Navy eyes submarines from China

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BANGKOK, 2 July 2015  – The Royal Thai Navy is planning to propose purchasing submarines from China in a latest move to bolster its defense capacity.

Navy chief Kraisorn Chansuwanit disclosed the Royal Thai Navy decided to seek a budget of 3.6 billion baht for the purchase of three Chinese submarines through a government-to-government deal. The making of the warships is expected to take five or six years and the budget should be disbursed step by step for up to 10 years.

Admiral Kraisorn said the Navy’s committee picked Chinese submarines rather than those made in Germany and Sweden, as they are equipped with the Air Independent Propulsion system which enables the ships to remain under water for as long as 21 days. Submarines from other countries are yet to have this technology.

The Navy chief said he could not tell when Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan would propose the purchase plan to the cabinet meeting. If the purchase is approved, the country will possess the first batch of submarines after 50 years.