Defense News reports on the status of the European Patrol Corvette program.
We did talk about this program earlier. France, Italy, and Spain are already committed for a total of 20 ships and Greece is also expected to participate. It seems likely other will join the program.
These ships will perform many of the functions we associate with Coast Guard cutters, particularly in the case of the French Navy. The ships are close in size and general characteristics to the Offshore Patrol Cutters but will be better armed and slightly faster.
If the program continues to grow, this will be a relative large class and will all most certainly will be exported.
“Between 2009 and 2018, China produced 136 military ships, of which 11 were exported, he said, while two U.S. shipbuilders built 78 ships, of which six were exported. Twelve European yards produced 80 ships, of which 49 were for the export market…”
This is part of a movement to “rationalize” the European shipbuilding industry. Recently we have seen a move by Fincantieri and Navantia to increase cooperation. Ultimately this may effect US shipbuilding. Fincantieri owns Marinette Marine that builds the Freedom class LCS and that built USCGC Mackinaw, the 16 Juniper class WLBs, and the 14 Keeper class WLMs. Navantia has partnered with Bath Iron Works, to among other things offer a candidate for the Offshore Patrol Cutter.
This is a European project that the RN should have been involved in. But no the MoD plumps for the too cheap to work T31 project instead.
The Italians are heading towards having the best navy in Europe.
In terms of surface combatants basics, I’d agree. As much as I like a Fremm, I really like a PPA.
Although I can’t help but appreciate the judgment … perhaps “the best Navy in Europe” is a bit excessive!
Certainly, however, our Navy is a phase of profound renewal / strengthening; a phase that is destined to continue in the coming years (with new destroyers, submarines, logistic ships, etc.)
As for the PPAs, I have to confess that personally I am not a huge fan of these ships.
But that’s just my opinion …
With no SSNs or SSBNs, the British and French Navies can probably continue to claim greater capability, but the Italian Navy is the dominant navy in the Mediterranean. They are already capable of operating F-35s from one ship and it looks like they will add a second.
It also appears they will soon have an Anti-Ballistic missile capability.
Anyone who denigrates the performance and bravery of the Italian Navy during World War II just does not have a full appreciation of what was going on.
The Italian Navy is doing a great job. In the same time that the US has languished for 25 years producing expensive duds, they have a vibrant warship building industry with carriers, corvettes, frigates, logistics ships, and exports, with good designs, and being built at a good speed.
The thing I like best is that they always arm their ships with guns. 76mm guns are everywhere. The Trieste even has 3. The rest of the world seems to think a single gun will be enough, even though once it’s destroyed, there’s no redundancy. And so many supply ships have either no armament, or just 25mm pop guns. Chuck wrote an article a while back showing how much more effective 30mm guns are compared to 25mm, esp for such little weight and cost penalty.
Unlike the rest of the world the Italians see their 76mm as CIWS. Their thinking is that when cruise missiles are arriving simultaneously, the guns, because of their range, will have an opportunity to destroy more than one.
This was the post comparing 25 and 30mm guns: https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2017/08/25/weapons-effectiveness-testing-25-vs-30mm/
Italian Navy is certainly going through a phase of profound transformation/evolution.
But there are still some limitations.
Achieving FOC of the F-35Bs on the CVL Cavour is on track but not yet that close.
The LHD Trieste will not be able to act as an “alternate carrier” until all the modifications to operate the F-35Bs on board are implemented; otherwise, it will be a kind of “floating FARP”.
Finally, the F-35Bs themselves in the Italian Navy are scarce; unless a deal is struck with the Italian Air Force…
A strong limitation of our Navy is the absence of “true” MPAs and also the surface fleet has few specialized ASW platforms.
Moreover, the PPA program (with its too many versions!) still puzzles me.
Finally, the renewal of the amphibious component must be accelerated.
Having said that, it is true that the ongoing or planned programs are numerous and important.
– The completion of the FREMM and PPA line.
– 8 x EPC,
– 4 x U212NFS,
– 2 x LSS,
– new mine countermeasure vessels,
– several support ships…
UK bought T31 as a big hull capable of keeping up with carrier groups which I endorse. But they are under armed and not suitable for where we really have gaps like the Persian Gulf. We could have saved money and opt-ed into this European program. As always the UK MoD opts out of programs it should stay in and opts into programs it should not be in.
You will just have to be accept that the Marina Militare is the best navy in Europe. I know that is hard to do. But you will get over it. 🙂
Compare the RN to the MM (or the RAN) and you will see why I say what I say.
Every one is hard as nails until the SSN’s turn up….
T31 has not been bought to keep up with CSG’s…that is T45’s and T26’s job.
UK has no need for a small patrol corvette, long range OPV’s have a specific job and the T31 acts as a GP platform.
Good grief where to start……
If you remember there were two designs offered up for T31 at the end. The ship based on the Danish IH class and the much smaller BAE Leander class. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COUNTED AGAINST THE LATTER’S SELECTION WAS THAT THE RN AS A GLOBAL NAVY NEEDS PLATFORMS THAT CAN DEPLOY WORLD WIDE AND AT TIMES THIS MEANS KEEPING UP WITH CARRIER GROUPS. Do you think the RN doesn’t factor such things into decision making? Yes most of the time it will be doing patrol tasking because most of the time thankfully we are are at peace. But if the balloon comes up and we need hulls. So yes the size was a factor. I can tell by your post you are Top Trumps keyboard admiral.
But the only thing is that in places like the Gulf a large under armed platform isn’t much use. Bobbing around off South Georgia great, transiting the Straits of Hormuz not much cop. That is why way back in the past the RN specifically built the old Tribal class. One size doesn’t always fit all.
T31 acts a GP platform? Do you base all you understanding of naval matters off MoD(N) websites? Every escort since T12(M) has been GENERAL PURPOSE. The RN gave up building specialist escorts because even a 50 plus escort navy as it was then couldn’t guarantee the right mix of ships being available. So the tasks of anti-submarine warfare, CONVOY air defence, and fighter direction were all squeezed into the one T12 based hull which became known as Leander. A Leadner could deal with submarines, shoot at aircraft, direct aircraft, engage in surface warfare and do the myriad of other tasks that a RN escort is called on to do. How T31 with no ASW fit out or a real AShM to threaten peers with is going to be a General Purpose escort is a bit beyond me. I am still trying to figure out how a T23 with 2087 is less capable of general tasking than a T23 with 2087. Or indeed how a T23 is less of a first rate ASW compared to other platforms because it is still very quiet and so still deadly.
Everybody is nails until the SSN turns up? Good grief.
Re British Opt-In in this and other projects : EPC is a PESCO project. Third country participation in PESCO – only possible since November 2020 in the first place – is subject to significant hurdles some of which may be difficult for the UK to pass due to its current relationship with the EU.
@ Chuck re 76mm
I wish the RN had kept the Horizon’s 76mm systems. A proper destroyer…..
More on the program.
“Denmark, Norway join European corvette program” https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2021/12/13/denmark-norway-join-european-corvette-program/
An update. Still three years from cutting steel. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/03/european-patrol-corvette-could-start-construction-in-four-years/
“In a report published by the French Parliament’s National Defense and Armed Forces Committee, members of parliament (MPs) review the French Navy (Marine Nationale)’s feedback on the high-intensity exercise ‘POLARIS’ conducted from November 18 to December 3, 2021.”
This includes some references to their proposed European Patrol Corvette, which will essentially have the role of France’s High Endurance Cutters.
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A bit more information here
Reportedly the Danish “Cube” modular systems approach will be included in the European Patrol Corvette. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/08/sh-defence-cube-system-aboard-bae-systems-adaptable-strike-frigate/
“Industry cluster forms around European patrol corvette program”
“EURONAVAL 2022: European Shipyards Sign MMPC Preliminary Consortium Agreement”
There is no indication that this propulsion system is for the European Patrol Corvette,
but Stadt is a member of the consortium, and this is a large project.