Vittorio Veneto guided missile helicopter cruiser (CGH) was built in place of a third Andrea Doria class ship named Enrico Dandolo. Construction began in June 1965, but due to several design changes she was not launched until February 1967. She had a fully welded high-strength steel hull and superstructures constructed of steel and light alloys. This ship was designed with some new features, such as the installation of 2 “macks” (mast + stack), that is, the radar masts and funnels combined in a single block, and the incorporation of a dual purpose missile launcher capable of firing Terrier anti-aircraft missiles and ASROC anti-submarine missiles. This innovation saved weight and space and increased the number of missiles carried from 40 to 60. This solution was considered so effective that the US Navy adopted it for its surface ships.
The power plant consisted of 4 Foster-Wheeler type boilers built by Ansaldo that provided steam to two double-acting Tosi turbo-reducers geared to two shafts. The entire engine assembly is separated into two independent engines (bow and stern), each consisting of 2 boilers and a turbine, which can be automatically controlled remotely. The total power was 73,000 shp, which allowed a maximum speed of 31 knots and a range of 5,000 miles at 17 knots. It also had two pairs of stabilizers located on both sides of the hull, in the middle of the length, to improve her navigation in rough seas.
Vittorio Veneto had an SPS-52C long range 3D air search radar, an SPS-768 (RAN 3L) air search radar, an SPS-702 surface search / target acquisition radar, an SPS-768 navigation radar and SPG-55C, SPG -70 and SPG-74 fire control radars. It also carried an AN/SQS-23G bow-mounted medium frequency active searching and attack sonar. Regarding countermeasures, she carried two SCLAR rocket launchers, an ECM system and a SLQ-25 Nixie torpedo decoy. During the modernization carried out in the period 1981-84, 4 Orion RTN-10X and 2 Orion RTN-20X fire control radars were installed.
Originally, the cruiser Vittorio Veneto carried a twin Mk.10 launcher for RIM-2 Terrier anti-aircraft missiles and ASROC ASW missiles in the bow, eight 76mm OTO-Melara Allargato dual-purpose guns in single mounts, two Mk.32 triple 324mm torpedo tubes for Mk.46 torpedoes and 6 to 9 ASW helicopters. Later, during its modernization, the ship received new Standard SM-1ER (RIM-67A) anti-aircraft missiles and 4 Teseo single launcher containers for Otomat Mk.2 anti-ship missiles. She also received 3 OTO-Melara DART CIWS against aircrafts and anti-ship missiles. These systems consisted of a turret equipped with 2 twin Breda-Bofors 40mm compact guns capable of firing 300 rounds per minute each.
Vittorio Veneto had a much larger flight deck (65 x 19 meters) than the Andrea Doria class cruisers and an underdeck hangar, which allowed it to operate with up to 9 ASW helicopters, greatly improving this capacity compared to previous ships. It had an elevator measuring 18 x 5.30 meters to raise the helicopters from the hangar to the deck. It could carry up to nine AB-204 or AB-212 ASW helicopters or six ASH-3D (Agusta SH-3D Sea King) helicopters, although no more than four AB-204/212 or two Sea Kings could operate on the flight deck at the same time.
Vittorio Veneto entered service in October 1969 and was based in Taranto. She was the flagship of the Italian Navy until the arrival of Giuseppe Garibaldi aircraft carrier in 1985. She spent her career mainly conducting naval exercises and training tasks, although she performed some international missions. Since 1995 the ship was assigned exclusively to training tasks but in April 1997 it was sent to Albania as the command ship of a multinational task force after an armed insurrection in that country. Her mission was to protect the shipment of international aid, and during operations, she ran aground off the coast due to a strong wind and rain storm. Fortunately, neither the ship nor its crew were damaged. In November 2003 the ship went into reserve, where it remained until June 2006, when it was definitively removed from service.

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