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Romania reaffirms commitment to European Patrol Corvette program after cancellation of national tender.

According to information published by Fanatik on May 15, 2024, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu has renewed discussions on acquiring corvettes for the Romanian Navy, with decisions anticipated soon. He also mentioned the Corvette European patrol program.
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Artist rendering of the future European Patrol Corvette. (Picture source: European Union)

The Romanian Navy's acquisition program for new corvettes has been a complex and prolonged process. Initially, Romania planned to purchase four Gowind 2500 corvettes from the French shipbuilder Naval Group in partnership with the Romanian Santierul Naval Constanta (SNC) shipyard. This deal, valued at €1.2 billion, also included modernizing the Romanian Navy’s T22 frigates and establishing a maintenance and training center​.

However, in 2023, Romania cancelled this procurement due to financial and legal challenges, including issues with securing funds and fulfilling domestic legislative requirements. Despite these efforts, the Romanian Ministry of National Defence (MoND) was unable to finalize the contract with Naval Group, nor proceed with alternative bids from other European shipbuilders like Damen and Fincantieri​​.

In parallel with these challenges, Romania has joined the European Patrol Corvette (EPC) program under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative. This pan-European project aims to develop a new class of multipurpose corvettes. The EPC design emphasizes flexibility and modularity, enabling the integration of various systems and payloads tailored to specific mission profiles, such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and air defense.

With a projected displacement of approximately 3,000 tons, the EPC balances operational effectiveness with cost-efficiency. This size makes it suitable for a wide range of maritime operations, providing both the capability and agility needed for diverse missions. The corvette is expected to feature a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) or combined diesel-electric and diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system. This hybrid approach allows for both high-speed transit and efficient cruising speeds.

Armament and systems onboard the EPC include a main gun (likely 76mm or 127mm), vertical launch systems (VLS) for surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, torpedo tubes, and close-in weapon systems (CIWS) for point defense.

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