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Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia Kick Off Joint Corvette Program

Fincantieri's EPC frigate design illustration
Illustrative design rendering for the EPC (Fincantieri)

Published Oct 18, 2022 9:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

The naval shipbuilding champions of France, Italy and Spain are working together to develop a common small surface combatant in what they believe to be the "first common naval capability in Europe." The partnership builds on the success of the FREMM, the joint French-Italian frigate design now used by six nations.

In July, the European Commission has accepted a proposal submitted by Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia for a Modular and Multirole Patrol Corvette (MMPC). On Tuesday, the industrial partners signed the formal consortium agreement for the project, kicking off development of the 3,000-tonne vessel's initial design.  

The proposed European Patrol Corvette (EPC) is a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project - a formal defense cooperation program among multiple EU member states. Italy, France, Spain and Greece are leading the program with participation from Norway and Denmark. The hope is to reduce procurement costs and increase commonality by designing and buying a single platform. 

Since it will have to meet the needs of many different users, the EPC will be designed to be "smart, innovative, affordable, sustainable, interoperable and flexible vessel," capable of adapting to multiple mission sets. Other design objectives include increased energy efficiency, reduced environmental impact, higher safety and improved cybersecurity. 

The Fincantieri-Naval Group naval shipbuilding joint venture, Naviris, is in charge of the project's coordination. The European Defense Fund is supporting the venture with a grant of about $60 million. 

The development timeline expects production to begin in 2025, in time to begin replacing Italy's Comandanti-class patrol ships and France's Floreal-class light "surveillance frigates" at the end of this decade.