Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Babcock International have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to focus on the South Korean Navy’s future light aircraft carrier project opportunity.

The MoU signing took place between Babcock and HHI holding company Korean Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE) at Babcock Korea facility in Busan.

In June, HHI displayed its conceptual design for the programme code-named CV eXperimental (CVX).

An HHI spokesman said at the time that the company and Babcock are under contract for consultancy services associated to CVX’s basic design, reported Defense News.

Babcock chief corporate affairs officer John Howie said: “As a lead partner within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance that designed, built and delivered the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers for the UK, we are delighted to be able to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with HHI.

“Babcock has the proven capabilities to deliver large scale complex programmes and by affirming our already strong relationship with Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, our collaborative and complementary skills and expertise can deliver a cutting-edge sovereign Aircraft Carrier capability to the Republic of Korea.”

The future CVX aircraft carrier would be designed to carry short take off, vertical landing (STOVL) fighter jets.

The agreement comes as the UK Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) with aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth conducted a combined exercise in Korean waters with the South Korean Navy.

Republic of Korea MOD Defence Attaché brigadier Mike Murdoch said: “The timing of the MoU, signed today between Babcock and HHI, is also particularly fitting as HMS Queen Elizabeth visits Korea at sea.

“The Royal Navy are keenly supportive of our friends and colleagues in the Republic of Korea Navy and this MoU shows how the UK and Korean industries are moving towards a closer relationship.”