The Giuseppe Garibaldi is a conventionally-powered aircraft carrier in active service with the Italian Navy. She is designed to field the Harrier II series of VTOL aircraft and serves as the flagship of the Italian naval branch of service. The vessel is named after General Giuseppe Garibaldi, a soldier serving through the 1800's in conflicts ranging from Europe to South America.
Design-wise, the Giuseppe Garibaldi maintains many common features with traditional carriers. Her elongated island superstructure takes up a good portion of her starboard side while the straight flight deck dominates the stern to bow and across port. The flight deck has a slightly noticeable elevated end for improved short-take offs of her Harrier jets. Her superstructure features two distinct masts. Being a conventionally-powered system, the Garibaldi derives hers from quadruple General Electric/Avio LM2500 gas turbine engines producing 82,000 horsepower. This is supplemented by no fewer than 6 diesel-powered generators. Top optimal speed is 30 knots with a range of over 8,000 miles. Her crew consists of 630 sailors, 100 staff and 100 members comprising her air group.
The offensive punch of the Garibaldi comes from her modest collection of the aforementioned AV-8B Harrier II series of aircraft, capable of vertical and horizontal flight. Classified as fighter-bombers, the Harrier II series is a capable performer featuring a variety of hardpoints to field a plethora of munition types. Additionally, support roles such as anti-ship, anti-submarine and airborne early warning (AEW) are handled by helicopter models under the European Agusta brand. Self-defense comes from her 2 x quadruple surface-to-air missile launchers, 3 x 40mm cannons and 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes.
As with any carrier worth her weight on the seas, the Garibaldi is made potent not just by the size of her air arm but also by the sensors and systems that help her air arm function optimally. These processing systems include early warning radars, surface search radars, navigation and approach radars fire control systems and hull-mounted sonar. Her electronic countermeasures suite revolves around the SLQ-732 jamming system and this is further augmented by her SCLAR decoy launcher, SLAT anti-torpedo system and SLQ-25 "Nixie" tow torpedo decoy.
The Giuseppe Garibaldi was laid down in 1981 by Fincantieri and launched in 1983. She was officially commissioned in 1985 and makes her home port in Taranto. She fights under the banner of "Obbedisco" which roughly translates to "Obey".