With an ambitious goal to build a light aircraft carrier akin to the controversial USS America which houses about two dozen F-35B fighter jets, South Korea has revealed its plans about building such aviation-centric platforms.
The LPX-II program, which was previously referred to as LPH-II, was unveiled in a recent defence spending plan for 2021 to 2025 released on Monday. A new detailed graphic of the ship’s design was also released by the South Korean Ministry of Defense, also linking to the procurement of the F-35B jets from the US.
It is anticipated that South Korea will purchase F-35B jets, which have short takeoff and vertical landing capability, compatible with a small aircraft carrier. F-35Bs are the only short take-off and vertical landing fighter jets in production in the world. The ROKAF is expected to operate 60 F-35As and 20 F-35Bs by 2030.
With the possibility of being surrounded by three countries armed with the new 5th-generation Joint Strike Fighter jets, China has always opposed the sale of these aircraft to its neighbours. Along with South Korea, Japan and Singapore are also working actively for the procurement of F-35s from the United States.
Calling its claims in the South China Sea “completely illegal”, Donald Trump now seems to be assembling a coalition against China. The recent developments in the region indicate a strong will of the smaller nations to fight the threat posed by the Chinese forces.