The Republic of Korea’s (RoK) plans to build its first aircraft carrier, has resulted in an important partnership announcement between two of the nation’s heavyweight industrial firms, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
The two firms announced their partnership to proceed together on South Korea’s CVX light aircraft carrier programme at the ongoing Seoul ADEX, where they entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together on a light aircraft carrier for the RoK Navy (RoKN).
The light aircraft carrier programme is estimated to cost US$1.8 billion and slated for completion in early 2030.
The new carrier will feature the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF) F-35B Vertical Take-Off And Landing (VTOL) fighters, in addition to ROKN Leonardo AW159 and new Sikorsky MH-60R maritime helicopters. The KF-21 indigenous 4.5 generation fighter will not have a carrier version, hence will not operate of the future CVX light aircraft carrier.
HHI has built Multi-purpose Frigates (FFX Batch-II / III), Fleet support vessel (AOE-II), 1,800 ton Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines (KSS-II / III) and also delivered the Frigate BRP Jose Rizal to the Philippine Navy and HMNZS Aotearoa to the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Since constructing and delivering the first indigenous Korea frigate in 1980, HHI has grown into a key supplier to the RoKN and the Korean Coast Guard (KCG). HHI’s Naval & Special Ship Business Unit was first nominated by the Korean Ministry of Defence in 1975 to design and build the RoK’s first indigenous Korean frigate; the Ulsan-class frigate.
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