Thailand has made an unexpected announcement, indicating that its agreement with China to procure a Chinese submarine has been temporarily deferred due to the unavailability of German-made engines. It is imperative to note that the deal is presently set aside, with no formal termination at this juncture.
In 2017 Thailand entered into an agreement with China for the purchase of an S2T yuan Class Submarine with a German MTY-396 engine. They originally wanted to approve the purchase of three Yuan class submarines however due to financial constraints they settled for one.
Germany withdrew from the agreement citing political constraints, which resulted in the project being in a state of uncertainty. Despite China’s alternative proposal to provide its own CHD620 engine, a state-of-the-art reverse-engineered technology, Thailand remained committed to the initial contract, insisting on acquiring the German-origin engines for the submarines.
Why did Thailand reject Chinese Technology?
China possesses substantial capabilities in reverse engineering technology and is well-equipped to manufacture a world-class engine for Thailand. However, Thailand declined this offer, citing concerns about the engine’s quality. Rumors circulated regarding Thailand engaging in discussions with Pakistan regarding the performance of submarines purchased from China.
Pakistan revealed that the project has remained in a prolonged state of deadlock for several years. The Thai government has recently formulated proposals and is currently engaged in negotiations with China. Initially, Thailand had sought to completely terminate the deal, but China has successfully influenced the Thai government to consider a more moderate approach.
Presently, the Thai government has put forth a demand for a frigate equipped with submarine weapons and systems, with an estimated cost of 17 billion Thailand Baht. This proposal is currently under discussion with China. It is crucial to note that the construction of the submarine is in its final stages, and the substantial financial investment in the project underscores the urgency for China to address this matter expeditiously, as the market value of the submarine project is at stake.