China offers Thai Navy two Song-class submarines
The Royal Thai Navy said on Saturday that China has offered to deliver two Song-class submarines after reportedly holding a discussion with a working team led by Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan.
However, it is still unclear whether the submarines are being donated or sold at a special price.
“China recently handed two Ming-class submarines to the Myanmar Army, so this could be a free offer,” a source from the Navy said. “However, we need to check other details, such as repair and import costs.”
A submarine-related website said this offer was interesting as the internal structure of Song-class submarines was like those of the Yuan-class.
“These submarines can be used to train cadets while the Navy waits for the delivery of new ones,” the website said. “The Navy will save more than 10 billion baht for the next two to three years.”
The Navy ordered two Yuan-class S26T submarines worth 22.5 billion baht from China last year. However, this plan has been widely slammed as critics point out that Thailand faces no maritime threats and the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand are not amenable to submarine activities.