Navy holds talks with Chinese company over submarine engines


The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) on Thursday began talks with a Chinese submarine builder to find a solution over the manufacturer’s failure to obtain German-made diesel engines as stipulated in the purchase contract.

The Navy will stick to its demand for MTU396 engines for its Yuan Class S26T submarine worth THB13.5 billion, while representatives from China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC) are expected to propose an alternative with comparable capacity, an informed source said.

The German government has prohibited the export of the engines to China because of their use for military purposes, as Germany is bound by a European Union arms embargo imposed on China in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The meeting had been postponed twice, in April and May, because of China’s strict Covid-19 restrictions.

Navy chief of staff Admiral Thalerngsak Sirisawat, who heads the submarine procurement committee, represents the RTN at the meeting, according to the source.

Technicians from the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard with expertise in MTU396 engines also will take part in the meeting to determine if the specifications of the CSOC’s proposed alternative engine was comparable to the MTU396.

The goal was to ensure maximum benefit for Thailand and safety for naval personnel, the source said.

The talks between the RTN and CSOC were expected to continue for longer than a day, the source said.