China May have to Replace German-made MTU Engine in Submarines Sold to Thailand

China May have to Replace German-made MTU Engine in Submarines Sold to Thailand

Thailand’s procurement of S26T diesel-electric submarines from China has hit rough seas with Germany’s MTU refusing to supply engines that power the vessels.

The Asian country decided in 2015 to buy three S26T submarines, an export version of the Type 039A (Yuan class). A $390 million contract for the first boat was signed with China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) in 2017, with delivery expected in 2024.

Yutthapong Charasathian, deputy Pheu Thai Party leader and MP for Maha Sarakham said yesterday during a weekly press briefing at party headquarters that MTU refused to sell diesel engines that power the S26T submarines to China. These engines are also installed on Pakistan’s S20 submarines.

He claimed he had received information that the CSOC will replace Germany’s engine with a Chinese-made engine for the submarine instead. Yutthapong said he will bring the matter to the attention of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and ask him to stop any move to replace the engine type stipulated in the contract.

“The change could lead to a glitch in the submarine, putting naval officers at risk,” he explained.

The procurement of two other submarines, valued over $650 million, is still in limbo, a Navy source was quoted as saying by The Bangkok Post.

Yutthapong said there is also a project to construct a submarine base in two phases worth about $55 million. He added that CSOC sent four personnel to Thailand to work on the submarine base construction project, but it turned out they applied for work permits to teach the Chinese language.