South Korea’s Navy has shared images of the country’s first aircraft carrier. The unnamed ship, which will carry the vertical takeoff and landing version of the F-35B, will take to the seas sometime in the 2030s.
The ship bears a striking resemblance to the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, built half a world away, but there are some major distinctions between the two ships.
The latest design, which confirms that the vessel will not feature a ski-jump, features a twin-island arrangement. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) also appears to confirm that the service plans to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighters from the vessel. Naval helicopters, somewhat similar in appearance to the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk, can also be seen on the carrier.
The carrier’s dimensions and overall displacement in tons aren’t stated, but it looks to be about the same length as the U.S. Navy’s America-class amphibious assault ships, which are approximately 844 feet long and displace 45,000 tons. The carrier is depicted with at least 10 F-35B fighters and a single helicopter. It also features two islands overlooking the flight deck and two elevators leading to a large hangar below, both on the right side.
One of the most distinctive features of the ship is the presence of two islands instead of the usual one overlooking the flight deck. This is a setup pioneered by the Royal Navy’s two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Two smaller islands instead of a single large one frees up space on the flight deck. (Incidentally, American carriers can get away with one small island because they’re nuclear-powered, and their reactors don’t generate exhaust.) The JoongAng Ilbo also says the two islands will both be independently capable of overseeing flight operations, in case one is disabled by enemy fire.
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