Spain’s Navantia and Italian firm Fincantieri are to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the FEINDEF exhibition in Madrid.

The MoU is aimed at further enhancing the relationship between the two companies and will assess the advantages of an expanded partnership in the naval and maritime fields.

The partnership will focus on evaluating opportunities relating to key defence programmes, such as the development of future destroyers and other platforms of the Italian and Spanish navies.

It may also include the development of joint projects as part of the future European Defence Force (EDF).

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said: “We have long agreed that, in order to stand its ground with the global challenges of the future, we need a robust and long-lasting cooperation in the defence and security field at a European level, just so our continent will be able to play an increasingly important role and this agreement goes in that direction.

“We are therefore very satisfied to give substance to a plan that can no longer be postponed and to build a collaboration path based on important programmes of the two navies.”

The Spanish and Italian firms have already partnered on the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) programme.

The EPC corvette will be developed as part of the naval initiative within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project, alongside France’s Naval Group.

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

In February this year, Fincantieri and Naval Group’s 50:50 joint venture (JV) Naviris formed a strategic collaboration with Navantia for the EPC programme.

Navantia chairman Ricardo Domínguez said: “The real opportunity of collaboration that this MoU represents, as it is the first one signed between both companies at this level and with this ambitious scope.

“We aim to strengthen European Defence and boost European Defence Industry position and we think that agreements as ours pave the way towards this objective.”