Government under fire on military spending plans
The government yesterday was criticized over the Defence Ministry’s weapons procurement plans.
Shots were fired by deputy Pheu Thai Party leader Yuttapong Charasathien who says a number of procurement projects lack transparency and spending is too high.
Yuttapong criticized the navy’s request of almost 41 million baht for a number of weapons systems, but in particular its decision to buy a Chinese-made S26T submarine without an engine.
The Royal Thai Navy defended buying the submarine without an engine saying it needed specific engine design specifications. The navy added China will have to honour the contract between the two nations and talks are scheduled next Thursday to discuss the matter with China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co.
The submarine is due to be delivered in 2024.
The opposition deputy also questioned the navy’s planned purchase of three Israeli-made Hermes 900-model unmanned aircraft vehicles, at around 1.4 billion baht each, when the Philippine Air Force bought the same model for about 340 million baht each.
Yuttapong then slammed the Royal Thai Air Force’s planned procurement of F-35A fighter jets worth 2.7 billion baht each, saying the planes, with an operating cost of about 1.2 million baht an hour, are too expensive to run given the current economic circumstances.
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha defended the Defence Ministry’s weapons procurement projects, saying they are essential to boosting national security.
“We have to procure weapons when it is necessary. We can’t afford to wait until the weapons in our arsenal expire before purchasing new ones.
“Thailand does not receive assistance from anyone so we must rely on ourselves to bolster our defences.”
Deputy Defence Minister Chaichan Changmongkol, defended his prime minister saying the military coast have been reduced, and only 197 billion baht has been set aside for military expenditure, down around 4.4 billion baht from the previous fiscal year.
Source Bangkok Post
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