The Royal Thai Navy and China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) have signed a contract to supply three Yuan Class S26T submarines to Thailand worth around 36 billion baht ($1 billion) recently.
The deal specifies that 700 million baht ($20.2 million) is due to be paid within 45 days.The first submarine is expected to be delivered within six years. China also agreed to provide CM-708 missiles, which can be fired from the submarine over a range of 290 kilometres free of charge, the Bangkok Post reported Friday.
The first submarine is expected to be delivered within six years and all three over a period of 11 years. The diesel powered submarines are expected to bolster Thailand’s security in a volatile region, according to an earlier Thai government response justifying the purchase.
Thailand’s council of ministers approved the decision to acquire a 13.5 billion baht ($390 million) submarine from China and two more over the next 11 years on April 18.
Amidst opposition by by activists, politicians and the general public over the impact of the submarine purchases on the national economy, local media reported that Thailand’s Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has decided to launch a probe into the Royal Thai Navy’s plans to purchase three submarines from China.
The reasons for selecting the Chinese subs, which are considered to be of an older technology has been the price factor, local media reported. Thailand had been approached by French and Swedish companies to supply more modern submarines.