The Thai government last week approved a 193-million baht (US$ 5.7m) project to design a mini-submarine for the country’s navy, local media reports.
The nod given by the country’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was announced by Capt Sattaya Chandraprabha from the Royal Thai Navy Academy on July 17, The Bangkok Post reported.
The design will take four years and construction of the first mini-submarine another two, to be followed by seaworthiness checks and training for one year, Capt Sattaya said.
The cost of the mini-submarine will be known after four years. Capt Sattaya, head of the mini-submarine research project, said the navy began the project last October.
The first mini-submarine in the unofficially named "Chalawan Class" would have a surface displacement of 150-300 tonnes, a crew of 10 and a 300-nautical-mile range, he said.
In April last year, the cabinet endorsed the navy's purchase of a Yuan Class S26T submarine from China for 13.5 billion baht, part of a plan to buy three for 36 billion baht.