Submarine engine plan up in the air
The navy has not yet decided whether to replace a German engine that was supposed to power the S26T Yuan-class submarine it is in the process of buying with a Chinese-made engine or to terminate the purchase contract.
Navy chief ADM Choengchai Chomchoengpaet said on Monday the navy will stick to its plan to procure three submarines as part of its strategy to develop the navy's defence capabilities.
He said there have been delays to the submarine procurement and talks have been going on since April, adding that the navy will explore every avenue. He said the navy's submarine procurement committee is responsible for considering information from the 2022 fiscal year and finding ways to address delays.
"The navy's chief-of-staff, who chairs the committee, will decide whether to proceed with the procurement contract or terminate it before submitting the matter to the Defence Ministry for consideration," he said.
He further said if the procurement project is to proceed, the committee will consider how long the procurement will take and what impact it may have.
He also said information from a study by the Naval Dockyard's technical panel was not adequate and if the contract is to be amended, the replacements have to be of at least equal quality.
A version of the CHD620 engine was recommended by China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co to replace the German-made MTU396 diesel engine that the government had stipulated it wanted to power the submarine.
However, a navy source said Naval Dockyard engineers disagreed, saying the engine has never been fitted on Chinese submarines.
"The dockyard fears it will be held responsible if the procurement committee decides to accept the recommendation and problems arise later on," the source said.