EDA’s Steering Board recently approved the launch of a specific European Defence Agency (EDA) ad hoc project which will contribute to the implementation of a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project aimed at developing a European Patrol Corvette. Italy, which leads a group of four PESCO participating countries involved in EPC (together with France, Spain and Greece), had requested the Agency’s support for moving this ambitious project forward.
Part of the third batch of PESCO projects approved in November 2019, the project aims at designing and developing a new class of military ship, named «European Patrol Corvette» (EPC), which will host several systems and payloads able to accomplish a large number of tasks and missions in a modular and flexible way. The EPC will provide valuable capabilities in the areas of maritime situational awareness, surface superiority and power projection. The participating Member States aim to produce their first corvette prototype in 2026-2027.
The EPC is envisaged as a common platform, a shared baseline, which can be customised as needed by participating Member States according to their national needs and specifications. The overall displacement is expected to be no more than 3,000 tonnes, which will allow the ship to operate from minor harbours (draft less than 5.5 meters/18 feet). The length of the ship, to be equipped with diesel and/or electrical engines, should not exceed 110 meters/361 feet.
The ship will be based on an open plug-and-play architecture which will facilitate the versatility of response in the framework of EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and will provide a quick reaction capability, applicable to a broad range of scenarios.
The Agency’s new project will support the EPC PESCO project implementation through the development and adoption of Common Staff Target (CST), Common Staff Requirements (CSR) and a Business Case (BC). The objective of these documents, which are an indispensable step for a follow-on phase of the EPC PESCO project, is to shape the common core part and identify specifications and requirements that would be compatible with the modularity concept of the military ship.
The Agency will also support the governance body of the EPC project. With its expertise in project management and harmonisation of capability requirements, EDA will be able to provide valuable assistance in these domains. Industry is not participating directly in this EDA project, but may be consulted, if deemed necessary by the contributing Member States.
EDA’s Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý said: «EDA is delighted to support this ambitious and innovative PESCO project. As the European hub for collaborative capability development, the Agency has the expertise to help Member States in the implementation of their PESCO projects. The European Patrol Corvette project responds directly to an existing gap in Europe’s capability landscape acknowledged by Member States during the revision of the Capability Development Plan (CDP) in 2018, namely that of naval manoeuvrability and the need for improved maritime situational awareness, surface superiority and power projection. The future EPC will provide participating Member States with those missing capabilities, thereby further strengthening the Europe of Defence».
Italy’s Capability Director, General Giovanni Iannucci said: «The project of the European Patrol Corvette is aimed at developing a new Class of military ships in order to accomplish, with a flexible approach, a large number of tasks and missions aimed to Homeland Security and protection of European waters. More in details, the EPC will carry out Maritime Security Operations and Police of the High Seas functions, playing a key role in preserving Freedom of Navigation (FoN) and fighting against terrorism and illegal trafficking at sea. The EPC will be characterized by a multi-purpose and modular approach by design that will also allow to perform dual-use missions, such as anti-pollution activities, humanitarian assistance operations and interventions in support of populations in case of natural disasters. Italy is very proud of the coordinating role and will continue to conduct all necessary activities for the EPC’s success. Furthermore, I believe that this project constitutes an excellent opportunity for the whole European Defence and in particular the military shipyards sector to work together in order to foster industrial synergies, operational interoperability and maintain a technological advantage».