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A major achievement to the European Patrol Corvette program has been registered as Spain has become interested in joining the program. The planning for a new 3,000 ton corvette with an EU funding is a cornerstone of a new naval joint venture between Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group which was launched last year and named Naviris. The planned jointly built, modular vessel will be capable of handling patrol and surveillance missions as well as taking second-tier roles in anti-submarine and anti-surface missions.
The program has also been inserted in the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, list of recommended pan-European defense programs. The PESCO corvette project is coordinated by Italy, with France as partner, but in recent weeks, Greece has also joined as a partner, following discussions between the countries’ navies. And now Spain is likely to follow, an industrial source told defensenews.com.
The EU’s objective in PESCO “is to design and develop a prototype for a new class of military ship, named “European Patrol Corvette” (EPC), which can host several systems and payloads, in order to accomplish, with a modular and flexible approach, a large number of tasks and missions.”
Adding new partners to the roster of Italy and France is key to winning EU funding. PESCO programs are possible candidates for cash from the European Defence Fund, but only if they have more than two partners on board.
Apart from the boost given the program by potential EU funding, the corvette remains a requirement for Italy and France. “Italy might need eight corvettes and France is looking to substitute six ships. They both have a need, so the EU funding would be an added opportunity that could create a bandwagon effect with other navies,” according to sources.