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New challenger joins competition for next Korean carrier

1st September 2021 - 13:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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HHI signs MoU with Babcock to offer the ROK Navy a CVX design, one fitted with a ski jump. (Photo: HHI)

As HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Korea, attention turns to ROK’s indigenous aircraft carrier programme, with Babcock and HHI signing an MoU.

Babcock International and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have signed an MoU in order to foster collaboration on the development of the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) CVX Aircraft Carrier Programme.

Babcock will bring their experience as a part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance that designed, built and delivered the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers for the UK to the CVX carrier programme.

Whereas HHI offers access to its Ulsan shipyard, the largest shipyard in the world, and its experience as one of the largest shipbuilding companies worldwide.

This announcement comes at a very appropriate time as HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Korean waters towards the end of August.

ROK’s Ministry of National Defense announced plans for an LPX-II light aircraft carrier in August 2020 and the name ‘CVX’ was picked up in February 2021.

Funds of $2.07 billion were reserved for the programme in 2021, however, it has not yet been approved by the National Assembly.

There is some scepticism surrounding the programme as some believe a light aircraft carrier is not the most suitable for ROK’s strategic interests.

Work is expected to officially start in 2022 and be completed by 2033 if the programme is approved.

HHI’s main competitor for the programme, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, also signed an MoU with Fincantieri earlier this year.

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