Navy insists on German engines as stated in submarine contract with China
The Royal Thai Navy will insist that China must honour the contract to acquire German diesel engines for the submarines being purchased by Thailand.
Navy chief of staff Admiral Thalerngsak Sirisawat, who is chairman of the submarine procurement committee, said the Navy has informed the Chinese manufacturer that the original contract must be honoured.
Thalerngsak was reacting to a report that the German manufacturer had refused to sell an MTU396 engine to be installed in the S26T submarine being built for the Royal Thai Navy.
Thalerngsak said the issue would be dealt with by taking into account the interest of the country and the Navy.
Late last month, Pheu Thai Party deputy leader Yutthapong Charasathian cried foul that the Navy had already purchased the first submarine for Bt13.5 billion but Germany’s MTU had refused to sell its diesel engines to the Chinese submarine manufacturer, China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC).
When asked what would be the solution if the CSOC failed to obtain the MTU engine, Yutthapong said he had made it clear to the CSOC that the engine had to be the MTU 396 model as stated in the contract.
He said the Navy would refuse to accept compatible diesel engines made in China.
The Navy chief denied a report that the CSOC had assigned a Chinese language teacher to oversee the construction of a submarine base. Yutthapong said the construction is being supervised by Lang Qingxu, the project manager of CSOC, with a Thai engineer, Chakkrapong Wongthanapakorn, as the project’s engineer.
Yutthapong said the delivery of the first submarine has been postponed for six months to May 2024 because of the Covid-19 situation in Wuhan.
Asked about the possibility of the project to procure three submarines from China being eventually cancelled, Yutthapong said such a decision would have to be in the future.
“But the Thai and Chinese sides must first hold talks on how to solve the problems,” Yutthapong said.
“The Navy wants to purchase submarines 100 per cent, but we want the submarines that are stated in the contract.”