Thailand's troubled China sub deal delayed until June next year
Thailand's troubled deal to purchase a Chinese S26T Yuan-class submarine will be delayed until June next year, a Royal Thai Navy (RTN) spokesman said on Thursday.
Vice Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin said the RTN met with representatives from the submarine’s manufacturer, China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC), on Tuesday for three days of talks on the submarine’s engine. China's military attaché joined the talks.
The 13.2-billion-baht submarine deal has been delayed since 2017 after Germany refused to supply the MTU 396 diesel engine specified by Thailand, citing an EU arms embargo on China.
CSOC representatives at this week’s meeting provided technical information about the Chinese CHD620 engine offered as a replacement, Pokkrong said.
The RTN is considering the offer but will send a representative to inspect tests on the engine at the factory in China from January to April next year, he added.
The Navy said the replacement engine must undergo certification by the Chinese navy, which should be completed in June 2023. The CHD620 has reportedly not been used by Chinese submarines before.
The Navy will send information on the Chinese engine to the government and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who doubles as defence minister.
Pokkrong said budget for the submarine will be used carefully despite problems that the Navy is trying hard to solve. The project will proceed with full transparency, he added.