Naviris, the 50/50 joint venture company between Fincantieri and Naval Group in charge of the development of cooperation programmes, and Navantia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at enlarging the industrial cooperation for the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) programme, the most important naval initiative within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project.

The EPC will be a smart, innovative, affordable, sustainable, interoperable, and flexible vessel to meet the future missions in the evolved world context of the mid-21st century. 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. It will be approximately 100m and 3.000t, and able to replace several classes of ships from patrol vessels to light frigates in the near future (from 2027 onward). The design requirements for the 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 programme. The studies could potentially benefit from EU and national funds and will include a large part of research and development (R&D), leading to innovative solutions for making co-development and interoperability, the efficiency of the vessels in operations and digital data management easier.

The ambition of the project, which has been joined so far by four countries at PESCO level, (Italy as coordinator, and France, Spain, and Greece), is to include other European partners to integrate technological bricks, which correspond to innovation streams matching with national EPC requirements and European Commission strategy and guidelines.