The Italian Navy 2008 commissioned aircraft carrier (Portaaerei in Italian) ITS CAVOUR C 550 entered Catania Port on Friday 11th May 2018.
Upon her arrival 2 tractor tugs BELGIO (95) and FINLANDIA (96) left breakwater to assist her with maneuvering though hardly they push on her.
She was laid down by Fincantieri in June 2001, and was launched from the Riva Trigoso shipyard on 20th July 2004. She was officially commissioned 27th March 2008 with Full operational capability (FOC) was reached 10th June 2009.
Her first deployment was on Tuesday 19th January 2010 when she was sent to Haiti as part of Operation White Crane, Italy’s operation for 2010 Haiti earthquake relief where she supplemented international efforts to provide relief for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
ITS CAVOUR is designed to combine fixed wing V/STOL and helicopter air operations, command and control operations, and the transport of military or civil personnel and heavy vehicles.
And she berthed at Sporgento Centrale Banchina 10 and 11 where normally we see cruise liners berthed at the place in peak times.
And on Saturday 12th May, Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos (MSPAP) was invited aboard. Definitely it wasn’t the first time that we saw her mainly in Italy.
The 134 m, 2,800 m2 (30,000 sq ft) hangar space can double as a vehicle hold capable of holding up to 24 main battle tanks or many more lighter vehicles and is fitted aft with access ramps rated to 70 tons, as well as two elevators rated up to 30 tons for aircraft. In the hangar one could see one of the embarked Harriers – AV 8B Harrier II – MM7201 coded 1-05.
Her flight deck dimensions are 232.60 m long with 34.5 m width with a 12° ski jump.
On the flight deck one could see AV-8B+ Harrier II and TAV-8B+ Harrier II aircraft which are assigned to Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati ‘Wolves’ (GRUPAER – embarked aircraft group) and shore based at Taranto-Grottaglie Air Station.
During the Libyan Uprising back to 2011 during Operation Unified Protector (OUP), as part of the 2011 military intervention in Libya, Wolves operating from ITS GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI C 551 , flew in sorties with Italian Airforce Typhoon and aircraft of other nations of which they conducted airstrikes as well as intelligence and reconnaissance sorties over Libya, using the LITENING targeting pods while armed with AIM-120 AMRAAMs and AIM-9 Sidewinders.
The eight Italian Navy AV-8Bs flying from ITS GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI C 551 dropped 160 guided bombs during 1,221 flight hours.