South Korea is looking to acquire vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) jets, most likely the F-35B, for its envisioned light aircraft carrier to be deployed by 2033.
Seoul has begun procedures to determine the number of jets it needs to procure for its warship. The only one that fits its stealth capability criteria is the F-35B fighter, Yonhap reported today.
"The number of VTOL necessary, the plan for acquisition and the exact type of the aircraft will be specified in line with the schedule to build the landing platform helicopter ship," a government source was quoted as saying by the report.
The number of the aircraft to be introduced is expected to hover around 20.
The envisioned aircraft carrier will be the third landing platform helicopter ship the country will deploy, after the Dokdo and Marado ships.
South Korea is reportedly studying two aircraft carrier designs. One is a medium-sized 70,000-ton carrier, with a load capacity of 70,400 tons and a length of 298m and a width of 75m. On an average, such vessels hold 1,340 crew members and can carry 32 fixed-wing and 8 rotating-wing aircraft, according to local media reports.
The second proposal is a 40,000-ton light-duty carrier with a full load of 41,500 tons. It is 238m long and 62m wide. This type of vessel can carry 720 crew members and can carry 12 fixed-wing and 8 rotating-wing aircraft.