26 Mei 2012

Navy Gives Up on Subs Plan

26 Mei 2012

Type 206A submarine (photo : mant)  

The navy has given up on its plan to buy six second-hand submarines and will opt for a high-capacity frigate instead.

A committee, chaired by navy chief Surasak Roonroengrom, recently met to discuss the navy's strategic defence plan and its budget.

It resolved to scrap the plan to buy six second-hand submarines for a total of 7.5 billion baht from Germany, a navy source said yesterday.

The navy's hopes for the submarines were dashed due to political intervention and heavy criticism from opponents.

The project hit several stumbling blocks after it was proposed by former navy chief Adm Kamthorn Pumhiran, said the source. There was also an internal rift among navy officers.

"Actually, it's the best opportunity for the country to buy the German-made submarines, which are good and recognised worldwide.

"As the chances have diminished, the navy has to look for other things," the source said.

The navy could not afford to buy new submarines as they cost about 20 billion baht each.

One report emerged that the submarine project had not been brought up at the recent cabinet meeting as the authorities were waiting for a reply from the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary and the Royal Household Bureau on whether the project was suitable or not. But Supreme Commander Gen Thanasak Patimapakorn strongly denied the rumour.

As the submarine project has been scrapped, the navy has also decided to give up on its plan to buy two anti-submarine helicopters worth about 2 billion baht. It would instead propose the procurement of one frigate, said the source.

The navy has been allocated a budget of 35 billion baht for this fiscal year.

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