59th Anniversary of Italian Navy’s First Helicopter Landing at Sea

December 16, 2020 (Google Translation) – The Luigi Rizzo Frigate, the first ship to ‘host’ a helicopter component on board, has gone down in history for the Italian Navy.

Built in the historic shipyards of Castellammare di Stabia, the Rizzo ship was launched on March 3, 1960 and delivered to the navy on December 16 of the following year.

The construction of this new type of naval unit, conceived by providing for the take-off and landing of aircraft, represented for the Armed Force an important structural update in the naval assets created up to then, to the point that the other main ones followed the example Marine: Belonging to the Carlo Bergamini Class, together with the Virginio Fasan ship and the Carlo Morgottini ship, the Rizzo ship was the first ship of the Navy designed to accommodate a telescopic hangar and a flight deck and hangar for a light helicopter.

An AB-47J aircraft took off from the bridge of the Rizzo frigate, which in effect started the first Flight Service on an Italian Navy ship.The intuition and the effective possibility of being able to take off helicopters from its units on the high seas , contributed to add an extra piece – compared to the past – to the heterogeneous and multiform structure into which the Armed Sea Force was converting. At that moment, a phase of exponential growth began in the logic of construction of naval assets and in policies of military programming, arriving at the present with the polyvalence of the ascertained “expeditionary” connotation of the Italian Navy.

“In hoc nomine victoria” was the motto of that frigate, or “In this name is victory”, recalling with its title the brave lieutenant captain Luigi Rizzo, decorated with two gold medals for military valor for his daring businesses during the First World War.

With a provision, signed by the then President of the Italian Republic Giovanni Gronchi, the Rizzo frigate officially became part of the naval units of the Navy marking the beginning of a path that would culminate 24 years later with the entry into service of the aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Disarmed in 1980, the Frigate Luigi Rizzo was in the service of the Navy until 1986. The glorious banner of the ship is kept in the monumental complex of the Vittoriano in Rome but its soul still lives in the FREMM Luigi Rizzo which on 20 April 2017 is entered service in the Naval Squad of the Navy.

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