Navy eyes frigate as sub purchase falters

Navy eyes frigate as sub purchase falters

The navy plans to set up a committee to consider a new frigate acquisition project while its ambitious submarine procurement scheme remains in limbo.

Navy chief Choengchai Chomchoengpaet said another modern surface combatant is being mulled as the navy's acquisition of a S26T Yuan-class submarine from China faces further delays.

The navy has not yet decided whether to replace the German-made MTU396 diesel engine that was supposed to power the S26T Yuan-class submarine with a CHD620 engine recommended by China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co.

The Chinese firm failed to procure the German-made engine for the submarine project and offered the Chinese-made CHD620 engine instead. This is likely to further delay delivery following the completion of the build in 2024.

Adm Choengchai said the costs of the new frigate project are not determined yet but will be managed in partnership with a foreign shipbuilding company and a Thai counterpart.

He said that the frigate, which will boost the navy's defence capabilities, should be built in Thailand, adding that transfer of technology will be a key condition in the forthcoming terms of reference which are already in the early stages of drafting.

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