Italian destroyer Andrea Doria joins UK Carrier Strike Group

According to information published by the Royal Navy on June 2, 2021, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group met up with allies in an exercise that saw 19 ships and more than 5,000 personnel come together. Ships and units from 11 countries joined up off the coast of Portugal for phase one of Exercise Steadfast Defender.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Italian Horizon-class destroyer Andrea Doria (Picture source: Commander UK Carrier Strike Group)

The training saw the UK’s Carrier Strike Group rendezvous with ships from NATO Standing Maritime Groups One and Two for the large-scale defensive exercise designed to test the alliance’s ability to rapidly deploy forces to meet possible future threats.

Off the back of the exercise, Italian destroyer Andrea Doria has joined HMS Queen Elizabeth and will remain with the carrier for the next few days.

The Horizon-class destroyer will operate with the UK-led force in the western Mediterranean, where she will work alongside warships from the UK, US and the Netherlands to protect HMS Queen Elizabeth and her task group from potential threats.

The 7,000-tonne destroyer is fitted with a similar air defence system to the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers, centred around Aster missiles.

The integration of Andrea Doria into the UK Carrier Strike Group is the latest example of growing co-operation between the navies of Italy and the UK. In March this year, the Italian navy aircraft carrier Cavour undertook her first trials with the F-35B stealth fighter jets.

Andrea Doria is a destroyer of the Italian Navy. She and her sister Caio Duilio form the Andrea Doria class; in turn, these two ships, and the French vessels Forbin and Chevalier Paul, belong to the Horizon class. Andrea Doria has the hull number D 553 according to NATO classification.

The Horizon class is a class of air-defence destroyers in service with the French Navy and the Italian Navy, designated as destroyers using NATO classification. The programme started as the Common New Generation Frigate (CNGF), a multi-national collaboration to produce a new generation of air-defence frigates. In Italy the class is known as the Orizzonte class, which translates to "horizon" in French and English.

The UK then joined France and Italy in the Horizon-class frigate programme; however, differing national requirements, workshare arguments and delays led to the UK withdrawing on 26 April 1999 and starting its own national project, the Type 45 destroyer.