Joint press release by Naviris, Naval Group, Fincantieri and Navantia
Their common assessment is that the European Union is increasingly facing many types of threats (increased tensions between great powers, illegal immigration issues, terrorism, etc.). Over the last years, and more specifically during 2021, there have been growing calls for Europeans to take responsibility for their own security both within NATO and as part of the European common security and defence policy. Several European Union member states have repeatedly underlined the need to develop common military capabilities to face common challenges.
In this respect, Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia acknowledge that there is a need for collaboration in the European Union naval defence sector to support Europe in dealing with these challenges and the ones to come.
As major European industrial players in the naval defence sector, they believe that this is the right time to start a real, concrete, added-value collaboration around a common program that will be the first common naval capability in Europe. This strategic program already exists: the European Patrol Corvette (EPC), the most important naval initiative within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
On December 9th, the consortium led by the three industrial naval partners and coordinated by Naviris submitted the industrial proposal related to the MMPC call of the European Defence Fund (EDF) in order to develop this joint project.
The clear objective of the proposal is to maximise synergies and collaboration among European shipbuilding industrials. By developing together a new ship, the EPC, they aim to ensure a European sovereignty in the second rank warship.
This has been made possible thanks to the participation of:
- 4 countries in EPC PESCO project (Italy, France, Spain and Greece)
- 6 countries involved in the co-founding (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Norway)
- 3 European Shipbuilding Industrials (Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia) with Naviris in charge of the coordination
- 40 companies for maritime systems and equipment
Based on a unified frame of standards and using collaborative advanced engineering methodologies, EPC will be developed in the best cooperative way from conceptual studies up to the initial design. The produced design will constitute a break-through from current warships, as it will be modular, flexible, as well as more energy-efficient, greener, safer, more interoperable, and cyber-secure. MMPC will finally be characterized to address specific national requirements, keeping the defined design as the common reference.
This proposal constitutes the first essential step towards preparing the future production of the vessel in the scope of asecond call under EDF in the multi-annual perspective. In this context, the promotion of the program to other European Navies, with a joint action of Nations already part of PESCO program, will strengthen the European industry, increasing cooperation, efficiency and lowering duplication in defense spending.
Naval News comments: EPC and MMPC
The “MMPC” term first surfaced in the European Defence Fund 2021 calls for proposals document first issued in October 2021.
According to a Naval News source familiar with the matter, MMPC is not the new name for the EPC program. Rather, EPC is the name of the Pesco project (launched with support of EDA in 2019) with Italy, France, Spain, Greece (+ Portugal as observer). MMPC is the name of the 1st European Defence Fund call, launched in July 2021, covering the first phase of the program: up to initial corvette design + technological bricks. EPC remains the name of the three shipbuilders’ offer answering to the MMPC call, supported by co-funding Nations: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Norway.
The MMPC details in the European Defence Fund 2021 calls for proposals document are as follow:
2.19.1. Topic EDF-2021-NAVAL-D-MMPC: Modular and multirole patrol corvette
The ambition of the EU navies is to drastically increase the flexibility of second line vessels in order to conduct a wider range of operations and to make the vessels more suitable to face 21st century challenges and newest constraints and operational requirements to expand the capacities to interoperate and significantly elevate their level of availability and sustainability.
Moreover, the new class of ships needs to be based on a shared baseline, which can be tailored to different national individual requirements.
These goals can be reached at most optimized cost by a new generation of ships defined with a high level of commonality and modularity and taking advantage of a common engineering knowledge base and the large experiences at EU level.
The challenge is to take into account the different requirements from participating Member States and succeed in defining and demonstrate the capacity of building a family of ships which will have a common baseline (reference ship) jointly with some specificities (modularity in design and flexibility in mission) to answer to specific needs from each participating Member States.
The proposals must aim to:
- define a shared and common set of rules, standards and interfaces applicable to naval architecture and associated systems to improve the industrial cooperation and integration of the European naval companies and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and promote common European supply chains;
- create standardized industrial processes and methodologies and increase Member State’s joint capability to develop future warships in a reduced amount of time and at most optimized cost, and so contribute to the competitiveness of the European defence industry;
- increase availability through integration of modularity and flexibility in the design of military vessels, and ultimately to generate a new 2500t-3500t class modular vessel able to increase current capabilities of the navies mainly in terms of MSA, Surface Superiority and Power Projection and also carry out a large spectrum of maritime operations ranging from peacetime governmental activities to wartime operations.
The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in Article 10(3) of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:
- studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
- the design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.
- The activities must in particular include:
- definition of common methodologies, tools, set of common rules and standards for the studies and construction of the vessel, list of innovative solutions and relevant technological bricks, list of potential EU original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to be used during the following phases. This phase also includes the definition of standardized interfaces and the study and demonstration of some core technological bricks that are of highest importance for the concept of the vessel;
- concept and feasibility studies for the reference ship and verification of capability to cope with participating Member States/national specific requirements. Definition of flexible and scalable architectures and demonstration they are able to handle the amount of variability of vessel and systems impacted by the participating Member States/national specific requirements. This phase also includes the selection and the definition of the standardized interfaces with the main systems. The feasibility studies will provide several solutions for the reference ship plus specificities (sizing, general arrangement…);
- concept studies and evaluation, in order to elaborate and characterize the main parameters (sizing, general arrangement…) of MMPC solutions for the reference ship and characterization of national variants, and prepare the next detailed design phase for the MMPC.
In order to increase commonality between national variants, and to reduce non-recurring costs, the systems aboard the vessel must have, as much as feasible and economically interesting, standardized functional interfaces to be defined during the first phase of studies. To allow participating Member States to share capability modules in the flexible areas, the physical and functional interfaces and technologies in those areas must be common. The confirmation of the feasibility of such flexible area will be demonstrated. A detailed planning of potential subsequent phases should be generated, including the identification of implementation priorities, according to the operational needs.