Naviris, a 50/50 joint venture between Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and its French counterpart Naval Group, and Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company Navantia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at enlarging the industrial cooperation for the European patrol corvette (EPC) program.
EPC is a major naval initiative within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project. Four countries, including Italy, France, Spain and Greece are taking part in the program.
According to Naviris and Navantia, the EPC will be “a smart, innovative, affordable, sustainable, interoperable and flexible vessel” to meet the future missions in the evolved world context of mid-21st century.
Specifically, EPC will be a fully ready surface combatant to carry-out diversified missions, primarily aimed at enhancing maritime situational awareness, surface superiority and power projection, particularly in the context of governmental peacetime actions, such as those aimed at counteracting piracy and smuggling, as well as those actions dedicated to humanitarian assistance, migration control and aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation.
The ship will have a length of about 100 meters and a displacement of 3,000 tons, able to replace in the near future (from 2027 onward) several classes of ships, from patrol vessels to light frigates.
The design requirements for these vessels, with a clear objective of commonality of solutions and modularity for adaptation to national requirements, are expected from the navies in 2021.
On the industrial side, Naviris and Navantia will act in a fully coordinated way with Fincantieri and Naval Group for the EPC program. The studies could potentially benefit from European Union and national funds and will include a large part of R&D leading to innovative solutions for making easier the co-development and interoperability, the efficiency of the vessels in operations and the digital data management.
Earlier this year, the European Defence Agency (EDA) said it approved the launch of the project that will contribute to the development of the European patrol corvette. The participating member states plan to produce their first corvette prototype in 2026-2027.