According to officials of South Korea, they will be adding a light carrier and start construction of its superstructure in 2021. Along with ship, there will be addons like fighter jets domestic and foreign to arm it with.
Recently, the South Korean Defense Ministry has signified the buildup of blue water navy that can operate in the East China Sea or any other ocean. It was only last year that a concept for a large transport vessel that is a platform for several systems. This is called the National Plan 202i-2025 that will see the Republic of Korea has these weapons platforms operating alongside the American fleet, reported CNN.
Defense Ministry press briefs have said that it will be 30,000 tons, a small aircraft carrier that can carry marine battalions, also equipment, and cargo, but most of all the F-35B that has vertical take-off and landing capacity.
Just like the USS America amphibious carrier, it will fulfill the roles as attack platforms and deployment of marine forces with materials too. This versatile vessel will the command ship for units under it.
ROK will be projected to acquire F-35Bs that can launch off the decks without a catapult, operating like Harrier jump jets. In the meantime, the 5th gen F-35B is the only plane capable of short take-off and landing used by armed forces. Its nearest touted equivalent is yet to fly in numbers.
Allies U.S., Japan, and ROK will be one of the operators of the carrier specialized plane in the western pacific. What these nations have in common is a teetering relationship with North Korea.
Even Japan joined the trend and refitted an Izumo-class helicopter carrier to carry F-35B as well. The vessel is a reversal of Japan not rearming itself, but the Chinese are forcing Tokyo to reckon with a force of their own. American amphibious assault ships like the Izumo and Dokdo have F-35Bs on their decks.
The South Korean ship will be in line with the Izumo in naval tonnage, but the USS America docked in Japan is a larger 43,000 to 30,000 tons. It is one of the biggest small carriers next to the Nimitz class and soon the Ford-class.
China is building the same large, amphibious assault ships but they can only use a helicopter to stage attacks. The PLA Air Force does not have the tech to create a copy of the F-35B or the F-22 Raptor, which degrades the value of these ships.
According to Chun In-bum, a retired three-star South Korean Army general, explained why the cost of acquiring these systems are worth it.
He cited areas like logistics, improved training, and radio equipment for military purposes must be undertaken.
Every naval force in the world is lined up to get the F-35B as jump-jets and stealth capable planes that China does not have yet. This multi-role fighter has systems that link with a network of defensive and offensive systems. Though it depends on who operates it, it hits Mach 1.6.
In its internal weapons bay are two 1,000-pound guided munitions, and advanced software for battlefield awareness for all F-35 models.
Carl Schuster formerly associated with US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center said the ship will give South Koreas a sea-based mobile base to go anywhere, and ROK will have a force that can operate in the Indian Ocean.The first aircraft carrier of South Korea is coming in 2025 as China pushes its borders.