The Royal Thai Government has approved the acquisition of one Chinese Yuan-class submarine for around $US391 million (13.5 billion baht), Thai media reported on Tuesday.
Thai Navy wanted to purchase three S26T (T for Thailand) diesel-electric submarines, but the country’s cabinet approved the initial purchase of just one submarine and associated equipment and technology transfer.
According to local media, no details were given on when and if the other two submarines would be procured.
The S26T submarine Thailand is reportedly procuring from China is a modified export version of the Yuan-class (Type 041) diesel-electric submarine. If the reports are true, Thailand would become China’s second submarine customer after Pakistan ordered eight submarines from China in October 2016.
The Thai submarine is likely to be constructed by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, one of two biggest shipbuilding conglomerates in China and the main contractor for the construction of Pakistan Navy submarines.
German and South Korean submarine solutions were also considered by Thailand in the past.