The European Defence Fund (EDF) is the Commission’s flagship instrument to support defense cooperation in Europe. Without substituting Member States’ efforts, it promotes cooperation between companies of all sizes and research actors throughout the EU. The EDF supports competitive and collaborative defense projects throughout the entire cycle of research and development, focusing on projects leading to state-of-the-art and interoperable defense technologies and equipment.
It also fosters innovation and incentivizes the cross-border participation of SMEs. Projects are selected following calls for proposals which are defined based on the defense capability priorities agreed by the Member States within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and particularly in the context of the Capability Development Plan (CDP).
“With €1.2 billion invested in 61 European cooperative defence projects, the European Defence Fund is today delivering concrete results towards a more integrated European defence industry which fosters innovation and provides cutting-edge capabilities to our armed forces. Through the European Defence Fund, European cooperation in defence becomes increasingly the norm. We spend better by spending together. It benefits all Member States and European defence industry big or small.”
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market
The most important project in the naval field is the European Patrol Corvette (EPC).
What is EPC project?
The project “European Patrol Corvette” (EPC) will focus on conceptual studies up to the initial design, and use as a reference corvette class vessel that can fulfill a wide range of missions in future contexts of operations. The produced design will be modular and flexible, more energy-efficient, greener, safer, more interoperable, and cyber-secured.
The EPC will perform offshore patrol vessel missions that the European navies to face the 21st-century challenges. The duration of the project is determined as 24 months. The estimated cost of the project exceeds €65 million, and EU will contribute €60 million.
The project has the support of the PESCO EPC Program, in which the Defense Ministries of France, Italy, Greece and Spain participate. In 2021, a consortium led by major defense contractors Fincantieri, Naval Group, and Navantia submitted an industrial proposal related to the EPC.
Here are members of the consortium and their counties;
- NAVIRIS ITALY (Coordinator)
- FEAC Engineering – Greece
- Fincantieri SPA – Italy
- Force Technology – Denmark
- HYDRUS Advanced Consolidated Engineering Services S.A. – Greece
- I.S.D. Integrated Systems Development S.A. – Greece
- INTRACOM Defense S.A. – Greece
- Naval Group – France
- Navantia – Spain
- Prisma Electronics ABEE – Greece
- SH Defence – SH Group A/S – Denmark
- STADT – Norway
- TERRA SPATIUM – Greece
- Vestdavit – Norway
The EPC project is expected to enter the industrialization phase from 2025. The vessels are being considered in Italy to replace the Comandanti-class patrol vessels from 2027 and in France to replace the Floreal-class frigates in the late 2020ies / early 2030ies.