Fincantieri and Naval Group’s 50:50 joint venture Naviris has partnered with Navantia for the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) programme.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) intended to widen the ‘industrial cooperation’ for the programme.

The corvette will be developed as part of the naval initiative within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project.

Both companies ‘will act in a fully coordinated way with Fincantieri and Naval Group for the EPC programme’.

Italy, France, Spain and Greece are the four PESCO participating countries involved in the EPC project.

The EPC project is part of the third batch of PESCO projects. It was approved in November last year.

It is aimed at designing and developing a new class of military ship for conducting various missions.

Equipped with a range of systems and payloads, the EPC will primarily be a fully ready surface combatant to carry-out maritime situational awareness, surface superiority, and power projection.

The participating member states in the project aim to produce the first corvette prototype between 2026 and 2027.

The corvette will replace various classes of patrol vessels and light frigates from 2027 onwards.

The design requirements for these ships are expected from the navies later this year.

Earlier last month, European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Steering Board agreed to support the development of EPC.