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The new European Patrol Corvette


Six years ago, on December 11, 2017 a European Council decision established the

‘Permanent Structured Co-operation’ project (PESCO), for security and defence.

Concern about maritime defence has increased during the Ukraine War, as have the number of Russian warships prowling around European waters, including Ireland. So plans are being made for a new generation of Navy ships. The Irish Naval Service is keeping an eye on the development of the European Corvette, a new ship, with an old name!

Five countries have formed the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) development

programme – Italy, France, Spain Greece and Norway, to design “a 2nd rank surface combatant” of about 110 metres length and of 3,000 tons. It could be regarded as a ‘second string’ to the larger Naval vessels, with the special ability of patrolling close inshore, coastal waters. The Naval Service has Observer status in the development. So has Romania.

The overall €87m. project is to design a “Modular and Multirole Patrol Corvette, hosting several systems and payloads, in order to accomplish, with a flexible approach, a large number of tasks and missions,” according to European Council information. “This represents a step forward in European defence co-operation, focused on a vessel which can fulfil a wide range of missions, be flexible, more energy-efficient, greener, safer and cyber-secured.”

The ‘Organisation for Joint Armament C-operation’ (OCCAR), a European intergovernmental organisation managing armament programmes between  Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, is overseeing the EPC project, with a mandate from the European Commission and the Member States involved. Shipbuilders with Naval experience –  Fincantieri (Italy), Naval Group (France), Navantia (Spain) – along with Greece, Denmark and Norway interests are involved. It is expected to take two years to complete the initial design of the “next generation   Naval vessel.” Building will be the next decision.

The project is strongly supported by the European Commission: “The ships will be able to carry out a wide range of missions as diverse as surveillance on the high seas with a high degree of autonomy,  law enforcement and sovereignty affirmation missions closer to the coast, adapted to the different Navies’ needs. It is a programme of Naval vessel innovation, developed collaboratively by several Navies and members of the European Union.”

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