China offers engine substitutes for Thai submarine project with benefits

PHOTO: Aircraft Carrier/Portaaviones: King of the Océans

Chinese authorities have committed to meeting three conditions concerning warranty, compensation, and safety if the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) opts for a Chinese-produced engine to replace a German-made one for an S26T Yuan-class submarine being assembled in China, according to Navy commander Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet.

Following a recent meeting with China’s navy chief and defence minister, Adm Choengchai revealed that the Chinese navy vowed to back the certification of the Chinese-built CHD620 engine, which is manufactured by China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC), as agreed last year, reported Bangkok Post.

Germany declined to sell the MTU 396 diesel engine to China, as it was classified as a military-defence item. Consequently, the CSOC proposed the CHD620 engine as a substitute, and the RTN presented three conditions to evaluate if the contract should continue or be cancelled.

Firstly, the Chinese Navy must certify the CHD620 engine with the RTN and guarantee its safety. They must also offer compensation for any construction delays while awaiting the engine.

Chinese authorities have maintained that their engine includes technology nearly comparable to the German-made variant and has been installed on numerous Chinese vessels and aircraft carriers. Furthermore, Adm Choengchai noted that if the CHD620 is modified, it may be compatible with Thai and Pakistani submarines or even Chinese submarines in the future. Adm. Choengchai said…

“The Chinese authorities have assured the engine’s safety.”

Moreover, the navy has negotiated compensation details with the CSOC concerning the engine’s warranty, as well as any delays in the procurement process and alterations to the value of components.

Regarding the possibility of the RTN receiving a second-hand submarine as compensation, Adm. Choengchai said that this matter would require further discussion and approval by the RTN, which might accept the offer to use the CHD620 engine.

The certification of the CHD620 engine by the Chinese navy is expected by June, after which further talks, including those about compensation, warranty, and maintenance, can take place.

When asked about the amount of time required to complete the submarine if the navy chooses to use the CHD620 engine, Adm. Choengchai estimated it would be around three years and four months. However, he also noted that procuring the second and third submarines might have to be delayed.

In response to a query about training programs for Thai sailors, once the first submarine is acquired in 2025, Adm. Choengchai confirmed that the Chinese navy chief has committed to supporting the training to ensure the sailors can operate the submarine as outlined in the contract.

Technology NewsThailand NewsWorld News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.