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Italian navy was almost the first NATO country to use Polaris missiles.

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  • Italian navy was almost the first NATO country to use Polaris missiles.

    The US was keen to use Polaris on a variety of NATO ships, and Italy was the first country to agree to the program. The 1930s cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi was commissioned in 1936, later decommissioned in 1953 and underwent an extensive reconstruction that saw her converted into a guided missile cruiser. One of the new weapons installed included four launch silos for the UGM-27 Polaris missile.

    Below is the Giuseppe Garibaldi as she looked in 1938

    Between 1957 and '61 she was covered into a guided missile cruiser.



    With the inclusion of four Polaris launch tubes.


    Info on the project is scarce, but it looks like the cruiser fired at least one polaris missile as a test. The testing appears to have been successful as three other cruisers were later designed to allow the installation of four launch silos as well (Andrea Doria class 1963, Vittorio Veneto 1969). While the Polaris was never delivered, the Italians produced their own ballistic missile program... called Alfa.

    The Alfa was 6.5 metres (21 ft) long and had a diameter of 1.37 metres (4 ft 6 in). The first stage of the Alfa was 3.85 metres (12.6 ft) long and contained 6 t of solid rocket fuel. It supplied a thrust of 232 kN for a duration of 57 seconds. It could carry one tonne warhead for a range of 1,600 kilometres (990 mi), placing European Russia and Moscow in range from the Adriatic Sea.

    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    "The more I learn about people, The more I love my dog".
    Mark Twain.

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