UGM-27 Polaris - Italy


During its reconstruction program in 1957-1961, the Italian cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi was fitted for launch of four Polaris missiles, with launchers located in the aft part of the ship.
The successful tests held in 1961-1962, induced the United States to study a NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force (MLF), based on 25 international surface vessels from the US, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and West Germany, equipped with 200 Polaris nuclear missiles, enabling European allies to participate in the management of the NATO nuclear deterrent.

The MLF plan, as well as the Italian Polaris Program, were abandoned, both for political reasons (in consequence of the Cuban Missile Crisis) and the initial operational availability of the first SSBN George Washington, which demonstrated the possibility to launch effectively SLBMs, solution preferred to surface-launched missiles.

Italy developed a new domestic version of the missile, the SLBM-designated Alfa. The program was cancelled in the 1975 after Italy ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with the last positive launch of the third prototype on 1976.

Two Italian Navy Andrea Doria class cruisers, commissioned in 1963-1964, were "fitted for but not with" the launch of two Polaris missiles per ship. All four launchers were built but not shipped and were stored to La Spezia naval facility.

An Italian Navy Vittorio Veneto cruiser, launched in 1969, was also "fitted for but not with" the launch of four Polaris missiles. During update works in 1980-1983, these facilities were removed and used for other weapons and systems.

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