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[*] posted on 8-2-2020 at 03:09 PM

Spain seen joining Greece, France, Italy on European Patrol Corvette program

By: Tom Kington   17 hours ago

French Sailors of the navy frigate Vendemiaire stand guard on the deck as it prepares to dock at the international port in Manila on March 12, 2018. France wants to replace its Floréal-class vessels with a European Patrol Corvette, subsidized by the European Defence Fund. (Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images)

ROME – Plans by Italy and France to win European Union funding for the construction of a new corvette have been boosted as Spain looks set to follow Greece and sign up to the program.

The planning for a new 3,000 ton corvette is a cornerstone of the new naval joint venture between Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group which was launched last year and named Naviris.

The two firms are hoping to match Italian and French navy requirements with a jointly built, modular vessel that can handle patrol and surveillance missions as well as taking second-tier roles in anti-submarine and anti-surface missions.

The program, dubbed the European Patrol Corvette, has also been inserted in the EU’s so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, list of recommended pan-European defense programs, which according the EU offers members “options on how to plan and bridge capability gaps in a collaborative manner.”

The PESCO corvette project is coordinated by Italy, with France as partner, but in recent weeks, Greece has also joined as a partner, following discussions between the countries’ navies. And now Spain is likely to follow, an industrial source told Defense News.

“Naviris presented the program to Spain’s Navantia which is interested and it is likely Spain will sign up,” said the source.

On its PESCO listing for the corvette, the EU states “the objective is to design and develop a prototype for a new class of military ship, named “European Patrol Corvette” (EPC), which can host several systems and payloads, in order to accomplish, with a modular and flexible approach, a large number of tasks and missions.”

Adding new partners to the roster of Italy and France is key to winning EU funding. PESCO programs are possible candidates for cash from the European Defence Fund, but only if they have more than two partners on board.

“The corvette is the only naval program on the PESCO list and it should be a priority,” said the source.

Naviris expects the EU fund to issue a Request for Proposal for projects this year, with proposals to then be submitted by industry in 2021, and for decisions on fund allocation to be made the same year.

The source said that if the corvette program gets EU part-funding, it would help sustain the development of the ship’s modularity, allowing it to serve different functions for different navies. “It would have a very open architecture, as well as having a basic and enhanced version,” he said.

Apart from the boost given the program by potential EU funding, the corvette remains a requirement for Italy and France. Rome needs to replace Cassiopea- and Minerva-class vessels being phased out as well as aging Commandante-class vessels.

France is looking to substitute its Floréal-class vessels.

“Italy might need eight corvettes and France is looking to substitute six ships. They both have a need, so the EU funding would be an added opportunity that could create a bandwagon effect with other navies,” said the source.

As Naviris picks up steam, Naval Group CEO Hervé Guillou has said the industrial alliance is open to new partners joining, but so far Germany seems to be uninterested.

Addressing the economic affairs committee of the French Senate on Jan. 28, Guillou said he had visited Berlin the week before to sound out German interest but got little response.
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[*] posted on 18-2-2020 at 12:41 PM

Naval Group Presents Its Industrial and Academic Cooperation Plan with Greece

(Source: Naval Group; issued Feb. 13, 2020)

ATHENS --- During an event at the French Embassy on the 13th of February, Naval Group unveiled its long-term cooperation plan developed to support the acquisition program of two FDI frigates (Belh@rra class) for the Hellenic Navy.

Naval Group, based in Athens since 2008, is proud to be an integral part of the strong strategic alliance between Greece and France.

Thanks to its long-lasting presence in Greece, Naval Group created the conditions for a long-term cooperation with profits for the Greek industry and the creation of high-technology jobs. Naval Group has a robust expertise in building such partnerships worldwide.

Alain Guillou, Naval Group Executive Vice-President Development declared “This cooperation plan will support the Hellenic Navy in achieving regional superiority at sea, but also the ability of the Hellenic industry to actively prepare the future of naval warfare.”

Investing to support the FDI program

Naval Group will share expertise and knowledge with the Hellenic Navy and industry to ensure the ships’ availability over their 30-year lifespan.

Alain Guillou explained “We want to build a long-term partnership with the Hellenic industry and to guarantee the success of the frigate program as well as Hellenic sovereignty through an extensive transfer of technology. The local industry will master the know-how required to support the entire life-cycle of the frigates.”

The follow-on support will be based on the creation of a Digital Support Centre, capable of securing and verifying the integrity of the ship’s data. Naval Group’s combined capabilities in terms of i-maintenance, artificial intelligence and big data will ensure an improved operational availability and a reduced maintenance cost. Together with its Hellenic partners, Naval Group will also support the training of both crews and maintenance teams of the Hellenic Navy with the best simulation technologies.

France will also be operating 5 FDI frigates (Belh@rra class) The first of class will be delivered in 2023 with an entry into active duty in 2025. The group plans on creating an Engineering Centre in charge of the design and development studies for future standards of the Belh@rra-class frigates, making Greece a European centre of excellence for naval warfare innovation.

Beyond Naval Group, the FDI program will bring different actors from the French naval industry to invest in the country and develop partnerships with Greek companies, creating added-value and jobs for decades to come. The FDI program already fostered the rapprochement of the two naval sectors with the GICAN and SEKPY signing a Protocol of Agreement at the same event at the French Embassy.

Increasing the industrial naval activity in Greece

The structured and long-term partnership with the Hellenic industry and naval ecosystem proposed by Naval Group will foster production in Greece but also the capability to address future needs.

“Naval Group has been working with the Hellenic Industry for many years. Sunlight in particular is a strategic supplier for Naval Group’s submarines programs. We know the quality of the companies here and we want more to join our supply chain and to join us on-board our different programs” mentioned Alain Guillou during his speech.

Following the progress of the FDI program, 8 new Greek companies have joined Naval Group international supply chain in late 2019. They signed Letters of Intent during the 13th of February event regarding their involvement in future programs of the French group. About 20 more are currently being surveyed to join later this year.

Making Greece a centre for naval innovation

Regarding the longer vision of the program, Alain Guillou explained “the Belh@rra class frigates will integrate successive generations of systems over their 30-year lifespan. We want Greece to be at the centre of European naval innovation. We already signed partnerships with 3 universities but we want to go further with industry and academic partners here to address the future needs of the frigates but also more largely the future of the naval sector.”

Naval Group has a strong interest in developing collaborative R&D projects with Hellenic companies, universities and research institute in cutting edge technologies such as additive manufacturing or drones. Naval Group aims at developing a network of technological and research projects so as to build the Hellenic future naval warfare capabilities. During the event, Naval Group signed partnerships with NTUA, University of Patras and the University of Crete.

Naval Group also intends to support the development of Greek startups by setting up a startup and SME accelerator.

Naval Group is already working on cyber security applied to the naval and maritime domains with Greek partners in the frame of different European programs such as CYBERMAR as well as the PESCO Pandora and H2020 projects.

Finally, France and Greece share a common need for maritime surveillance. Naval Group proposes to create, together with Greek partners, an industrial and commercial activity that would address the European market from Greece. Naval Group has begun discussions with Hellenic companies in order to position itself on European research programs and to carry out joint projects.

Naval Group is a European leader in naval defence. The group designs, builds and supports submarines and surface ships. It also supplies services to shipyards and naval bases. The group reports revenues of €3.6 billion and has a workforce of 14,860 (data for 2018).

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[*] posted on 22-2-2020 at 03:56 PM

Virtual Training Becomes Reality for Royal Netherlands Navy

(Source: Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding; issued Feb 20, 2020)

Damen’s virtual reality training program supports students by game techniques and a narrative as they move through the HNLMS Holland, a patrol ship of the Holland class and learn as they play. (DSNS image)

Technical students from the Royal Netherlands Navy can now make virtual acquaintance with naval ships. They do this with a Virtual Reality (VR) programme that Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS), Thales Nederland and the maritime innovation cluster Extended Reality developed for them.

The programme was commissioned by the Royal Dutch Navy last Wednesday, prior to the signing of the contract for a new supply vessel.

The so-called Intro-TD-OPV experience was created for students of the Royal Navy Technical Training. Supported by game techniques and a narrative, the student moves over the HNLMS Holland, a patrol ship of the Holland class and learns, playfully, the functional design of the ship and the location of the systems on board.

The idea is that VR technology, game technology and gamification contribute to innovative education. With this, the Royal Netherlands Navy tries to fascinate and bind the technical target group. After all, the defence sector in general, and the Royal Navy in particular, nowadays need all the tools to recruit and retain suitable personnel.

The VR programme was developed in close collaboration with the maritime innovation cluster Extended Reality. This cluster is largely run by naval personnel from the Simulation Center Maritime (SimCenMar). Here experiments are performed with all kinds of possibilities of extended reality.

For the realisation of this VR project, DSNS worked closely with students from the Media Designer course at Scalda in Vlissingen. They participated in the course 3D models and graphics. To date, more than ten trainees have been involved in DSNS's ever-growing VR/AR department.

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[*] posted on 5-3-2020 at 10:03 PM

F125 frigate Nordrhein-Westfalen handed over to Bundeswehr

Nicholas Fiorenza, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

05 March 2020

The Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), Germany's Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, received the second F125 frigate, Nordrhein-Westfalen, at the Wilhelmshaven naval base on 3 March, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) announced in a press release the same day.

The second F125 frigate, Nordrhein-Westfalen, was handed over to the BAAINBw on 3 March. (TKMS)

The German Navy will prepare the ship to become operational and its crew will receive further training on board, the company said.

Nordrhein-Westfalen is the second of four F125 frigates being built for the German Navy. The first-in-class Baden-Württemberg was handed over on 30 April 2019 and entered service on 17 June 2019. TKMS said the third F125 frigate, Sachsen-Anhalt, is scheduled to be delivered in 2020 and the fourth, Rheinland-Pfalz, in 2021.

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