South Korea’s military has begun to consider operating F-35B jets from their Dokdo class assault ships, according to the local Yonhap news agency.
According to the Yonhap News Agency, the South Korean Navy issued a public notice of tender through an electronic defence procurement system of South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), citing moves by neighbouring countries to consider running F-38Bs aboard their vessels. They reported here:
“The Navy announced a tender for the research service entitled ‘Renewal and Opening Study for Operation of LPH Future Aircraft (F-35B)’ on Defense Agency’s Defense Electronic Procurement System on May 10. The Navy said that the bidding proposal is that the neighboring countries are promoting or carrying out research on loading and operating the F-35B in landing or escort.”
The outlet also quote a military source, who told them:
“I understand that the military top brass have recently discussed whether they can introduce a small number of F-35B fighters and operate them aboard the new ship that has already been deployed and one to be additionally built.”
The existing first of class Dokdo is currently only capable of operating helicopters because her deck is not made of materials that can withstand high temperatures caused by the jump jet.
“Considerations will continue about whether we can run F-35Bs by redesigning the decks of the Dokdo and the new ship that is being constructed,” another source was quoted as saying.
NavyRecognition report here that one major difference is that Marado’s flight deck has been adapted to accomodate the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. Several DAPA images show the Osprey on the flight deck.
For this reason, and the fact that vessel is still at fitting out stage, Marado would probably require less time, work and budget to be converted for F-35B operation.