany in the field of constructing conventional submarines has proved an example of a sustainable and successful intergovernmental cooperation. Submarine class U212A is a technically and operationally proven platform; it is excellently integrated into the logistic system and is among the best on the market. Today’s signature, which extends the existing cooperation in the submarine area to the aspects of research and technology, will further strengthen our excellent relationship at government and industry level,” said Rear Admiral Ruggiero Di Biase who signed the agreement on behalf of Italy as armament program coordinator at the Italian Ministry of Defense.
He continued: “It is to be expected that this cooperation model, which has been successful both in its planning phase and its procurement phase, will be joined by other European nations who are considering such options with great interest. Cost savings are significant and the advantages during use and with regard to interoperability doubtlessly exist. This is the only viable way of renewing own submarine forces and guaranteeing a long service life.” He was accompanied by Rear Admiral Dario Giacomin, the head of the Italian submarine program.
Harald Stein, Director-General of BAAINBw and contract signatory for the German side, clearly supported this: “We have been cooperating successfully with Italy in the field of submarine class U212A for more than 20 years and we are pleased to be able to prolong and expand the existing partnership. I am convinced that both nations will benefit equally from this cooperation also in future. Apart from that, it can serve as an orientation for the defense sector – and has the potential for expansion.”
The first agreement of this type (Memorandum of Understanding) was concluded in 1996 and amended in the meantime. Currently, Italy is planning to procure more submarines and wishes to use German submarine technology, which the Federal Ministry of Defense recently declared a key technology, also in the future.
The smooth communication and cooperation with the Italian armed forces is guaranteed by the Italian liaison office based in Koblenz which is largely integrated into the structures of BAAINBw and the submarine project managed there.
So far Italy has procured four U212A class submarines which are largely identical to the German submarines of this class. The fourth submarine is about to be delivered to the Italian navy. They are built at the Italian shipyard Financieri in La Spezia; the German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel is responsible for the design.