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‘No rush’ to buy three submarines, says Prawit 

Mar 29. 2017
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By The Nation 

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said on Wednesday there was no need to rush the purchase of three submarines as long as the proposal was still covered by this year's budget. 

The Cabinet yesterday did not consider the proposal by the Defense Ministry, as had been speculated. 

Prawit said the proposal is still with the ministry's permanent secretary to check for readiness of all the contracts before it is tabled before the Cabinet for consideration. 

He said he was not worried about the public's concerns over the proposal, saying he has previously explained the national security reasons.

The proposal involves the purchase of three Yuan Class S26 T submarines for a total price of Bt36 billion. The vessels each cost Bt18 billion but Thailand has been given a deal by China, with a weapons system and after-sales services.

The deal for used submarines has been pursued for some time. Two attempts have been made to buy vessels in the past. In 1995 Thailand pursued a Swedish Gotland submarine and in 2011 it sought a German 206A-class vessel. Both deals failed.

The current junta revitalized the submarine plan, taking deals from six countries into consideration, and eventually chose China, which promised that services such as equipment, training and port building would be provided together with the purchase.

Earlier this month, Prawit brought military chiefs to see a submarine maintenance center, set up for future submarines, in Naval Dockyard Department in Chonburi.

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