January 8 that the website of Jane’s Defense Weekly published a report entitled “South Korean Navy Announces the Modified Concept Design of the Future Light Aircraft Carrier” on January 6th, saying that the South Korean Navy announced the revised concept design of its future next generation of light aircraft carriers on January 3.
South Korean Ministry of Defense officials revealed on October 8, 2020 that the South Korean Joint Staff Headquarters has requested that the basic design of the aircraft carrier be included in the Ministry of Defense’s medium-term defense plan for 2021 to 2025, which means that the design work may begin as early as this year. The full text is excerpted as follows:
The latest design confirms that the aircraft carrier will not adopt the sliding take-off design, but a two-ship island design.
Computer-generated images also seem to confirm that the South Korean navy plans to equip the aircraft carrier with the American Lockheed-Martin F-35B stealth short-drop take-off and landing aircraft.
Ship-borne helicopters can also be seen on this aircraft carrier.
However, the South Korean Navy pointed out that the latest conceptual design may be further modified at the basic and detailed design stages.
The second picture provided by the South Korean navy shows that the aircraft carrier will be part of an aircraft carrier battle group.
The announcement of this latest development comes after South Korean officials and defense researchers held a meeting at the end of October 2020 to discuss the development of the aircraft carrier’s “core technology”.
At that time, the Korea Defense Acquisition Planning Administration announced that a total of seven institutions and enterprises, including the Korea National Defense Development Agency, Busan University and LIG Nex1, will participate in the R&D process, which is expected to be completed by 2024.
As an example of core technology, the Korea Defense Acquisition Planning Administration mentioned the planned development of coating materials for the aircraft carrier flight deck.
Previously, the South Korean Joint Staff Headquarters requested that the construction of the aircraft carrier be planned to be advanced in the face of the increasing naval combat capabilities of neighboring countries.
More specifically, South Korean Ministry of Defense officials revealed on October 8, 2020 that the South Korean Joint Staff Headquarters has requested that the basic design of the aircraft carrier be included in the Ministry of Defense’s medium-term national defense plan for 2021 to 2025, which means that the design work may begin as early as this year.
According to the data of the South Korean navy, it will take about three years to complete the basic design of the aircraft carrier, and seven years will take seven years to complete the detailed design and construction, which means that the aircraft carrier may be delivered as early as 2031.
Depending on the time required during the trial period, the service time of this aircraft carrier may be one to two years earlier than originally planned.
Although the exact model of the short-drap take-off and landing fighter to be equipped with the new aircraft carrier has not been officially determined, Yonhap reported in August 2020 that it may be a U.S.-made F-35B, and said that it was the only carrier-based model that meets the requirements of the South Korean navy.
It is believed that the navy initially needed about 20 F-35Bs.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Defense, it is expected that the aircraft carrier will be able to deliver troops, equipment and materials through carrier-borne helicopters and short-dipping landing fighters, and “effectively suppress threats”.
The aircraft carrier will serve as a multi-purpose maritime platform to deal with transnational and non-military threats, such as protecting South Korean citizens overseas and supporting rescue and disaster relief operations.
Hyundai Heavy Industries of Korea was awarded a contract for the conceptual design of this light aircraft carrier in October 2019.