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Thailand Awaits Approval for Chinese Submarine Deal

Thailand and China have successfully concluded negotiations on the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) planned acquisition of a Chinese-made S26T Yuan-class submarine. The final decision now hinges on the approval from the Thai cabinet.

Admiral Adoong Pan-iam, Commander-in-Chief of the RTN, announced that once the cabinet grants the green light, the RTN will amend the agreement with the Chinese manufacturer accordingly. He anticipates that the submarine will be delivered within three years, significantly enhancing the navy’s operational capabilities. This S26T Yuan-class submarine, equipped with advanced weaponry, will be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The procurement process for the submarine has experienced prolonged delays, primarily due to the RTN’s initial insistence on German-made diesel engines, as specified in the original contract. However, Germany’s refusal to supply the engines to China, in line with the EU’s boycott of China, forced the RTN to reconsider its options. The RTN has since abandoned its demand for German engines, opting instead for the Chinese-made CHD620 diesel engine.

Admiral Adoong expressed confidence that the Thai public will take pride in the RTN’s acquisition of its first submarine, suggesting that the navy might pursue additional submarines in the future.

Among the officials present during the announcement were representatives from the RTN and the Chinese manufacturing company, underscoring the significance of this milestone in Thailand’s naval advancements.

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