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Class overview
Name: CVX
Builders: Hyundai Heavy Industries
Operators:  Republic of Korea Navy
Preceded by: Dokdo class
In service: 2033
In commission: 2030
Planned: 1
Building: 0
Completed: 0
Active: 0
General characteristics
Type: Aircraft carrier
Displacement: 40,000 tons
Aircraft carried:
  • Planned complement of 20 F-35Bs
  • Unspecified number of helicopters

The CVX[1] (formerly known as LPX-II, Hangul: 대형수송함-II) is a class of aircraft carriers currently under development for the Republic of Korea Navy. The class is follow-on from the previous Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships which prioritized amphibious capability while the CVX will be designed for fixed wing and rotary wing operations instead, constituting a traditional aircraft carrier. The planned development of the class was formally announced and funded as part of the 2020~2024 Mid-Term Defense Plan (국방중기계획), published in December 2020.[2]

Background

The introduction of the CVX into service is a continuation of the development of a blue water navy by the Republic of Korea Navy, a process begun in 2001. Thus far the program has consisted of the Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships, the Sejong the Great class (KDX-III), Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class, and Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyers, the Incheon-class frigates and Type 214 submarines.

The development of the blue water navy reflects the geopolitical circumstances which the Republic of Korea faces. At present, its two closest neighbors (China and Japan) are in the process of developing full aircraft carrier capability for their respective navies. The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) operates the Hyūga-class helicopter carriers and Izumo-class multi-purpose operation destroyers (de facto aircraft carrier) while the People's Liberation Army Navy currently operates the carriers Liaoning (Type 001) and Shandong (Type 002) and is pursuing the development of a Type 003 class of aircraft carrier.

Development

In late 2020, design and acquisition work on the CVX class was sped up in the hope of countering naval expansions in South Korea's neighbors. This move is expected to bring forward the aircraft carrier's future in-service date by one year, and will require a hastened procurement process for the F-35B fighter jets that the warship will carry.[3] As of February 2021, work on the CVX will begin in 2022 and end in 2033.[1]

Specifications

Unlike the preceding Dokdo class, the CVX will not feature a well deck for amphibious assault craft. Instead, internal space will be dedicated to aircraft storage and maintenance. The flight deck will be of an axial design rather than using a ski-jump (used by other F-35B jet aircraft operators except for the United States Navy).[2][4]

The CVX will be one of the few aircraft carriers in the world to feature two islands. The UK defence corporation Babcock International has been providing support to the CVX program and is a possible explanation for the twin-island design as Babcock led the development of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier program for the Royal Navy.[2]

The Republic of Korea government has stated that the sensor and weapons fit for the CVX will be developed domestically and the ship will feature a multi-function radar (MFR) for ballistic missile defence (BMD). The same system will be used about the next generation destroyer for the Republic of Korea Navy (KDDX).[2]

Aviation

The CVX will be the first ship class in the Republic of Korea Navy dedicated to aircraft operations. The ship will make use of an axial flight deck similar to those used by the Tarawa, Wasp and America-class amphibious assault ships of the United States Navy. The Ministry of National Defense confirmed in August 2020 that twenty F-35Bs would be procured for the CVX. In terms of rotary wing aviation, the ship will accommodate the future Marine Attack Helicopters of the ROK Marine Corps.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b Dominguez, Gabriel; Kim, Dae Young (24 February 2021). "South Korea to begin work on light aircraft carrier in 2022". Janes. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e Vavasseur, Xavier (4 January 2021). "South Korea Officially Starts LPX-II Aircraft Carrier Program". Naval News. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  3. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel (8 October 2020). "South Korean military aiming to speed up acquisition of light aircraft carrier". Janes. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  4. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel; Kim, Dae Young (6 January 2021). "RoKN unveils revised conceptual design for future light aircraft carrier". Janes. Retrieved 2021-03-08.