COLOGNE, Germany — Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has sealed its participation in the upcoming development of the European Control Corvette, a signature naval program that is part of the European Union’s defense efforts.

Company executives signed a memorandum of understanding to that effect with the Naviris consortium, the companies announced Feb. 11. Naviris is a 50-50 joint venture between France’s Naval Group and Italy’s Fincantieri.

The notional European Patrol Corvette is meant to be a coast guard-type ship able to perform missions of fighting pirates and smugglers as well as border control and show-of-force trips in Europe’s waters. At 100 meters and 3,000 tons, it will replace “several classes of ships, from patrol vessels to light frigates” in participating countries come 2027, the companies said.

The program has been advancing through the EU’s so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation framework, or PESCO, whose goal is to create joint capabilities across the continent. Companies participating in PESCO projects have a shot at subsidies flowing from the multibillion-dollar European Defence Fund.

Italy has the lead on the patrol corvette project. The governments of France, Spain and Greece have already signed up, and Portugal is reportedly considering doing the same.

All participating navies are expected to submit their design requirements this year, according to the Naviris announcement. The idea is to find “commonality of solutions and modularity for adaptions to national requirements,” the company said.

“The ambition of the project … is to include other European partners to integrate technological bricks, which correspond to innovation streams matching with national EPC requirements and European Commission strategy and guidelines.”

The European Defence Agency announced earlier this year that it would lend project management and related support to the program.