by Stingray, this blog national security journalist
Intelligent source told this blog that the Thai Navy is again in the hunt to purchase 4 submarines and have scouted France, Germany and Russia for suitable subs. In recent years, French submarine maker demonstrated its sub to the Thai navy. Earlier, both Germany and Russia also demonstrated their subs to the Thai navy.
“They have increase their contact with submarine makers in recent months, after the plan to purchase the subs was skuttled by every governments in the past 20 years,” said the source.
The source said that early next year, several countries in ASEAN such as Singapore will take delivery of submarines and the pressure is on for the Thai Navy to crack open the government budget for the big ticketed item that in previous bid, saw the initial cost set at about US$300 million.
“They have gotten close to getting the government OK before, to the point of sending naval officers to train in Germany but the government refused to purchase them,” said the source.
Initially the Thai Navy opted for German submarines, but the high cost sparked an outraged in the Thai public and the Thai Navy turned instead to less expensive Russian submarines. But the move was then criticized for technological ground that the Russian submarines are less advance than the German submarines.
The Thai Navy have in the past few weeks, gotten the Abhisit government to improve its Sea Hawk helicopters antisubmarine warfare capabilities.
The Thai navy is considered one of the most innovative in the region, having purchased a small aircraft carrier, and because of budget constraints, have further developed open source war simulation program to adjust it to the particularity of Thailand.
After a long bout of failure, the Navy got the open source program to work and it has become something of a hit globally, as many navies have asked the Thai Navy for the technology. The open source military warfare simulator has been adopted for submarine warfare.