The EPC construction contract could be signed as early as 2025 and the keel laying of the first ship could take place in 2026 with delivery starting in 2030.
Italian Navy press release – translation by Naval News
The European Patrol Corvette (EPC) Project Team held a meeting on March 8 with representatives of the Italian, French, Spanish and Hellenic navies and European Defence Agency (EDA).
The EPC is a class of second-line vessels jointly designed by four European countries. They will be built by an industrial consortium consisting of four companies from three different countries, including the Italian shipyard Fincantieri.
The March 8 meeting, dedicated to the drafting of the common requirements, was fundamental to further develop the capability development document at the base of the project and to shed the convergence of intentions of the four countries in order to make the project certainly materializable by the industrial consortium.
The EPC is part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), namely the European Union’s structured cooperation in the defense sector. The project was proposed by the Italian Navy, supported by the Italian Ministry of Defense and approved by the European Commission on 12 November 2019.
The initiative, formally launched following the signing of a letter of intent joint with the French Navy on 3 June 2019, has aroused the interest of several nations that later expressed the intention to adhere as a participant member.
To date, Italy (as coordinator), France, Greece, Spain and Portugal (as observer) are involved. Thanks to the support of the European Defense Agency (EDA), institutional referent for the definition and harmonization phase of the common requirements, a convergence was found for the preparation of initial plant documents with the aim of establishing the lines of Development of the entire program.
The European Corvette will be equipped with strong flexibility qualities, able to carry out multiple missions and therefore both “presence and surveillance” tasks and those with a “combat” profile. The objective is to pursue an increasing synergy and optimization for the development of the maritime instrument and, at the same time, to overcome the fragmentation that characterizes the EU today, where there are more than 30 ships classes from 500 to 4,000 tons.
After the March 8 meeting, the next steps will be to initiate the national Operational Requirement approval process to seal the achievements and continue the design process by defining the detailed requirements. The contract to build the European corvettes could be signed as early as 2025 and the keel laying of the first ship could take place in 2026 with delivery starting in 2030.
Naval News comments:
For the record, a consortium led by Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia and coordinated by Naviris submitted on December 9th 2021 an industrial proposal related to the MMPC call of the European Defence Fund (EDF).
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.