South Korea Unveils Design for New Aircraft Carrier That Will Carry F-35Bs
South Korea Unveils Design for New Aircraft Carrier That Will Carry F-35Bs. The South Korean Ministry of Defense has released an updated design for its upcoming aircraft carrier, now dubbed the LPX-II, learned citing sputnik.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense has released an updated design for its upcoming aircraft carrier, now dubbed the LPX-II. Based on the Dokdo-class helicopter carriers, the LPX-II is far larger and reconfigured to accommodate the vertical takeoff-capable F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, like US amphibious assault ships do.
According to the plans revealed earlier this week, South Korea’s next aircraft carrier will be a dedicated light aircraft carrier, not an amphibious assault ship. However, it will be far larger than Seoul’s present assault ships, the Dokdo-class landing platform helicopters (LPHs), which have both a flat flight deck above for helicopters in addition to a well deck below, capable of disembarking landing craft carrying marines and their vehicles.
A Dokdo-class ship’s displacement is roughly 18,800 tons fully loaded, but according to Naval news, the LPX-II will likely exceed 40,000 tons at full load, making it comparable to the United States’ America-class and China’s Type 075 amphibious assault ships. Like the US warships, the LPX-II will sport F-35B stealth aircraft; however, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has no equivalent vertical takeoff and landing fighter and will likely only fly helicopters.
According to Naval News, the LPX-II will be able to carry some 20 F-35Bs. However, it will likely also carry a variety of helicopters. Differing from previous design suggestions, the most recent image shows a flat flight deck, not a bow ramp.
“The 30,000-ton level aircraft carrier can transport military forces, equipment and materials and can operate fighter jets that are capable of vertical take-off and landing,” said the Defense Ministry release, according to CNN. “It will enable the military to more effectively suppress threats and dispatch forces and materials to a disputed region in the sea by playing a role of a controlling vessel for the navy unit.”
The project’s contract was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries last October, but the conceptual design will likely not be complete until later this year and the warship itself not commissioned in the Republic of Korea Navy until the early 2030s.
The US Marine Corps has already pioneered what it calls a “Lightning Carrier,” in which the majority of an amphibious assault ship’s air wing is composed of F-35B Lightning IIs, enabling it to be rapidly dispatched around the globe as yet another aircraft carrier for Washington, though it is less than half the size of one of the Nimitz-class fleet carriers.