Cavour (Italian: portaerei Cavour) is an Italian aircraft carrier
launched in 2004. It is the flagship of the Italian Navy.
The ship 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. The 134 m (440 ft),
2,800 m2 (30,000 sq ft) hangar space can double as a vehicle hold
capable of holding up to 24 main battle tanks (typically Ariete) or
many more lighter vehicles (50 Dardo IFV, 100+ Iveco LMV), and is
fitted aft with access ramps rated to 70 tons, as well as two
elevators rated up to 30 tons for aircraft. Cavour can also operate
as landing platform helicopter, accommodating heavy transport
helicopters (AgustaWestland UH-101A ASH) and 325 marines (91 more,
on option). The Cavour has a displacement of 27,900 tons but can
reach more than 30,000 tons at full military capacity.
It complements the Italian navy's other aircraft carrier, the
The Italian Navy will replace its 16 Harriers with 15 (originally
22) Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II. The F-35B schedule is
uncertain, but it is planned to modify Cavour to support the F-35B
by 2016. Cavour will have room for ten F-35Bs in the hangar, and six
more parked on deck.
Cavour was laid down by Fincantieri in June 2001, and was launched
from the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Sestri Levante, on 20 July 2004.
Sea trials began in December 2006, and she was officially
commissioned 27 March 2008. Full operational capability (FOC) was
reached 10 June 2009.
On 19 January 2010, Cavour was dispatched to Haiti as part of
Operation White Crane, Italy's operation for 2010 Haiti earthquake
relief. This was the first mission of the aircraft carrier, where it
supplemented international efforts to provide relief for the victims
of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.