China Offers Upgraded Engine to Power Submarines Ordered by Thailand

  • Our Bureau
  • 07:58 AM, August 10, 2022
  • 2347
China Offers Upgraded Engine to Power Submarines Ordered by Thailand
PLA Navy submarine @China MoD

China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) has sent specifications of the improved CHD620 diesel engines to Thailand, which could power the Navy’s S26T Yuan-class submarines.

Bangkok decided in 2015 to buy three S26T submarines, an export version of the Type 039A (Yuan class). A $390 million contract for the first boat was signed with CSOC in 2017, with delivery expected in 2024. The procurement of two other submarines, valued over $650 million, is still in limbo.

Thailand’s procurement of Chinese S26Ts hit rough seas after Germany’s MTU refused to supply MTU396 engines that were earlier fitted on the vessels.

Spokesman for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) Pokkrong Monthatphalin told the media on Tuesday that China sent details of another homegrown engine as an alternative. This improved version of the CHD620 will be thoroughly assessed by September 15. If the specifications prove satisfactory, the Air Force will ask for the engines to be sent to the country for tests.

Pokkrong explained CSOC was allowed to make changes to any parts of the submarine as long as their quality and performance remains the same. "But if the substitute from CSOC cannot pass the test, the contract must be terminated, and the two sides will have to hold talks to discuss compensation or a refund,” he added.

The RTN spokesman added that Thailand and Sri Lanka will be among the first foreign recipients of the submarine fitted with Chinese-made engines. He said the engine substitute could however breach the contract, which stipulates that it must already be in active use by any other nation. Basic CHD620 engine was also offered to the Navy, but it was declined for the same reason, Pokkrong noted.

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