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Naval Warfare

D&S 2019: China scoops up lucrative navy contracts in Thailand

20th November 2019 - 23:30 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Bangkok


Chinese companies were major players at Defense & Security 2019, with shipbuilders out in force in Bangkok as the kingdom awaits delivery of a submarine and landing platform dock (LPD).

Thailand’s 2,550t S26T submarine is due for delivery in 2023, according to a spokesperson from the China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC). Its keel was laid down by Wuchang Shipbuilding in Wuhan on 5 September, after the first steel was cut in September 2018.

A video presentation confirmed that the S26T, being bought for $430 million via a 2017 contract, is based on the Yuan class operated by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), as is the Pakistan Navy’s pending submarine order. These are the only two export customers for this type so far.

The video listed anti-ship warfare, anti-submarine warfare, mine-laying and hidden detection as mission sets for the S26T. CSOC emphasised safety as well, listing an emergency blowing system and two fast float escape chambers. Crew can also escape via the torpedo tubes and there are two docking hatches for rescue submersibles.

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has not announced what weapons it is acquiring for its submarine, the first of three planned, but the payload will include torpedoes, torpedo decoys, mines and anti-ship missiles.

The S26T has a crew of 38, but bunks for 46 are included in the design. The video stated that ‘Chinese and Thais have similar living habits’.The hull is divided into six compartments.

The submarine with air-independent propulsion (AIP) is 77.7m long, 8.6m wide and measures 9m high above sea level. Its maximum underwater speed is 17kt and it can dive to a depth of 300m. AIP offers an underwater range of 768nm.

Meanwhile, a neighbouring booth representing the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) highlighted a large-scale model of a Type 071 LPD. A plaque revealed that the ship displaces 22,000t, and it listed a length of 213m, width of 28m and draught of 6.8m. It has a range of 8,000nm and cruising speed ...

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