China proposes to donate two used submarines to Thai Navy after problems in purchase deal

Song-class Submarine. Photo via Wikipedia.

The Royal Thai Navy is reportedly in talks with China about receiving two decommissioned military submarines. But apparently, the offer is on the table because there was a problem with ordering parts for the submarine currently being assembled by China for Thailand, according to the Bangkok Post.

The used submarines would be used for training while Thailand waits for its initial order of Chinese-made submarines, which delivery may have to be postponed from next year until April 2024. The second-hand submarines need to be reconditioned before they can be used, according to Thai PBS, citing the Thai Navy.

The Type 039 submarines, also known as “Song-class,” are diesel-electric submarines for the Chinese Navy. The informal offer to the Thai military attaché in Beijing was made by a Chinese state firm in charge of handling decommissioned Chinese submarines. It’s unclear if the submarines would be offered for free or with a minimal fee as a sign of friendship between the two countries. A working committee under Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan discusses the matter, but reports say there has been no confirmation on a deal.

The Bangkok Post quoted an anonymous source in the navy saying China made the offer to deliver the decommissioned submarines because the country had problems purchasing an engine from Germany for the submarine being made for the Thai navy. Apparently, the German supplier decided not to sell an engine to China because it would be used in a submarine to be sold in another country.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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