The Italian Defense intends to equip itself with a floating platform for the training needs of the Gruppo Operativo Incursori (GOI) of the Navy.
This platform will be used mainly for the conduct of advanced training activities in the areas of hostage rescue operations in the maritime domain and boarding and taking control of merchant vessels in high-risk situations (Oppose and Boarding) by GOI operators.
The said new platform will be positioned and anchored in the Seno del Varignano (SP), the “home” of COMSUBIN, Comando Subacquei ed Incursori della Marina Militare.
The Gruppo Operativo Incursori (GOI) is one of the two articulations of COMSUBIN, Comando Subacquei ed Incursori, and constitutes the Special Forces component of the Navy, whose assigned tasks are normally of a strategic nature.
In fact, the GOI is typically called upon to carry out:
(a) naval Counter-Terrorism operations for the release of hostages on passenger or merchant units and on maritime installations;
b) attack from under the sea surface to naval and merchant units in port or at anchor with the use of different weapon systems;
c) raids against targets along the coast or in depth within the range of 40 km from the coast with projection from the sea;
d) conducting information gathering and/or air and naval fire support missions in hostile territory using covert approach methods;
e) military assistance activities in favor of Armed Forces of third countries;
f) cooperation with national security units in counter-terrorism operations.
The G.O.S. (Gruppo Operativo Subacquei – Scuba Diving Operative Group) is responsible for the support operations to the underwater units on board of auxiliary units of the Navy, de-mining and blasting operations of war remnants, underwater works, search and recovery operations, as well as the experimentation of new tactics and technical supports.
The specialty of the G.O.S. is hyperbaric diving, which allows rescue operations at great depths.
The training platform will also be used for the planning and preparation of special operations, as it is equipped with a “virtual simulation capability” capable of reproducing the many operational scenarios, both naval and land-based, in which GOI operators may be called upon to engage.
The internal structure of the new platform will be articulated on modular ballistic walls, allowing operators to exercise their intervention/disruption capabilities in an environment corresponding to that found on board merchant or passenger vessels, a situation that to date cannot be replicated at any training facility in Italy or abroad.
Therefore, the realization of this new complex training facility “is certainly unique in the European panorama” and will be a driving force for growth in the field of research and development of innovative systems, stimulating the identification of new solutions in the field of the realization of highly competitive facilities, which will bring “the country system in a condition of leadership in the context of national civil shipbuilding.
With reference to the technical characteristics of the program, the Defence Staff specifies that the main structure of the hull will have the typical shape of a catamaran, made of steel and divided into 8 watertight compartments.
The maximum length and width of the structure will be, respectively, 70 and 24 meters, while the height will measure about 8 meters. The internal shooting area will be about 1300 m2 and it will be connected to a video surveillance and environmental control system, managed by a special control room that will supervise the training and integrate it with the necessary to remote inputs (control of the target shapes in pop-up or moving, light control, projection scenarios, smoke, etc.).
Moreover, the platform will be equipped with systems accompanied by adequate maintenance plans to ensure a reduced commitment in terms of ordinary and extraordinary maintenance and logistical support.
As regards the industrial sectors involved, these will mainly be those of shipbuilding, electronics, mechanics and armaments.
The cost of the program, for the period 2021-2026, is estimated at 13.5 million euros, financed from the Ordinary Budget of the Ministry of Defense (chapter 7120-01).
The Multi-year Planning Document 2021-2023 reports that the modernization program of the Gruppo Operativo Incursori (G.O.I.), is aimed at preserving the operational capability of the Navy’s Special Forces in the most specialized sectors with a strong maritime connotation, continuing the activities already started in 2013 for the acquisition of equipment, systems, materials and specific means aimed at increasing interoperability, command and control capability, protection, mobility and sustainability of the special forces. The continuation of the program benefits from resources from art.1 co. 1072 (LdB 2010) and the ordinary defense budget.
It should be pointed out that the Defence Committees of the Chamber and the Senate have expressed a favourable opinion on Ministerial Decree no. 05/2019 SMD (Defence General Staff), regarding the development, acquisition and ten-year logistic support of two new lines of underwater means for the missions entrusted to the Special Forces.
Specifically, this program refers to the development and purchase of two new lines of underwater transporters (TT.S.S), of small dimensions, with high technological content and very high navigation precision, including the relative special weapon systems, C4I systems, integrated optoelectrical systems and specialized underwater equipment, as well as safety equipment.
Moreover, a ten-year integrated logistic support system is foreseen. The program will have a multi-year development in the period 2019 – 2027 for a total cost of 90 million euros (10 million for each year) from the resources referred to in paragraph 1072.
Photo: Italian Navy