After having sailed from La Spezia, the Algerian ship "Kalaat Beni Abbes arrived yesterday at the naval base at Taranto, in southern Italy. This amphibious warfare ship, derived from the Italian navy’s San Giusto-class, and equipped with a “FREMM-alike” combat system, was ordered from the Italian company Orizzonte Naval Systems by the Algerian navy, through an innovative arrangement that includes the supply of an "integrated training package" integrated by the Italian Navy.
The move to Taranto took place 10 months after the ship’s launch, and only two months before the scheduled delivery to the Algerian Navy, once the ship was cleared for the voyage by the Admiral Commanding the Italian navy training center, Rear Admiral Marcello Bernard, after completing post-launch fitting out and initial training, carried out under the responsibility of the 'New Ship Facilities Office’ at La Spezia.
The ship will now remain in port until the end of February 2015, while its crew attends the “naval tirocinio,” which is the last and most difficult part of the training syllabus, and which was designed specifically to be carried out while the ship was being built.
Training will be conducted by the Naval Air Training Center at Taranto, where the Algerian crew has already followed initial instruction "courses" when it first arrived in Italy, in October 2013. The current integrated training provides, through the execution of a targeted sequence of intensive training activities of increasing difficulty, at sea and in port, support until the achievement of full operational capability.
The maiden voyage of the Kalaat Beni Abbes took place in November, under the best weather conditions possible, under the watchful eyes of a group of instructors of the Naval Air Training Center, led by Program Manager Training Project, Captain Massimo Pitarra, and involved the ship’s commander, Colonel Makhlouf, and his crew in the first difficult sailing exercise, involving passage through the Straits of Messina in "precision navigation" order.
The ambitious program calls for the ship to sail home after having completed testing of its missile systems, in April 2015. It will provide the Algerian Navy with a new ship, the largest in the fleet, with the first crew fully trained in record time: little more than three years, considering that first steel was cut in January 2012.
In this context, the synergy between industry and the Navy for the training of foreign naval crews is a valuable resource, since the addition of an integrated training package makes the supply of new ships much more attractive for foreign buyers, and provides a positive image of the country as a "system supplier", thus enhancing both the competitiveness of the domestic shipbuilding industry and the prestige of the Navy.
This cooperation has already produced its beneficial effects, since Algeria has shown its intention of buying a new minesweeper under the same formula that was pioneered with the Kalaat Beni Abbes.