MADRID, (BM) – Spain officially joined the development and production program of a new patrol corvette for European countries (European Patrol Corvette, EPC). According to Naval News, the project is being implemented under the auspices of the Permanent Structured Cooperation, PESCO, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Thus, Spain became the fourth EU member state to join the project after Italy, France and Greece. The purpose of the program is to develop a prototype of a new class of ships, which, due to unification and modular construction, can be used to solve a wide range of problems.
It is expected that in 2021 the European Union will begin to allocate funds for the implementation of the EPC project, and European industrial enterprises will receive invitations to participate in the development of new corvettes. It is planned to start the production of ships directly in 2025, and the delivery of the first corvette is scheduled for 2027.
The main contractors for the project are the Italian Fincantieri and the French Naval Group. According to Naval News, the new corvette is likely to be the first ship built by the Naviris joint venture these companies recently founded. The headquarters of the Italian-French group is located in Genoa (Italy), and the research center is located near Toulon (France).
According to the press, in January 2020, representatives of Naviris presented the Navantia EPC project, and since then the parties have been negotiating on how the Spanish shipbuilder can participate in the program.
According to the previously stated requirements of the French Navy and the Italian Navy, the new ship should have a displacement of about 3,500 tons, hull length – 110 meters, draft – up to 5.5 meters. Cruising range – 10,000 nautical miles.
It is supposed to create three versions of the corvette: to solve the problems of air defense, to combat surface forces of the enemy and for anti-submarine warfare.
The Italian fleet can order eight corvettes to replace the ships of the Comandante and Cassiopeia classes, and the needs of the French Navy are estimated at 8–11 corvettes.
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