Italian Navy / Marina Militare Italiana - Guided Missile Helicopter Cruiser

C 550 - ITS Vittorio Veneto



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c 550 its vittorio veneto helicopter cruiser italian navy

Type, Class:


Guided Missile Helicopter Cruiser; one-of-a-kind;



Navalmeccanica - Stabilimenti Navali e Meccanici Napoletani S.p.A.

Castellammare di Stabia (Naples), Italy



Laid down: June 10, 1965

Launched: February 5, 1967

Commissioned: October 31, 1969

Decommissioned: 2003 / official disarmed June 29, 2006

Fate: scheduled to become a museum in the port of Taranto






named after and in honor of the city of Vittorio Veneto (4559N 1218E)

Ships Motto:



Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)


Displacement: 8850 tons (full load)

Length: 179,6 meters

Beam: 19,4 meters

Draft: 4,7 meters

Speed: 32 knots (59 kmh)

Propulsion: 2 geared steam turbines / 4 Foster-Wheeler boilers / 73000 shp

Crew: 557

Aircraft: 6 SH-3D Sea King or 9 Agusta-Bell AB212 helicopters


Armament (as built):

1 Mk-10 missile launcher for 40 RIM-2 Terrier and 20 RUR-5 ASROC

8 Oto-Melara 76/62mm guns (3/62 caliber)

2 Mk-32 triple torpedo tubes (324mm) for Mk-46 or A244 torpedos


Armament (after modernization 1980-82):

1 Mk-10 missile launcher for 40 RIM-67 Standard Missile ER and 20 RUR-5 ASROC

8 Oto-Melara 76/62mm guns (3/62 caliber)

3 Oto-Melara twin 40L70 DARDO close-in weapon systems

4 OTOMAT Teseo Mk-2 SSM

2 Mk-32 triple torpedo tubes (324mm) for Mk-46 or A244 torpedos


1 SPS-52 early warning radar

1 SPS-768 long range radar

1 SPQ-2 surface radar

2 SPG-55 missile fire control radar

4 Orion 10X fire control radar (for 76/62 gun)

2 Orion 20X fire control radar (for 40L70 Dardo)


ship images


c-550 its vittorio veneto helicopter cruiser guided missile italian navy mmi


 c 550 vittorio veneto guided missile helicopter cruiser


c 550 its vittorio veneto guided missile helicopter cruiser


c 550 its vittorio veneto cruiser taranto port


c 550 vittorio veneto guided missile helicopter cruiser line drawing




Vittorio Veneto:

Vittorio Veneto is a city and comune situated in the Province of Treviso, in the region of Veneto, Italy, in the northeast of the Italian peninsula, between the Piave and the Livenza rivers.


ITS Vittorio Veneto (C 550):


Vittorio Veneto is a helicopter cruiser that served with the Italian Navy. Originally it was intended to be a class of two ships specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), but only Vittorio Veneto entered into service in 1969, its sister ship ITALIA being cancelled. Vittorio Veneto was decommissioned in 2003. This ship has the same general layout as the smaller Andrea Doria class helicopter cruisers, but with two elevators in the flight deck and the hangar below.

Though the Andrea Doria class class helicopter cruisers proved a useful addition to the fleet, it was judged that a larger ship was necessary. Such a vessel would be able operate a larger airwing and provide helicopter support in bad weather conditions. These considerations led to the Vittorio Veneto class, of which two ships were originally planned, though only one was actually built.

The first (and only) ship was laid down on July 10, 1965 and launched on July 12, 1969 at the Navalmeccanica plant of Castellammare di Stabia. It entered in service in the October of the same year, in the naval base of Taranto. Vittorio Veneto remained the flagship of the Marina Militare until the aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi was commissioned in 1985.

Vittorio Veneto has a displacement of 7500 tons standard and 8,850 tons fully loaded. Unlike the Andrea Dorias she has two combination mast/funnelss, rather than separate funnels like the Andrea Dorias. The second major difference in design is the location of the helicopter facilities. Vittorio Veneto has a raised read deck to accommodate a hangar beneath the helicopter platform, rather than a frigate/destroyer style hangar in the superstructure. There are two elevators to transfer the helicopters between the hangar and the deck.

Originally she carried an armament similar to the Andrea Dorias comprising a Terrier anti-aircraft system situated in front of the bridge, which could also be used to launch ASROC antisubmarine rockets. Compared to the Andrea Dorias Vittorio Veneto's missile magazine has a third drum, increasing magazine capacity by a third. Her secondary armament consisted of 8 dual-purpose OTO-Melara 76/62mm guns in a ring around the super structure. Finally she had 2 Mk-32 324 mm triple torpedo launchers. She could operate up to nine light helicopters, of the types Agusta-Bell AB-204 or later AB-212 or six heavy helicopters of the type AB-61 (SH-3 Sea King), which could be housed in the hangar beneath the long rear deck.

The electronics were rather advanced for the time, comprising a three-dimensional AN/SPS-52 B radar and an SPS-768 (RAN 3L) air search radar. For antisubmarine warfare an AN/SQS-23 sonar set was installed.

Vittorio Veneto was propelled by two steam turbines providing 73,000 shp, for a maximum speed of 30 knots. Like the Andrea Dorias she had a sets of stabilizing fins to improve stability for helicopter operations.

The ship underwent an extensive update between 1981 and 1984. The electronics were updated, and launchers for Otomat missiles were installed, together with three OTO Melara Twin 40L70 DARDO CIWS compact gun mounts for AA defence and Standard SM-1ER SAM missiles to replace the Terrier SAM. The engine feeding system was shifted from nafta to diesel fuel for standardisation and environmental reasons.

Vittorio Veneto ran aground in bad weather off the port of Vlore on April 22, 1997. At the time she was acting as the flagship of a multinational task-force that protected aid deliveries to Albania. It took four tugboats to pull her free. No damage to the ship or injuries to the crew were reported by the Italian navy.

After 1985 Vittorio Veneto served mainly as a training ship. She was decommissioned in 2003, being the last cruiser in service with any Western European fleet. Vittorio Veneto will become a museum ship within Taranto harbour.





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