By Luca Peruzzi
Under the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PeSCO) framework, the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) programme is advancing and enlarging the EU member states participation. Italy is the programme coordinating country of the EPC programme, which sees also the participation of France, Greece and Spain as Participant Member States (pMS). During the Defence iQ (a division of IQPC) OPV International 2020 virtual conference, speaking about the PPA (Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura) multirole patrol (combatant) vessels as well as the EPC programme, Italian Navy General Staff representatives highlighted the recent joining of Portugal into the latter programme as observer nation. Since the letter of intent signature between Italy and France in June 2019, the programme approval within the 3rd wave of PeSCo projects came in November 2019. The European Patrol Corvette programme objective is to design and develop a new family of military (NATO War Limited Ship) vessels, based on a mono-hull concept, which allows to host several systems and payloads, in order to accomplish, with a modular and flexible approach, a large number of tasks and missions, from combat to presence and surveillance. After the kickoff meeting in May 2020, with the participation of representatives of all the participant member states and of the European Defence Agency (EDA), activities are underway aimed at formalizing the designation of the EDA as the institutional framework for common requirements definition and harmonization . According to the presentation, the EPC is expected to be developed in at least three main versions, including a patrol version aimed to meet Italian and Spanish requirements, a long range version for France and a combat version for Greece. More details will be provided in a follow-on article to be published soon.