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LPX-II + F-35B

The term 'LPX' means Landing Platform Xperimental. ROK Navy officials have mentioned a third LPX in a number occasions over the past couple of years (since it was first reported at Defense News among foreign outlets) whenever the subject came up. In those occasions, the ROK Navy has repeatedly expressed the desire to acquire a third LPX as the 'mothership' of a third escort Flotilla following the deployment of the three Batch 2 KDX-III destroyers. Right now the two LPHs are only enough to outfit two flotilla which are insufficient compared to the number of combat ships the Navy has, and plans to deploy (1 LPX, 2 KDX-II, 2 KDX-III, and several KSS-II/III submarines and FFXs attached to each flotilla). So, the navy will soon release an official requirement of a third LPX which will incorporate all the improvements and learned experience from previous LPX ships.

One particular concern the Navy has raised on the issue of LPX being very necessary for an escort flotilla is that, without a 'fixed-wing aircraft-capable Landing Platform ship', any flotilla that the ROK Navy will deploy will have very inadequate capabilities in a number of fleet protection and projection capabilities and not be worth sending beyond the country's territorial waters at all. These include tasks such as Anti-Submarine Warfare through carrier-launched aircraft, as well as Airborne Early Warning. Helicopters alone cannot perform these tasks -- they cannot be the eyes and arms that can reliably protect a naval strike group from enemy submarines and standoff airborne threats (they can search the air and sea when they are given a specified tactical area around which to conduct planned operations... but they are not long-range surveillance or forward-operating assets so to speak, which are what blue-water naval groups are basically built for). So, having fixed-wing aircraft in an escort flotilla, which escorts logistic, strike or amphibious groups into foreign territories, is crucial to operate in blue-water environment, even it doesn't necessarily entail fighter strike capabilities.

Some in the Korean navy were pushing for the construction of a large transport ship ( LPX- II) for the F-35B a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. In the meantime, the Navy has reviewed the introduction of vertical takeoffs and landings internally, but this is the first time it has raised the requirement to build a large transport ship on the assumption of loading the F-35B.

Hanjin was reselected as the second Dokdo ship's builder in December 2014. As early as August 2015, the information is in Hanjin's RfP for design modifications that will be applied to new Dokdo class ships. One chunk of it includes modifications (from both structural design and operating procedure aspects) to operate fixed-wing aircraft from LPX. The STOVL launching capability developed in this phase, then, will be applied to all succeeding ROK Navy landing platform ships.

According to a military official, the Navy filed a proposal with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in May 2018 about the need for a large transport ship capable of carrying the F-35B. If the JCS approves the request, the DAPA will proceed with the construction of a large transport ship. In August 2018, the Defense Procurement electronic procurement system announced a tender for the research service entitled "Renovation and Opening Study for Future Aircraft Loading Operation of Large Landing Ship". However, the bid was cancelled because companies did not participate.

The Navy now has a 14,000-ton large-scale transport vessels Dokdo and Maradona. The Navy has been considering introducing the F-35B, a vertical takeoff and landing stealth fighter, to this large landing ship. The Navy's Dokdo and Maradona can carry the F-35B. Because the heat generated by the F-35B's engine damages the flight deck. Because of this, the Navy has been promoting the reconstruction of Dokdo and Marado. The United States had promoting the refurbishment and opening of the ships to carry the F-35B. Japan plans to convert the Izumo class fuselage by 2020 to operate the F-35B. Australia is also conducting research to mount the F-35B in Canberra-class landing classes.

However, in the ROK Navy, it is said that the new construction business is stranded as the cost of remodeling is as much as the cost of construction. It is estimated that the cost of building a large-sized amphibious ship of 30,000 to 40,000 tons is between 1 trillion and 2 trillion won. When the F-35B, a stealth fighter, is loaded into the next large transport box, the operation radius of the military is greatly expanded.

The commander of the Marine Corps in Jeonjin District also said in a seminar in September 2018, "We will increase the strategic capacity of the Marine Corps by expanding the landing capability. We are working closely with the Navy for the construction of the next LPX".

There are problems to solve. The US Air Force operates the F-35A and the US Marine Corps operates only the F-35B. The two are different in operation, maintenance, and pilot training systems. In some areas, it is pointed out that there is a problem in using excessive education and training expenses and maintenance expenses for the purpose of operating the F-35B. In addition, if the Navy adopts the F-35B, there is a possibility that the Air Force may rebel because of fear that the number of F-35A will be reduced. The military had decided to introduce 40 F-35A units, and plans to introduce another 20 units.

On 22 October 2019, the biennial Korea International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition opened in Busan, the naval center of South Korea. This Korea International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition attracted defense companies from more than 100 countries and regions all over the world. Of course, As a showcase for the Korean shipbuilding industry, most of them are Korean companies. At present, the South Korean Navy has proposed an ambitious iterative plan for its new navy ship, and these concepts were also unveiled for the first time at this exhibition. At the same time, the South Korean shipbuilding industry attaches great importance to the ship's export industry, and many new concepts of export ships have appeared in this exhibition.

The first is the huge exhibition board of the Korean Navy s second-generation amphibious assault ship LPX-II. The on-site commentator said that the Korean Navy s new-generation amphibious assault ship will be larger than the current Dokdo class and the displacement will reach It is twice as large as Japan's "Izumo" class. It benchmarks the US Navy's "Wasp" class amphibious assault ship and displaces 30-40,000 tons. It is equipped with a jump deck and can operate F-35B fighters. It can carry 16 F-35B fighters, 3,000 marines and 20 armored vehicles, but it is equipped with more advanced and comprehensive ship electrical radar systems and shipborne weapons than the Wasp class, and it has superior independent combat than the Wasp class. ability. This is the first time that the Korean light aircraft carrier's detailed concept debut, which will pave the way for the future development of regular aircraft carriers in South Korea.

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Page last modified: 12-12-2019 19:09:39 ZULU