Italian destroyer arrives in Poland to help protect Baltic coast

2023-05-21 09:05 update: 2023-05-22, 13:59
Photo PAP/Adam Warżawa
Photo PAP/Adam Warżawa
An Italian guided missile destroyer has arrived at the Polish coast to help strengthen air defence in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish defence minister has announced. 

Mariusz Blaszczak, the Polish defence minister, announced the planned arrival of the vessel at a press briefing during his Wednesday visit to Italy.

In Rome he met with his Italian counterpart, Guido Crosetto. The two discussed bilateral military relations, including the modernisation of the Polish Army, the current security situation in view of the continuing conflict in Ukraine, and further support for Kyiv’s war effort against the Russian invasion.

On Saturday morning he wrote on Twitter: "The Italian allied missile destroyer ITS Caio Duilio, heavily armed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence, has arrived in Poland to strengthen the defence of the Polish coast and protect Poland's critical infrastructure."

In a later tweet, Blaszczak said that the presence of the Italian warship in Poland is the result of his recent talks with Crosetto and will help protect the Baltic coast "for at least six months." 

The warship entered the port of Gdynia earlier on Saturday. 

Its arrival was also commented on by Jacek Siewiera, head of the presidential National Security Bureau. 

"Several dozen hours after President Andrzej Duda signed the decision, the Italian missile destroyer ITS Caio Duilio enters the port of Gdynia. It is one of the most modern ships in Europe: 48 missile launchers and radar capabilities reaching hundreds of kilometers," Siewiera wrote on Twitter.

He added that Italy was joining allies the US, Great Britain and Germany,
by working together to defend the Polish airspace. 

Caio Duilio is a destroyer of the Italian Navy which belongs to the Horizon class. It is marked by hull number D 554 according to Nato classification.

The vessel has an overall length of 153 metres and a beam of 20.3 metres. It is armed with a PAAMS missile system with a 48-cell Vertical Launch System housing either Aster 15 or the longer-range Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles (combat range - 30 and 120 km). The ship is also equipped with eight Otomat anti-ship missile launchers as well as 25 and 76 mm autocannons and torpedo launchers. Its maximum speed reaches 29 knots (ca. 54 km/h).

It has a crew of 230. (PAP)