6 June 2024

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has decided to switch from procuring a submarine from China to a frigate, estimated to cost 17 billion baht compared to the S26T Yuan-class submarine’s price tag of 13.5 billion, Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang said today (Friday).

Thailand had agreed to procure two S26T Yuan-class submarines, to be equipped with German-made engines, from China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC).

An unresolved issue over the submarine’s engine, with Germany refusing to supply China with the technology, has, however, delayed the procurement. Sutin said that the RTN and the Defence Ministry have agreed that the submarine procurement must be reviewed, based on the worthiness of the project vis-à-vis its price tag.

The defence minister said that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart during his visit to China earlier this week and China has agreed to consider the RTN’s plan to switch from submarine to frigate, said Sutin, adding that the submarine procurement project has not been scrapped per se.

The defence minister said he believes the procurement deal could be concluded next month.