This is a developing story. Naval News will continue to report on the issue as new information becomes available.
According to the report, which has since been deleted, the tentative budget for 2023 makes no mention of CVX at all, effectively putting an end to the program for the foreseeable future. Other articles released by major domestic news outlets at around the same time did not specifically mention the budget itself, but still cast doubt on the program. Chosun Ilbo reported that CVX is facing a “reevaluation.”
“It looks as if the CVX program will be canceled.”
anonymous military official speaking with Chosun Ilbo on August 26th
This marks the latest development in what has become the most controversial weapons development program in recent history. CVX was one of the signature acquisition programs of the previous administration under President Moon Jae-in. The program’s budget for 2022 was almost canceled, with the ruling and opposition parties unable to come to an agreement in the National Assembly, only to be revived unilaterally by the latter.
However, President Yoon Suk-yeol’s new government has been less enthusiastic, postponing the bidding process for the ship which had been scheduled for earlier this year. In July, the government confirmed that themilitary will acquire 20 more F-35As, rather than the short takeoff and vertical landing-capable F-35B, putting the future of the program in question.
The CVX program evolved from the Landing Platform eXperimental (LPX) program that saw the Republic of Korean Navy acquire its largest vessels so far, the Dokdo class amphibious assault ships. Dubbed LPX-II, preliminary plans for the carrier envisioned an amphibious assault ship-like platform that would also operate fighter aircraft. However, in August 2020, the ROKN announced its intention to acquire a fully-fledged aircraft carrier with the term CVX being introduced in February 2021. The ROKN hopes CVX will be mission ready by 2033.
CVX is expected to cost ₩2.3 trillion ($2 billion) to construct and around ₩50 billion ($45 million) per year to maintain. With a length of 265 m and width of 43 m, the ship will have a light and maximum displacement of around 30,000 tons and 40,000 tons respectively. This will allow CVX to operate 16 F-35B fighters as well as eight helicopters. It will also feature a high degree of automation and have a complement of 440 crew, excluding the air element. Like the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class,the carrier will have two islands. However, it will not be equipped with a ski-jump, limiting the operational capabilities of its aircraft.
The South Korean carrier will be equipped with the active electronically scanned array radar being designed by Hanwha for the“integrated mast” on the KDDX destroyer. The long range S band radar is expected to have a range of 300 km, while short range detection will be carried out by its X band radar. The vessel will also feature LIG Nex1’s torpedo acoustic countermeasure, Haegung or K-SAAM surface to air missile system, and close-in weapon systems for point defense.