The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) yesterday revealed it is considering buying Chinese-made engines for the S26T Yuan-class submarine after complications in purchasing the said technology from Germany.
Thailand originally turned down the offer of using Chinese-made engines for the Chinese submarine the Thai Government approved to buy in 2017 in favour of using German-made engines. But since the German government refuses to supply MTU396 diesel engines Thailand has been stuck between a rock and hard place.
The German government prohibited the export of the engines to China because of their use for military purposes, as Germany is bound by a European Union arms embargo imposed on China in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Now, it appears Thailand has been left with little option but to accept the Chinese CHD620 diesel engine over the German-made MTU396 diesel engine.
RTN spokesman Pokkrong Monthatphalin said yesterday that China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) has sent specifications of an improved version of its CHD620 diesel engine.
Pokkrong stated that the RTN’s chief of staff, Adm Thaloengsak Sirisawat, stressed that the engines must match the specifications before the RTN carries out a thorough assessment, which is expected to be finished by September 15.
Pokkrong said that if the specifications prove satisfactory the RTN will ask the CSOC to send the engine for testing. If it passes, there will be no need to amend the contract.
“If the substitute from CSOC cannot pass the test, the contract must be terminated, and the two sides will have to hold talks to discuss compensation or a refund. However, the RTN would prefer not to completely reset the process, if possible.”
Thailand’s reluctance to buy the Chinese CHD620 diesel engines appears to stem from the fact that those engines have not been tested or used in a submarine before.
Pokkrong added that CSOC will be using the new engines in its submarines, and Thailand and Sri Lanka will be among the first foreign recipients of the model.
Thailand obtained its first Yuan-class S26T submarine from China back in 2017 for 13.5 billion baht.
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