Thailand has confirmed a budget of $380 million to procure the first of three S26T submarines from China, Thai officials said on Wednesday.
Last year, the government did not approve the same purchase request. Thailand will order the submarine under a government-to-government deal with China.
The S26T Chinese submarine has a submerged displacement of 2,600 tons and is equipped with an air-independent propulsion [AIP] system.
The S26T will be based on the Type 039A SSK of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) also referred to as Yuan class. It is a fairly recent design that was first commissioned in 2008 with a displacement of 3,600 tons and a length of 75 meters. It may also feature an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system as an auxiliary system to a regular diesel-electric power.
Admiral Jumpol Loompikanon, spokesman for the Royal Thai Navy, said the submarine would allow the Navy to study tactics and how to protect Thailand from submarine threats.
On 2 July 2015, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) formally selected China’s Yuan-class Type 041 platform to meet a requirement for three submarines. The RTN’s procurement committee voted unanimously in favor of purchasing the submarine.
The total cost of the S26T Thai submarine program of three subs will cost USD $1.02 billion.