Thailand Navy (RTN) has signed a USD390 million worth contract with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) on Friday last week to procure a S26T diesel electric submarine.
The contract, worth THB13.5 billion (USD390 million), calls for the delivery of the S26T, a modified version of the Yuan-class (Type 041) platform, in 2023.
The Navy also plans to order two additional S26Ts in the next few years, with the value of the whole programme reaching THB36 billion.
The contract was signed in Beijing by RTN chief of staff, Vice Admiral Luechai Ruddit and Xu Ziqiu, chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), China Daily reported Wednesday.
According to CSIC's official website, this is the company's second submarine export contract, after an eight-ship deal with Pakistan's navy in 2015.
“The submarines from China are the cheapest, with quality that is relatively acceptable,” Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was quoted as saying by Nationmultimedia.com in March.
China also offers services after purchase, “something extra that we have received.” Chan-o-cha added.
The S26T will be the RTN's first submarine since the end of World War II.
Due to domestic politics and a budget shortage, the country delayed its plan to buy a submarine until China affordable deal.
The ship will be nearly 78 meters long and 9 meters wide. It will be equipped with the latest technology, including a AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system, which will allow the ship to stay underwater for up to 21 days without resurfacing.
Normal nuclear-based submarines can dive for around seven to 10 days at a time.