UK aerospace and defense company company Babcock has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for collaboration on the Republic of Korea’s CVX aircraft carrier program opportunity.
Babcock’s established in-country business in the Republic of Korea, Babcock Korea, will bolster HHI’s capability to design and build, to ongoing operational support of naval assets in the Republic of Korea and its South East Asian allies.
John Howie, Babcock Group’s chief corporate affairs officer, signed the MoU on behalf of the company with Sam-Hyun Ka, CEO, Korean Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE), the holding company of HHI at the Babcock Korea Limited facility in Busan.
The agreement brings the two parties closer together, support the design and build of the new CVX aircraft carrier that the Republic of Korea is intending to commission.
“As a lead partner within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance that designed, built and delivered the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers for the UK, we are delighted to be able to sign this MoU with HHI,” John Howie said.
“Through this MoU, we will establish a stable foundation to integrate cutting edge technology into the Republic of Korea’s first light Aircraft Carrier build. Furthermore, the capability of both companies will help to grow future technology opportunities in the global market,” HHI’s Ka said.
“The timing of the MoU, signed today between Babcock and HHI, is also particularly fitting as HMS Queen Elizabeth visits Korea at sea. The Royal Navy are keenly supportive of our friends and colleagues in the Republic of Korea Navy and this MoU shows how the UK and Korean industries are moving towards a closer relationship,” Brigadier Mike Murdoch, MOD Defence Attaché to the Republic of Korea said.
South Korea’s CVX program initially started as a follow-on program to the Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships but slowly grew into a fully-fledged aircraft carrier requirement. Thus, the country’s future sole aircraft carrier is expected to operate F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter jets. Current plans call for the ship to be completed by 2033.
While HHI teamed up with Babcock, another South Korean shipbuilding major – Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) – entered into an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for work on the CVX program.