BANGKOK (Xinhua) – Thailand’s commanding naval admirals are once again reviving stalled efforts to procure submarines and have resolved recently to bring their efforts to fruition.
Given unmet desires and sustained frustrations since their predecessors’ era over the last six decades, some Thai admirals look to mean serious business in procuring the subs, with others concluding that it is only a matter of time, military observers say.
Navy chief Admiral Kraisorn Chansuvanit made it public shortly after he had assumed the post several months earlier that he would immediately put the navy’s 10-years “vision” to work between now and 2024.
The plan calls for the long-delayed moves to buy several submarines from abroad, as well as projects related to the modernisation and strengthening the muscles of its regular ships.
The navy chief, scheduled to retire by the end of September 2016, had earlier sought and been given the green light from Deputy Premier and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan for his submarine project, though it remains to be seen how much of the taxpayers’ money will be allocated for it out of the 2016 budget.
Prices for a submarine may vary from less than 200 million US dollars to more than 500 million US dollars, not only depending on the type of the boat, its technological edges and service age but the country or shipbuilding firm which manufactures it.
Former defence minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat, attached to a previous civilian government, decided to scrap the Thai navy’s 2013 bid to buy four Type 206 second-hand subs from Germany for a combined price of some 5.5 billion US dollars though dozens of navy officers had been assigned to the European country and South Korea where they attended submarine training courses, which lasted eight months and two months respectively.