A MOVE FORWARD MP who heads the House military committee immediately summoned the navy to explain a new deal to swap an already-purchased, Chinese-built submarine for which a German engine is unavailable for a frigate as mentioned by Defence Minister Suthin Klangsaeng upon his return from China yesterday (Oct. 20), Matichon newspaper said.
The military committee chairman Mr. Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn shared a post on X, formerly Twitter, that had appeared on the well-known website ThaiArmedForce.com entitled “Government comes up with an idea, cancel the submarine and top up with additional money to buy a Chinese frigate.”
This came after Suthin had admitted that talks between Thai and Chinese governments had been held on exchanging the Yuan-class S26T submarine, for which 7 billion baht down payment had been made to China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. but the German-made MTU396 engine specified in the purchase contract is unavailable, for a frigate.
The discussion took place during Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s visit to China to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation during Oct. 16-19.
However Wiroj said in his post on X that the military committee had called the navy to give details about this submarine deal and retrieval of HTMS 442 Sukhothai that sank in the Gulf of Thailand last December next week.
He added that if the swap occurs it will be a wonderful deal for China because the Thai government would have to top up an additional 10 billion baht to buy the frigate for a total price of 17 billion baht even though the Thai side is not at fault.
Top and Front Page: House military committee chairman MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, left, and a Chinese Yuan-class S26T submarine, right. Photo: Matichon