Thailand’s Navy Chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet announced his intention on Thursday to formally request the cabinet's approval for the acquisition of a Chinese submarine equipped with a Chinese-manufactured engine, although the government is open to exploring alternative options.
The Thai navy has greenlit the installation of a Chinese-made CHD620 engine in the S26T Yuan-class submarine procured from China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC). Adm Choengchai assured that the navy had meticulously inspected and endorsed the engine for both safety and efficiency, Bangkok Post reported.
In a move to reinforce the selection of the Chinese engine, CSOC has extended the submarine engine warranty from two to a substantial eight years. This extended warranty encompasses spare parts and entails the deployment of Chinese experts to assist with submarine maintenance during the eight-year duration, which also includes the potential for submarine upgrades, as outlined by the navy chief.
Adm Choengchai underscored the imperative nature of the navy's acquisition of its first submarine, emphasizing that it would significantly enhance maritime security.
Regarding the possibility of the new government negotiating for a German-made engine, as originally planned for the Chinese submarine project, or considering the acquisition of a German submarine, Adm Choengchai revealed that Germany had declined to provide its engine for a Chinese-manufactured submarine. He also noted that a new procurement project might surpass the allocated budget for the navy.
Previously, the navy had expressed a strong interest in Germany's MTU396 diesel engine for the submarine project.
Adm Choengchai stated his commitment to finalizing the navy's submarine request for the new government within the next week, as he is scheduled to retire from his duties at the end of this month.