Asia PacificSea

Thailand Reverses Decision on Canceled Chinese Submarine Procurement

In a startling turn of events, Thailand has backpedaled on its previous decision to cancel its planned procurement of a Chinese attack submarine.

In October 2023, the Thai Ministry of Defense said it would no longer acquire the S26T Yuan-class submarine due to Beijing’s inability to integrate a German-made diesel engine.

Because Berlin does not permit the export of submarine engines to China, the developer offered the Chinese-made CHD620 diesel engine instead but the Thai government refused.

Following a recent visit by Chinese military and shipbuilding personnel to Bangkok, the defense ministry has decided to reverse its earlier decision and “agree in principle” to proceed with the S26T purchase.

The submarine will now be delivered with a Chinese-made engine despite previous opposition from the Thai government.


Thailand’s already troubled submarine program is poised to hit further challenges as deliveries are not expected until 2027.

The CHD620 engine has not been used in any submarine, including those in China’s fleet, so testing in Thai waters is likely to take some time.

However, Beijing is making an important compromise by providing Bangkok with a submarine simulator and necessary spare parts.

Once delivered, the Yuan-class attack submarine will be Thailand’s first in over six decades, bolstering its maritime capabilities.

Previously, the Southeast Asian nation wanted three submarines for $1.05 billion, but budget constraints only allowed it to procure one for $403 million.

Related Articles

Back to top button