Considering Hanwha Systems’ expertise in naval combat systems, the company has also begun discussions with HHI about technical collaboration on CVX. Hanwha and HHI are expected to begin collaboration on the Korean aircraft carrier’s combat system and radars, just as LIG Nex1 will. The purpose of establishing this mutually beneficial partnership is to secure the upcoming military contract for the CVX basic design, which influences the chance of securing the shipbuilding contract.
As HHI is currently competing with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Maritime Engineering (DSME) for CVX, Hyundai previously signed an MOU with the leading aircraft-specialized company KAI (Korea Aerospace Industries) in October last year to collaborate on CVX basic design project, as well as a partnership in August with the British shipbuilding company Babcock International, which was involved in developing the UK aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, to co-work not only on CVX but also on other projects.
In response to Hyundai’s intimidating coalition, DSME formed an alliance with the Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri, which has already completed two Italian light aircraft carriers, with the intention of launching their own comprehensive CVX design. In August of last year, DSME signed another MOU with Hanjin Heavy Industries, which holds technical competence in large-sized landing amphibious assault ships.
Following several memorandums of understanding and coalitions formed by involved parties, the local defense and shipbuilding industries have observed that the first phase of the CVX project has begun, in which interested weapon-producing and shipbuilding companies naturally form cooperative relations. According to local reports, a notice of tender will be issued in the first half of this year, after which the two main rivals, HHI and DSME, will need to obtain an advantage over one another by agreements with other defense partners.
CVX, the ROK Navy’s long-held desire since the 1990s, is anticipated to cost more than 2 trillion KRW in total, with yearly operating costs of 100 billion KRW. CVX will be given to the Korean Navy after three years of basic design and seven years of detailed design and shipbuilding, according to the 7.2 billion KRW budget approved by the National Assembly last December. The general acquisition approach for a navy ship is as follows: concept design – basic design – detailed design – shipbuilding. HHI won the concept design competition in October 2019 and plans to finish the first stage by the end of 2020.