on 3 January, The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) unveiled a revised conceptual design for its future next-generation light aircraft carrier.
The RoKN pointed out, however, that the latest conceptual design can be further revised during the basic and detailed designed stages.
On 30 December 2020, details for South Korea’s LPX-II light aircraft carrier were finalized and the necessary budget was officially allocated in the 2020~2024 Mid-Term Defense Plan.
The latest design, which confirms that the vessel will not feature a ski-jump, features a twin-island arrangement.
The computer-generated imagery (CGI) also appears to confirm that the service plans to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighters from the vessel.
Naval helicopters, somewhat similar in appearance to the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk, can also be seen on the carrier.
The latest developments come after South Korean officials and defence researchers held their first meeting in late October 2020 to discuss the development of “core technologies” for the carrier.
The country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced at the time that a total of seven institutions and companies, including the Agency for Defense Development, Pusan National University, and LIG Nex1, would take part in the development process, which is expected to be completed by 2024.
South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was awarded a contract for the LPX-II conceptual design in October last year. The LPX-II project aims to build a new versatile large-deck landing ship for short take-off and vertical landing fighter jets.
HHI is expected to finish the conceptual design by the second half of 2020, with commissioning with Republic of Korea Navy planned for the early 2030s. The vessel, displacing around 40,000 tons (30,000 tons initially but recent DAPA references to the project mention the higher figure) would be based on the existing Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship (LPX-I project) but without a well deck according to the latest information. It would be able to accommodate around 20 F-35B STOVL fighters.
The LPX-II vessel will also deploy future Marine Attack Helicopters of the ROK Marine Corps, for which there is an upcoming competition between local company KAI (with the Surion MAH), Bell Helicopters (with the AH-1Z) and Boeing (with the AH-64 Apache). All three companies were showcasing their solutions at ADEX 2019.