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KCVX (Korean aircraft-Carrier Experimental)

Korea had previously tried to introduce aircraft carriers, and it was at the time of Kim Young-sang's government [1993-1998]. The KCVX plan was initiated in the early 1990s by the Korean Navy as a pilot shipbuilding order to DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries to start something. While Korea-Japan relations were cooling due to the announcement of the construction of the Dokdo islets in 1996.

In 1994, Koryo Tong Co., Ltd. purchased Minsk and Novorossisk, the Kiev-class carriers of the former Soviet Union , with 3.7 billion won and 3.4 billion won, respectively, under the name of scrap metal imports. Ther were problems dismantling Novorossik and Minsk due to pollution problems, and the dismantling found civil society in opposition. During this two-year stay in Korea Minsk had been thoroughly researched and rebuilt, but it is unknown. There is a reason why a group of aircraft carrier plans in the early 90s were called as Kim Young-sam's carrier.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Hyundai Heavy Industries [HHI] competed in am experimental design competition for a Navy aircraft carrier in 1994. Since the beginning of 1996, the Dokdo conflict with Japan deepened. At that time, the Kim Young-sam administration had established a controversy with Japan regarding the Dokdo friction and past history issues.

Aircraft carrier plans and a model was unveiled at the Seoul Air Show 10 May 1996 [other sources report October 1996]. Hyundai Heavy Industries discussed an aircraft carrier commissioned in 2012 for the Republic of Korea Navy. The company displayed a model of a vessel 197m x 24m with a 15,000-ton displacement. It was closer to an aviation cruiser than an aircraft carrier, but it was designed by Hyundai Heavy Industries. Even China, which spends massive military spending, was the first carrier to upgrade its Liaoning class, the Admiral Kuznetsov class in Russia. However, the impact of the change of government and IMF crisis produced financial difficulties and practical limitations that stalled the project.

As the plan was postponed, the size of the aircraft carrier was enlarged, to no less than 20,000 tons, and the correct displacement might be more than 35,000 tons for a medium-sized aircraft carrier. The displacement is increased when it is seen as a strategic effect, and a displacement of more than 35,000 tons will support smooth ocean operations that can reflect the real reequirements compared to neighboring countries such as Japan and China.

The ship should carry distant early warning aircraft, and fixed-wing high performance carrier-based aircraft, such the F/A-18 or F-35BC next-generation stealth fighter. This level of operation is possible through a medium-sized aircraft carrier of displacement of 35,000-40,000 tons. In 2000 it was estimated that a budget of approximately $ 700 million would be needed by the Republic of Korea Navy for a 35,000-ton aircraft carrier.

According to some reports, an aircraft carrier was planned for sometime after 2010, as part of the Strategic Mobile Fleet. In 20 March 2001 ROK President Kim Dae-jung said that South Korea would create a new "strategic mobile fleet" consisting of destroyers, submarines and anti-submarine aircraft. In a speech before graduating midshipmen at the Korea Naval Academy in the southeastern port city of Chinhae, President Kim said, ``We will soon have a strategic mobile fleet that protects state interests in the five big oceans and play a role of keeping peace in the world.''

Korea's Strategic Mobile Fleet could be sent to secure a sea lane in East Asia in the event of a maritime dispute. Currently, the Korean Navy is divided into three sectors -- one each assigned to East, West and South Seas surrounding the southern half of the Korean peninsula. The Strategic Mobile Fleet will take a form of an integrated fleet that can be rapidly deployed into the area of trouble. In this respect, the Stratgic Mobile Fleet is a transition from the current coastal navy to the blue water navy. Under prevailing naval doctrines, the presence of an aircraft carrier is pivotal to a blue water navy.

The "Flight Deck Design Proposal" was from the Korea Maritime University. The BLUE TEMPTATION team's Korean carrier proposal in October 2003 mostly recommended a carrier about 265 meters long.

The Military Review article in March 2008 looked at a modification of the Dokdo class amphibious multipurpose ship with structural differences, such as an increased hull and a ski ramp. Some discussions of such future implementation of the multi-purpose amphibious ship may have been a development of the design of the overall form Dokdo did not anticipate a big difference, but this more detailed treatment came to rather different conclusions. A second elevator would be added with a 30-ton load capacity to transport the heavily armed F-35B. In addition, there will be a small mid-deck elevator carrying weapons deployed separately.

The core of the aircraft carrier flight deck operations would reqire a full-length of 230 meters [nearly 750 feet] and a beam of 32m or so [versus 200 meters and 32 meters for Dockdo] approximately the size of the Australian Canberra LHD. Unlike Dokdo with just one deck structure, an upper deck for Carrier-based aircraft and a lower deck for landing craft is adopted, in accordance with the height of the the hull was about 10m higher. icle in March 2008 looked at the question of an aircraft carrier in South Korea. The full load displacement is about 6000 tons to over 10,000 tons relative to the 20,000 tons of Dokdo. Because the existing 5,000 horsepower diesel engines have insufficient output, propulsion would be updated with additional diesel engines or a gas turbine engine, and with the additional requirements for exhaust stacks order to support these expansion engine systems [as will be seen relative to a 2007 design study].

Korean netizens design a future aircraft carrier named KCVX, with a length of 275 meters, width of 43.5 meters, draft of 9.7 meters, full load displacement of 48,000 tons, a maximum speed of 28, cruising speed of eight. With 3 x 7 Gatling machine guns as the defense weapons. 3 x 25 mounts of anti-missile missile system (RAM), 4 Harpoon anti-ship missile system with 16 Harpoon missiles, 32 Enhanced Sea Sparrow air defense missile system consists of 128 Sea Sparrow missiles and two 3 is connected with torpedo launchers as their weapon. The carrier is designed to carry 32 F-35B fighters, 16 F-35C fighters, four E-2C Hawkeyes, four anti-submarine helicopters KMH, six helicopters and landing operations type KMH KMH four offensive helicopters.

Some of the details are implausible [carrying both F-35B and F-35C], while others are somewhat improbable - the forward island location seems a bit precarious.

To cope with potential maritime disputes with neighboring countries, we need to secure aircraft carriers as soon as possible, Rep. Chung Hee-soo of the ruling Saenuri Party and a member of the National Assemblys Defense Committee, said 11 October 2013 during a confirmation hearing for Adm. Choi Yoon-hee, new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For more active international peacekeeping operations, our Navy should have carriers. According to Rep. Chung Hee-soo, as of 2013 the ROK Navy planned to build two 30,000-ton light aircraft carriers between 2028 and 2036. The carrier is to have specifications similar to the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour, which can support about 30 aircraft.

A 45,000-ton medium-sized aircraft carrier can mount about 30 to 40 fixed-wing fighters and helicopters. The cost of their purchase will be comparable to or more expensive than the value of the aircraft carrier itself, and the operating cost should also be taken into account for the fuel / armament / maintenance budget of these aircraft. In other words, as shown in the text, if the construction cost of the 45,000-ton aircraft carrier is 1.2 trillion won, the cost of purchasing the aircraft to be installed in the aircraft carrier should be at least 3 trillion won, and the maintenance / supply system must be added.

Korea might need three carriers to do all maintenance, training, and operations. If there are two carriers, one carrier must be prepared for training and operation at the same time. Especially, when there is one carrier, it is not possible to put in the mission at all times. France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier and the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier in the UK are not enough to use as a single ship when the ship and the troops are fatigued. However, considering the economic power of Korea, more that one aircraft carrier is not realistic.

Korea is not suffering from distant overseas disputes. There is also no area where there is a sharp margin of interest to the extent that large forces should be dispatched. The countries that are going to wage war are all around the Korean peninsula, so Korea can launch aircraft from the peninsula. In addition, some wing squadrons are close to the coast. Since the distance between the neighboring countries and the mainland coastline is shorter than 200km, the Korean Peninsula itself could be used as a runway, so it would be better to have a relatively cheap air tanker instead of expensive carrier.

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