HTMS Chang, a new frigate serving as a submarine tender, is scheduled to arrive in Thailand on April 27, according to the Royal Thai Navy (RTN).
Capt Chukiat Thepalai, chairman of equipment inspection for RTN's Submarine Tenders Procurement committee, recently signed a delivery certificate for HTMS Chang with Hudong Zhonghua, a Shanghai-based shipyard.
After its arrival, HTMS Chang will be used to help HTMS Ang Thong's mission until the construction of a S26T submarine is finished, said Royal Thai Navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet.
The submarine tender will then be used to support the submarine mission, he added.
Despite a delay in the S26T's construction, the tender will depart from a shipyard in Shanghai on April 17, and is expected to arrive at the Sattahip Naval Base 10 days later as planned, Adm Choengchai said.
The new amphibious transport dock ship, also known as a landing platform dock ship, was named HTMS Chang after Chang island in Trat province by His Majesty the King, he said.
The ship was purchased as part of the navy's 20-year plan to have all four such large amphibious ships in commission for various operations by 2036.
These include transporting amphibious command and supporting vessels, supporting submarine operations, taking part in marine search and rescue operations, evacuating disaster victims and supporting marine and anti-terrorism operations.
The HTMS Chang frigate is 213 metres long and 28m wide, while its maximum displacement is 20,003 tn and its draft 17.4m. It can reach a maximum speed of 25 knots with a range of 10,000 nautical miles.
In other news, the RTN will send another team of officers to discuss the Chinese-built CHD620 submarine engines between April 12 and April 17, an RTN source said.
The RTN has not made a decision yet on whether it will accept the engine.
The China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) is pushing the navy to use the engine on the S26T Yuan-class submarine it had ordered from the Wuhan-based shipyard as a substitute for a German made MTU396 engine that the navy had used before.
The source said the RTN decided to hold another discussion with CSOC regarding the engine later in the trip.
The first trip to the CSOC base in Wuhan was between Feb 21 and March 18, with the main purpose of observing performance tests on the CHD620 submarine engine.
The test results are similar to the information given by the CSOC earlier, according to the observation, yet the RTN has not made a final decision about the engine alternation, saying that more information is needed.