The aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi (551) is the current flagship of the Marina Militare Italiana, the Italian Navy.

The aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi (551) is the current flagship of the Marina Militare Italiana, the Italian Navy.


It was built by Fincantieri of Monfalcone and commissioned in 1985. Garibaldi is classed as a CVS–ASW (Aircraft Carrier with Anti-Submarine Warfare) and is based in Taranto.


She is named after the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi

The Garibaldi is designed for anti-submarine operations. Her air-arm consists of either a maximum sixteen AV-8B Harrier IIs, or eighteen Agusta helicopters or a mix of helicopters and fighters. The flight-deck is the characteristic off-axis design with ski-jump for STOL aircraft, it is 174 m long and 30 m wide.

The ship is also equipped with an eight-cell surface-to-surface missile system, and two 324mm three-tube torpedo launchers. Defences are provided by two eight-cell SAM launchers firing the SARH Aspide missile, additional defences are offered by three Breda 40mm twin-gun mounts. Counter-measures include two twenty-barrel decoy launchers for chaff, flares, or jammers; the ship also has the Nixie anti-torpedo system and ECM systems.

The ship is powered by four Fiat COGAG gas turbines built under license from GE, offering a sustained power of 81,000 hp (60 MW). Driving two shafts the ship has a maximum speed of 30 knots (56km/h) and can travel for 7,000 nautical miles (13,000km) at around 20 knots (37km/h).

She was built by Fincantieri (Italcantieri) at the Monfalcone shipyards near Gorizia. She was laid down in March 1981, launched in 1983 and was commissioned on September 30, 1985. The WWII peace treaty banned Italy from having an aircraft carrier, and therefore at the time of her launch she did not receive her Harriers.


Until 1988 only Italian helicopters landed on her deck, as well as RAF Harriers during NATO joint manoeuvres. The ban was eventually lifted and in 1989 she obtained her own Harriers. Garibaldi will be shortly joined as the flagship of the Italian navy by the new and larger carrier Cavour.


GARIBALDI CLASS Specifications
Country of Manufacture Italy
Number in Service 1
Crew 550 and up to 225 aircrew
Armament Sixteen harriers or eighteen Augusta helicopters, Two eight cell SAM launchers firing SARH Aspide missiles and three Breda 40mm twin gun mounts
Length 180m
Beam 33.4m
Draught 6.5m
Displacement 13,850 tonnes
Powerplant Four General Electric/Avio LM 2500 gas turbines
Performance Speed 30 knots, range 7,000 miles
First of Class 1985