Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Naval Warfare

Cassiopea (class)

Patrol Vessel [ 1989 ]

The Cassiopea-class patrol vessel group was formed towards the end of the Cold War period for the Italian Navy - they continue in active service today.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/19/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Four ships currently make up the Cassiopea-class patrol vessel group of the modern Italian Navy. These are warships built during the later stages of the Cold War period (1947-1991) and developed to support Italian interests along her expansive coastline and into Mediterranean waters. The class is led by Cassiopea (P-401) joined by sister ships Libra (P-402), Spica (P-403) and Vega (P-404). All maintain an active status in the Italian Navy today (2018). They are expected to serve into the early 2020s.

The Cassiopea-class ships were conceived concurrently with the larger Minerva-class, the former intended for near-shore operation while the latter developed to operate in deeper waters along the Italian shoreline. With the broader mission set, the Minerva-class was better outfitted for direct-combat sorties and the Cassiopea-class was left more streamlined due to their relatively reduced role. The Italian government granted the purchase of the Cassiopea-class in late-1982 and contracts were given in 1986 for their construction - awarded to Fincantieri of Muggiano.

Lead-ship Cassiopea was laid down on March 16th, 1987 and launched on July 19th, 1988. She was formally commissioned on October 21st, 1989. Libra followed on March 16th, 1987 and was launched on July 27th, 1988 to be commissioned on March 23rd, 1991. Spica began construction on September 5th, 1988 and was launched on May 27th, 1989, commissioned later on March 23rd, 1991. Vega, the last of the class, was laid down on June 30th, 1989 and launched on February 24th, 1990. She was commissioned on May 8th, 1992.

The ships have a conventional, Cold War-era appearance about them as their development occurred during the "pre-stealth" period as warships go. Their bows were given an elevated hull line which remained unbroken (and lower) towards the stern. The forecastle showcased a single turreted main deck gun with the bridge superstructure aft of this placement, integrated with an enclosed main mast which also saw a surface-search radar system fitted. The smoke funnels were also integrated into the hull superstructure with a low-profile, side-by-side design arrangement. A polemast was added aft of these structures near midships. The quarterdeck over the stern section became home to a helipad for supporting a single medium-life navy helicopter (typically Agusta-Bell AB-212 outfitted for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role). Complete hangar facilities were also included.©MilitaryFactory.com
The ships operate through a multi-diesel propulsion scheme consisting of 2 x Grandi Motori Trieste BL-230.16 marine diesels coupled with 3 x Isotta-Fraschini ID 36SS6V diesel generators driving power to 2 x Shafts under stern. There is also a single Isotta-Fraschini VM-V613oT unit for emergency power. The relatively compact warship, therefore, makes headway at speeds reaching 21 knots and ranges out to 3,300 nautical miles.

Dimensions include a running length of 261.9 feet with a beam of 38.8 feet and a draught of 11.9 feet. Displacement under standard loads reaches 1,130 tons and 1,500 tons under full loads.

The class is outfitted with the SMA SPN-748(V)2 navigational aid, the AESN SPS-702(v)2 surface-search radar suite, the AESN SPG-70 (RTN-10X) Fire-Control (FC) radar unit and the GEM Elettronica Gemeni-DB navigational radar. A complete Electronic Warfare (EW) kit is also carried.

Armament is 1 x 76mm /62 caliber OTO-Melara Allagarto turreted main deck gun backed by 2 x OTO-Melara 25mm /80 caliber secondary guns. Beyond this the crew can operate up to 2 x 7.62mm MG42/59 general purpose machine guns against extremely-close-ranged threats approaching the ship.

Aboard is a crew of 60 personnel including six officer-level candidates. Onboard stores allow the ships to operate for up to 35 days before requiring some sort of resupply.

From 2014 onward, the class received a few modern installations centered on navigation and radar.

The Italian Navy currently (2018) operates three distinct patrol classes: Comandanti-class, Sirio-class and Cassiopea-class collectively numbering ten ships.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Italy national flag graphic

In Active Service.


Cassiopea (P-401); Libra (P-402); Spica (P-403); Vega (P-404)

National flag of Italy Italy
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Operation
Activities conducted near shorelines in support of allied activities.

261.9 ft
79.83 m
38.8 ft
11.83 m
11.9 ft
3.63 m

Installed Power: 2 x Grandi Motori Trieste BL-230.16 diesel engines with 3 x Isotta Frashchini ID 36SS6V diesel engines driving 2 x Shafts under stern.
Surface Speed
21.0 kts
(24.2 mph)
3,302 nm
(3,800 mi | 6,116 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
1 x 76mm /62 caliber OTO-Melara turreted main gun.
2 x 25mm /80 caliber OTO-Melara KBA Dual-Purpose (DP) secondary guns.
2 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) for extreme-close-in defense.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a modern warship turreted deck gun armament
Graphical image of a historical warship turreted main gun armament
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
1 x Agusta-Bell AB-212 medium-lift navy helicopter outfitted for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role.

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the Cassiopea (class)
Image from the official site of the Marina Militare.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)