By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE CHINESE SUBMARINE currently built for the Thai navy will definitely use a German engine as contractually specified and nothing else, according to navy chief-of-staff Adm. Thalerngsak Sirisawat.
Adm. Thalerngsak today (Mar. 3) made his comments in response to news reports that China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. might probably install a Chinese-made diesel engine aboard the Yuan-class S26T submarine as a substitute for the German MTU396 engine which the Western European state has declined to supply the Asian superpower.
Adm. Thalerngsak maintained that the MTU396 engine for the 12.4-billion-baht submarine is literally specified in the signed purchase contract and no other makes will be acceptable to the Thai navy.
The navy chief-of-staff declined to comment whether the navy will agree to procure a couple of second-hand Chinese-built submarines which might be reportedly offered at a lowered price to replace the S26T submarine, the construction of which is currently 50 percent complete. Delivery of Thailand’s first submarine since the past several decades has already been put off from 2023 to 2024.
Adm. Thalerngsak did not either comment as to whether the navy might finally cancel the purchase of the Yuan-class submarine if China continued to postpone its delivery beyond the next two years, given the denial of the sought-after German diesel engine.
The Thai navy has indefinitely put off the planned purchase of two more Chinese-built submarines of the same type at a combined price of 22.5 billion baht in the face of the sustained pandemic situation and budget constraints.
Pheu Thai MP Yuttapong Charasathien earlier alleged that the Thai navy may have been tricked into buying the Chinese submarine for which the installation of the German engine had never been assured whilst four Chinese nationals originally meant to do engineering works at a submarine docking facility in Sattahip have turned out to be Chinese-language teachers.
The lawmaker raised concerns over the safety of a crew aboard the Chinese-built submarine which he said might fail to float up on the surface after submerging undersea due to possible engine troubles.
Top: The Yuan-class S26T submarine . Photo: Navalnews.com
Home Page: The China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. unveiled the design of the S26T submarine during the 2017 edition of the Defence & Security exhibition held in Bangkok. Photo: Navyrecognition.com