The South Korean Ministry of Defense (MOD) has announced that the Republic of Korea’s (RoK) Navy will receive its first ever light aircraft carrier, LPX-II.

In October last year, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) won the contract to design the LPX-II.

The vessel was originally designed to be an amphibious assault ship. However, as per the latest advancements, the LPX-II aircraft carrier will be dedicated to air operations with F-35B and rotary wings.

HHI is scheduled to conclude the conceptual design later this year.

Originally expected to be launched in 2033, LPX-II’s project schedule has been fast-tracked to be launched later this decade.

The vessel will be based on the existing Dokdo-class amphibious assault LPX-I ship project designed by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction.

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It will be longer and heavier than the Dokdo-class vessel and will not include a well deck and launch catapult.

LPX-II will have the capability to displace approximately 30,000t and accommodate around 20 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) fighters.

It will also deploy future Marine Attack Helicopters of the ROK Marine Corps.

The RoK Air Force fast-tracked the process to acquire F-35B Lightning II, along with 20 additional F-35A aircraft.

Once delivered, the air force will operate a total of 80 F-35 aircraft.