The Royal Thai Navy is pushing to pay yearly instalments for the two diesel-powered Yuan Class S26T submarines it is intending to purchase from China. Last year, the Royal Thai Navy’s budget was slashed by 4.1 billion baht ($126.15 million) from the initially-allocated 20.5 billion baht ($631 million), or 33% of the annual fund, due to the pandemic. The first payment was supposed to have been approved last year. It was postponed so the money could be diverted to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Royal Thai Navyis now back at the House to defend the spending again.
On 2 July 2015, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) formally selected China’s Yuan-class (Type 041) platform to meet a requirement for three submarines. The Procurement committee voted unanimously in favour of purchasing the submarine, which has been designated S26T (Thailand), a modified export version of the Yuan class. The submarines were expected to cost around 22.5 billion baht ($684.7 million), with a payment plan spread over seven years beginning this October. The purchase is part of the larger 200 billion baht ($6.08 billion) defense budget being considered by a House scrutiny panel.
The Type 039A submarine (NATO reporting name: Yuan class) is a class of diesel-electric submarine in China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy. It is China’s first AIP powered submarine and presumed to be one of the quietest diesel-electric submarine classes in service. This class is the successor of the Type 039 submarine. The official Chinese designation is 039A as the ship is based on the 039 class, but as the 039A has very little resemblance to the 039 it is commonly referred to as the Type 041.
The Type 039A has six 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes. These can be used to launch indigenous torpedoes such as Yu-6 as well as Russian-made torpedoes. The Type 039A is also believed to be capable of launching YJ-8X (C-80X) series anti-ship missiles. The missile uses inertial + terminal active radar guidance. The Type 039A is also capable of firing the CY-1 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missile under water. The CY-1 ASW missile has a maximum range of 18 km (9.7 nmi), and when using ET-52 or Yu-7 torpedo as a payload.