The Royal Thai Navy has asked the cabinet for 15 billion baht over the next five years to fund its plan to assemble a new frigate.
The cabinet has already agreed in principle, a source said on Wednesday.
The request was made through the Ministry of Defence in a budgetary plan proposed for the 2024 fiscal year that starts on Oct 1. The proposal was reviewed for the first time by the cabinet on Tuesday.
The first disbursement requested in the 2024 fiscal year is for 1.7 billion baht.
Shipbuilding companies in South Korea, Spain, Russia and France have expressed interest in the frigate building project. A key condition is that the company selected will have to transfer knowhow to the navy as well, said the source.
The planned frigate is the second of two for which the navy has won approval. The first, the HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej, was built in South Korea and delivered in 2019.
In related news, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as defence minister, told a recent meeting of the Defence Council to get working on a national strategic plan for defence industry development, said Col Chitanat Punnothok, a deputy ministry spokesman.
Under the plan, spanning this year until 2027, Thailand is expected to rely less on imported parts for military hardware while developing its own defence industry, he said.