Korean government requested an estimated 7.2 billion KRW (about six million USD) for CVX but National Assembly authorized a mere 500 million KRW (about $400,000 USD).
The Defense Acquisition Administration (DAPA) and the Committee of National Defense of the National Assembly told the media that the Korean government requested an estimated 7.2 billion KRW (about $6 USD million) in total for CVX project as part of the overall 2022 defense budget. The sum includes 6.2 billion for the CVX basic planning, 848 million for fighter jets and technical support, 99 million for administrative costs, etc.
Last year, the DAPA requested 10 billion KRW for CVX, but the Ministry of Finance. The Defense Committee of the National Assembly declined it and assigned only 100 million KRW for discussion sessions and research, on the reason that the business feasibility study had not been conducted.
On November 16th 2021, the National Defense Committee of the National Assembly decided to decrease the DAPA’s requested budget of 7.2 billion KRW and passed 500 million KRW (about $400K USD) for CVX, concluding that “the business feasibility should be reconsidered.” 500 million KRW was assigned for non-operation expenses such as information-gathering, research, and domestic or overseas field trips. The local press and military interpreted this as a de facto hold of the CVX project.
The National Assembly member of the People Power Party, Won-sik Shin commented during the general meeting held on November 16 that:
“We still do not have a consensus on the necessity of CVX. There has never been a cost analysis even though we need it.”
Another assemblyman, Dong-min Ki of the Democratic Party said, “This proposed budget could be enough to set an overall direction of the project. We coordinated by having discussions four times.” From the same party, the assemblyman Hoon Seol also agreed, “The budget resolution subcommittee’s judgment is that general conditions are not ready for CVX, in the contrast to the strong will of the ROK Navy. The consensus is to proceed under proper conditions.”
However, voices of opposition were also heard as the assemblyman Kyu-baek Ahn of the Democratic Party argued, “This is a red light for the national military project. The faster, the better it is. I believe it should proceed as planned even under some preconditions. 4.3 billion KRW is necessary at the minimum for basic planning.” Another assemblyman from the Democratic Party, Byeong-ju Kim added, “The reconsideration is necessary since this decrease will lead to a setback in building up national military capabilities. We should have a prudent approach to the budget of defense improvement. This is seriously worrisome.”
The Commissioner of the DAPA, Eun-ho Kang pledged that:
“9 prior technologies are being prepared and developed in order to proceed the CVX project properly. 500 million KRW might be considerably insufficient since it would be non-operation expenses, but the DAPA would prepare to assure assembly members in the next year’s budget review by trying to minimize risks.”
For the record, local shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) recently revealed a mockup of its proposed CVX design during MADEX 2021 in Busan, in June 2021. HHI’s carrier design is characterized by its ski jump deck and the expanded size of the flight deck. HHI subsequently entered into a cooperation agreement with Babcock of the UK. HHI’s competitor for the CVX project, DSME, signed a similar alliance with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri during MADEX 2021.