South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has denied reports that claimed that the country has begun informal talks with Britain on technology cooperation for aircraft carriers.
On Monday, Britain-based Daily Telegraph reported citing industry sources that the country's "advanced systems and designs" could be exported to South Korea, as its trade officials "have begun informal discussions with Korean counterparts about areas of technology the country could be interested in.” The systems and designs were developed by British defense firms - Babcock, BAE Systems and Thales -- and they were to apply to its Queen Elizabeth-class vessels.
"It is not true that we began informal discussion with the British government on the issue," Col. Suh Yong-won, spokesperson for DAPA, was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.
However, another official said that South Korea is working to build a 30,000-ton-class light aircraft carrier, but it is not yet at the stage of selecting firms. The cost of building the warship is approximately $1.74 billion (2 trillion won). It plans to place vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft on it, probably the U.S. made F-35B jets.
Seoul plans to wrap up the development of the core technologies by 2024. The envisioned carrier will be put into operation around 2033.
“There could be discussions among South Korean and British companies who are to join the project, but no such governments-level discussions have been made up until now,” the official said.