The new South Korea light carrier will prominently feature American F-35s as its main airwing. It has similarities to the U.S. lightweight carrier design with British designs on its superstructure.
South Korea will soon have their small aircraft carriers smaller than the Nimitz class but similar to U.S. light aircraft carriers. One distinct difference is the superstructure that will have two islands.
One board will be 20 F-35 STOL that hovers and land vertically on the deck. Added are helicopters used for other missions like anti-sub warfare (ASW). Similar to U.S. light assault carriers, which have the same size, reported Forbes.
On the deck are two islands, one for controlling the ship and the other functioning as air control for all aircraft. Having two islands is part of the U.K.'s involvement in the design phase.
The South Korean joint chiefs of staff decided in 2019 to give the go-ahead for the planning and building of a light aircraft carrier. Estimated costs when it is built will be worth more than a billion dollars.
The ship's builder is Hyundai Heavy Industries contracted by the government to fabricate the hull, with the British carrier-maker Babcock's assistance to complete it. In 2020, the first light carrier's design was based on American carriers and assault ships with a single island.
Most twin-island designs are not attractive but have overall benefits. Aircraft carriers, even light ones, are still bigger than most ships, and having two stacks for exhaust is an advantage. This is best for conventional that nuclear-powered supercarriers like the Nimitz class. The U.S. light carrier design with American F-35s is a formidable overall design.
This type of ship design maximizes deck space for planes. Both Hyundai and Babcock used the area for the deck elevator for moving planes. This avoids too much traffic on the flight deck.
Taking off from the ship will be F-35s using its unique characteristics. There will be no catapults that launch planes forward, like American carriers and a few others.
Korean planners want the new carriers to have many planes and aircraft on the ship.
The ship has the same size as a U.S. Navy America-class assault ship. It is 845 feet long and displaces 45,000 tons of water, which is big. With nine deck spots for launching and landing helicopters, the ship's deck is the same as the America-class.
The artist's rendering reveals a South Korean vessel roughly the same dimensions as a U.S. Navy America-class assault ship, which is 845 feet long and displaces 45,000 tons of water. An America has nine deck spots for launching and landing helicopters. The South Korean carrier's own nine spots are arranged just like those on the U.S. vessel.
There will be an amount of training for South Korea to operate 20 F-35s and boat maintenance. However, the expected 20 F-35s will be as many as 40 to 60 at least.
To conclude, 20 American F-35s will be a potent airwing to a ship that is the size of a U.S. light carrier design.
Related article: South Korea Building First Light Aircraft Carrier Armed With F-35bs