11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hinted today that Thailand may buy another submarine, in addition to the one the Royal Thai Navy bought from China, due for delivery in 2023.

Responding to a reporter’s question as to whether the defence procurement would include a second submarine, General Prayut, who is also the defence minister retorted “Why not? Do you want us to buy just one and that should be enough? How about when one breaks down or is in dock for rotation, then what should we do?”

“We must consider the suitability and necessity,” said the Prime Minister without elaborating.

In order to buy the second submarine, the Royal Thai Navy must first get approval from the cabinet and the procurement will be included in the defence budget, which will be endorsed by parliament.

Earlier, the junta-appointed government under Prime Minister Prayut approved, in principle, the RTN’s plan to purchase three submarines at a total cost of 36 billion baht, to be paid from the national budget spread over 11 years.

In April 2017, the cabinet approved the RTN’s plan to purchase one Yuan Class S26T submarine from China at an estimated 13.5 billion baht.

The Prime Minister reasserted that military reform remains a top priority, but it needs to be reviewed in compliance with changing situations.

He also said that he would like the Defence Ministry to be developed as a tourist attraction and open it to visits by the public and tourists.