Representatives of NAVIRIS (the 50/50 joint venture between Naval Group and Fincantieri) and Navantia outlined the details of the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) programme at Euronaval 2020. During a roundtable chaired by Jean-Marie Dumon (GICAN), Domenico Rocco, NAVIRIS’ sales manager, and Yann Floch, head of the engineering department, recalled that France and Italy agreed on the programme in 2019, and that Greece and Spain followed this year.

Should the number of participants remain unchanged, operational requirements from the Italian, French, and Spanish Navies will likely be defined by the end of the year, thus allowing for the completion of first prototypes in 2027. Meanwhile, Naviris and Navantia made a preliminary hypothesis on how the EPC could look, in order to better identify which are the most innovative aspects of the project, “according to the expectations of the European community”, as Mr Rocco said. These will be presented in November as part of the bid for European Defence Fund (EDF), which could cover up to 10 per cent of the total programme costs, thus likely sustaining early/common activities. Once EDF rules and constraints are better clarified, companies could bid for additional funding.

Pictures and technical figures used for the workshop resemble existing vessels with similar displacements (2800 to 3000 tonnes), especially Fincantieri’s corvettes delivered to Qatar earlier this year. At this stage it is difficult to envisage cutting-edge features deserving specific EU funding. In all likelihood, requirements will find a way of introducing elements that will please Brussels in exchange of EU funds.

Giulia Tilenni