Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Thailand's Cabinet has approved US$393 million for the first of three planned submarine purchases from China

Thailand approves China sub purchase

Source: Agencies | 00:01 UTC+8 April 25, 2017

THAILAND’S Cabinet has approved the first of three planned submarine purchases from China worth US$393 million, a government spokesman said yesterday.

The plan to buy the three Chinese-built submarines worth 36 billion baht (US$1.05 billion) was confirmed in July, signaling warming ties since relations with the United States cooled after a May 2014 military coup.

“The Cabinet approved one submarine purchase on April 18,” spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters, adding that a budget of 13.5 billion baht (US$393 million) has been earmarked for the Yuan Class S26T submarine over a six-year period.

The media were not told about the purchase following a meeting last week because it was a matter of national security, he added.

Navy spokesman Admiral Jumpol Loompikanon said the Thai navy owned four Japanese submarines nearly 60 years ago, so new submarines were necessary to protect maritime interests.

“Thai people can rest assured that the navy’s submarine spending will be worth it and beneficial to Thailand,” Jumpol told reporters.

Thailand’s navy chief, Admiral Na Arreenich, will visit China soon to finalize the purchase, a source at the defence ministry said.

Maritime security is a hot issue in Southeast Asia, given competing claims over the South China Sea, but Thailand is not a claimant in that dispute.

Thailand’s defense budget this year is more than 210 billion baht, about 9 percent more than the year the military took power.

Original post: shanghaidaily.com

It seems the Royal Thai Navy have been receiving flak from a certain group of people! 

Take for example the post below:

Sorry no English

In short it says "The Navy submarine acquisition budget is not from the Central government budget but from the Navy's own budget.  The author does not understand all the fuse against the purchase"

"Torpedo the sub plan
1 Apr 2017 at 04:00

I think I have a permanent pain in the neck from years of shaking my head over the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and its quest for submarines. As a military man I am familiar with high-ranking officers and their obsession for certain equipment, an obsession often not matching real mission requirements. The RTN is out to purchase Chinese Type 041 submarines. The Type 041 is a diesel electric sub, about 254 feet long, about 3,600 tonnes, and has a normal crew of 38. The armament is six torpedo tubes firing torpedoes, and possibly anti-ship missiles.

Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam all have submarines on hand or on order. This is quite justified as all three have to contend with Chinese incursions into their territorial waters in the South China Sea. Thailand has no such problem and faces no territorial threats from countries bordering the Gulf of Thailand, or in the Andaman Sea.

As I see it the RTN mission mainly consists of surveillance of territorial waters for: Protection of Thai sovereignty, piracy, smuggling, human trafficking, illegal fishing, and protection of Thai natural resources. There are probably others, but these should be the main missions.
So, I ask you how will these missions be carried out using submarines? Will they fire torpedoes at the type of vessels used by those engaged in the aforementioned. Also, the maximum speed of the Type 041 is around 20 knots, or 37kph.

A jet-ski could easily outrun the sub. The sub has no auxiliary craft to use in pursuit as the "bad guys" often shift cargo to small high-speed craft when being pursued.

Now let's consider surface patrol craft. There are many good ones available, but for the sake of discussion let's consider the Israeli Super Dvora Mark III class. Here is a fast patrol vessel of 60 tonnes, 27 metres in length, and with a speed of 45-50 knots (83-93kph). This ship can be configured in various ways but comes with a variety of 25-30mm cannon, machine guns, and even missiles. It also has a radar system for detecting surface and airborne objects. Auxiliary craft can be accommodated on a variety of patrol craft.

So I ask you, if you were to defend Thailand from the "bad guys" as noted above, what type of ship would you want, a slow submersible with torpedo tubes, or fast patrol craft with lots of firepower? It would seem to be a no-brainer.

HC McCaffrey
Source: bangkokpost.com

My response:

I’m really surprised at all these foreigners and a small group of non-patriotic Thai’s whom seem bent on preferring to be colony of some other nation complaining and criticizing the RTN for buying submarines. Why is it such a big deal to these people!  Well it levels the playing field to navies that can project power with vessels like helicopter carriers or aircraft carriers, is that the true cause?  

I would suggest to those non-patriotic Thais to apply for other nationality as I doubt Thailand would be colonized anytime soon!

I guess the above author is not a military man or lacks military knowledge.  Submarines are not used to stop smugglers those are for the surface patrol crafts that the RTN has also been purchasing in line with their long term modernization. 

I find the comment about Jet Ski really ridiculous to the point of idiotic.  

I can’t but notice that the author conveniently omitted Singapore which is also a non-claimant in the SC Sea but operates 4 submarines. 

Let’s put things into prospective. Singapore has a coastline of 600km and an average depth of 40m and it has no natural resources but it still operates 4 submarines and 2 more are on order.

Thailand on the other hand have a coastline of 3,000km, the Gulf of Thailand is rich in natural resources, and it also controls the entrance to the Strait of Malacca. 

Therefore for the RTN to operate submarines holds more water than Singapore.

Submarines are used as a deterrent to navies of super power nations I hope that is clear.  Especially the Yuan Class which can launch anti-ship missiles while submerge.  In future it will be able to launch supersonic anti-ship/land attack missiles.

It allows the RTN an additional option in case of dire circumstances…. Surface naval vessels does not have the stealth capabilities that a submarine offers to strike without warning!

I also would like to question why then are Western nations operating submarines….
I would suggest to the author that Thailand as a sovereign nation has the right to arm itself with any type of military hardware deemed essential for national security and it is none of his/her business to criticize other nation’s weapons procurement.

Related post:

Yuan Type 039A / Type 041: Details