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South Korea Navy recent F-35B order confirms plans to get new aircraft carrier


South Korea reportedly plans to order 20 F-35B stealth jump jets, a strong signal that the South Korean navy is leaning forward with the development of a light aircraft carrier.
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South Korea Navy recent F 35B order confirms plans to get new light aircraft carrier 925 003 An SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Chargers of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron-14. (Picture source: Mass communication specialist 3rd class Charles Oki/U.S. Navy)


Last year, it was reported that the country is studying two aircraft carrier designs.

One is a medium-sized 70,000-ton carrier, with a load capacity of 70,400 tons and a length of 298m and a width of 75m. A medium-sized carrier can hold 1,340 crew members and can carry 40 fixed-wing (32) and rotating-wing (8) aircraft. Expected acquisition costs amounted to 5.4 trillion won.

The second proposal is a 40,000-ton light-duty carrier with a full load of 41,500 tons. It is 238m long and 62m wide. A light carrier can carry 720 crew members and can carry 20 fixed-wing (12) and rotating-wing (8) aircraft. Expected acquisition costs amounted to KRW 3 trillion.


South Korea Navy recent F 35B order confirms plans to get new light aircraft carrier 925 002 Circulating renderings of a light aircraft carrier. (Picture source: South Korea Defence acquisition program administration)


The move to buy the F-35B could signal that the country is moving towards the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) configuration that is employed by Britain, Italy and Spain for their carriers.

The F-35A is part of the U.S. Air Force, the F-35B belongs to the U.S. Marine Corps, and the F-35C is a fighter operated by the U.S. Navy. Currently, Korean aircraft carriers are in a position to introduce the F-35B, a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.