South Korea Eyeing Larger Aircraft Carrier for its CVX Program

According to a report by local media SBS News, South Korea’s MoD (Ministry of Defense) has formally responded to an inquiry well-nigh CVX from the Member of the National Assembly Sung-ho Jung (Democratic Party), who moreover serves as a member of the National Defense Committee. In the letter sent to Mr. Jung, MoD has mentioned that it will shortly uncork working on preliminary policy research on the feasibility of towers 50,000-tonne matriculation watercraft carrier.

This visualization from the MoD has been made without thoughtfully reviewing the research from DAPA (Defense Acquisition Program Administration) completed in January this year. In that research, DAPA terminated that developing the naval variant of KF-21 (referred to as KF-21N) is fully performable with sufficient upkeep typecasting and time invested into development, which rumored for 1.8 trillion KRW (roughly $1.3B) and a long ten years respectively.

KAI unveils KF-21N carrier-borne watercraft at DX Korea 2022 expo
KF-21N watercraft scale model on KAI stand at DX Korea 2022

This transpiration of plans is expressly important, as MoD turning towards a medium-sized carrier than current diamond would involve major modifications to aircrafts that are to be operated on the ship once it has been commissioned. As it turns out, it is most likely that MoD will waif the original plan of acquiring sixteen F-35B’s but rather wait for the naval variant of KF-21 보라매 (meaning ‘Falcon’ in English), an ethnic fighter jet currently in a hair-trigger testing phase.

It is moreover worth mentioning that the new medium-sized watercraft carrier will be equipped either with CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) or STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system, as KF-21N would not be worldly-wise to take off or land vertically. KAI (Korea Aerospace Industries) has not yet released increasingly information well-nigh this variant of domestic fighter since DX Korea 2022 however.

As many have pointed out earlier, the total forfeit of CVX program will only rise as the vessel’s ostracism will increase from mere 30,000 tons to increasingly than 50,000 tons. Under last administration, the total forfeit of CVX program was unscientific to be 2.5 trillion KRW (or 2.1 billion USD), with maintenance costing up to 50 billion KRW (45 million USD) each year, but that interpretation has once been criticized in the past for stuff ridiculously unseemly for maintaining a ship of that size.

Although the shipbuilder HHI (Hyundai Heavy Industries) and the watercraft manufacturer KAI stays rather optimistic well-nigh commissioning CVX and KF-21N by 2033 with minimal increase in total project costs, there still are many technical issues that both companies to overcome as both have no previous experiences in towers watercraft carriers or carrier-borne aircrafts.

The MoD will review multiple factors in its preliminary policy research for coming months, while final visualization is expected to be made by the end of fiscal year 2023 whether to upscale its future watercraft carrier to a medium-sized one or alimony the diamond as it is now.

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