SEOUL --- The Marine Corps is considering introducing a large transport ship capable of carrying warplanes, and mobilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance its amphibious operations and surveillance capabilities, its chief said Wednesday.
During his keynote speech at a security seminar, Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo also expressed his desire to capitalize on robotics and other cutting-edge technologies to enhance the marines' maritime power projection capabilities.
"We are considering building the LPX (large platform experimental)-type ship capable of carrying aircraft in close cooperation with the Navy," Jun said.
He did not specify what aircraft will be carried by the envisioned ship. But observers say that the commander might have in mind the F-35B, a short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the U.S.-made radar-evading fighter.
The Marine Corps appears to want to secure its own LPX ship apart from the 14,000-ton Dokdo amphibious landing ship and the Marado warship, which are currently in operation and under construction, respectively.
During his speech, Jun also said that the Marine Corps is pushing for a mid- or long-term project to expand its currently brigade-level capability for amphibious landing capabilities to division level by introducing more warships and aircraft.
To enhance the marines' reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities and develop a new technology-based combat platform, the armed service is also considering introducing UAVs capable of take-off and landing and employing drone bots, or robotic drones.