ROME — Denmark and Norway are the latest European countries to sign up to a multinational European plan to build a common corvette.

The two nations have joined Italy, France, Spain and Greece onboard the the European Patrol Corvette program, boosting ambitions to make the vessel a catalyst for operational and industrial integration on the continent.

The two countries were listed as “co-founding” partners in a statement released on Monday by Italy’s Fincantieri, France’s Naval Group, their joint-venture Naviris, and Spain’s Navantia, which confirmed the four groups have applied for €60 million (U.S. $68 million) in EU research funding.

“Another €30 million is needed on top of the €60 million for research purposes,” an industrial source told Defense News.

“That extra €30 million will be covered by Italy, France and Spain, but Norway and Denmark will now also contribute, as will existing partner Greece,” he added. “It is a modest contribution but it allows the industries of these countries to get involved at this stage.”

Known officially as the Modular Multirole Patrol Corvette, or MMPC, the program is already set to see France buying six of the €250-300 million vessels, with Spain down for six, eight for Italy and first deliveries in 2027.

The corvette has been inserted in the EU’s so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, list of recommended pan-European defense programs designed to create synergies among bloc defense firms.

On Dec. 9, Naviris, Fincantieri, Naval Group and Navantia handed the European Defense Fund a list of proposals for research work they hope will be rewarded with the 60 million euro research cash.

Areas for which the firms suggest using the money include propulsion, unmanned technology, modularity and data management. The EU funding is expected by the start of 2023.

“As major European industrial players in the naval defense sector, they believe that this is the right time to start a real, concrete, added-value collaboration around a common program that will be the first common naval capability in Europe,” the statement said, adding that 40 firms were already involved.

“The promotion of the program to other European navies, with a joint action of nations already part of PESCO program, will strengthen the European industry, increasing cooperation, efficiency and lowering duplication in defense spending,” the statement added.

Measuring about 105 meters long and displacing 3,000 tons, the corvette will come in two versions: combat and long-range patrol.

Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.

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