Thai Navy May Build Second Patrol Boat Under BAE License
Apr. 17, 2014 - 10:40AM | By ANDREW CHUTER
The HTMS Krabi is launched in 2011. Thailand may build a second boat of the class and is exploring exports. (BAE Systems)
KUALA LUMPUR — Thailand may build a second offshore patrol vessel under a license granted by BAE Systems and is also starting to think about exporting the ship to other navies in the region, according to a senior executive at the British-based defense contractor.
Discussions are underway for construction of a second warship after a technology transfer deal between BAE and the state-owned shipyard Bangkok Dock resulted in the first of class, HTMS Krabi, being commissioned into the Royal Thai Navy in August 2013, said Alistair Castle, BAE’s Southeast Asia regional vice president.
“We are actively discussing a second of class as the customer wants to capitalize on the knowledge and skills already gained by Bangkok Dock,” said Castle during an interview at the Defence Services Asia show here this week.
The executive declined to discuss timescales but said that with the Thai Navy going through a modernization, the company was “trying to be responsive to their needs and requirements while ensuring the shipbuilding knowledge is not lost, that’s the key.”
The ship, a derivative of the smaller Royal Navy River-class vessel, is 90 meters long, armed with a 76mm Oto Melara gun and has a helicopter flight deck able to operate a machine the size of the AgustaWestland A139 Lynx.
Castle said sovereignty questions, sensitivity around the economic exclusion zone and other issues were driving growing opportunities in the region for selling and supporting naval platforms and systems.
The possible exporting of Thai-built OPVs would be subject to separate negotiation but the prospect had already sparked discussion. One possibility would be the re-export of the design to other nations in the region, he said.
“Something like that would play to efforts by the ASEAN nations towards greater collaboration,” Castle said.
Aside from license-build of further OPVs, Castle said he sees modernization and support of BAE-built warships, guns and other systems as a potentially big opportunity.
Two Lekiu-class light frigates commissioned in the mid-1990s for the Royal Malaysian Navy could soon need upgrades and the executive sees opportunities for insertion of missile, radar and other technologies being developed for the Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigate program.
Much of that technology is being incorporated in a Type 23 frigate upgrade program for the Royal Navy in advance of the Type 26 program getting underway.
Weighing in at around 6,000 tons, the Type 26 is probably too big and too sophisticated for all but a handful of nations but the systems being developed for the warship, such as the MBDA Sea Ceptor air defense missile and BAE’s Artisan radar, are more likely to find an export customer.
New Zealand became the first overseas customer for Sea Ceptor with an order that will see the missile installed as part of a frigate upgrade program.
Castle said he expects progress on the Malaysian upgrades either as one program or through a series of improvements during the next five-year defense plan, starting in 2016.
Other BAE executives at the show said a new OPV program for Malaysia was also likely on the horizon, although timelines were uncertain at this stage.
By a somewhat circuitous route, BAE has also found itself the supplier of warships to the Indonesian Navy and is starting discussions with Jakarta over how they could provide support.
It’s a long and tangled story but BAE’s Scottish shipyards built three corvettes for Brunei at the start of the decade. Brunei claimed the vessels didn’t meet the required specifications and refused to accept handover. The dispute eventually went to arbitration which found in favor of BAE.
Now the unused vessels have been sold to Indonesia by the German shipyard Lurssen acting on behalf of Brunei and delivery is expected this year.
BAE remains the design authority and is talking to potential local partners and others to try and secure the support and any eventual upgrade work.
Castle said that with the Bofor’s arm of BAE having a large installed base of naval guns in Indonesia, a strong dialogue was underway locally about building a maintenance repair and supply business in-country.
“The key to these initiatives in Indonesia is finding a partner and building a long-term sustainable business locally,” said the BAE executive. ■
Navy Launches Submarine Squadron
(Source: Bangkok Post; published July 08, 2014)
The Royal Thai Navy’s Submarine Squadron was officially launched at Sattahip naval base in Chon Buri province yesterday. Navy chief ADM Narong Pipattanasai presided over the ceremony.
The squadron also has a training centre for a submarine command team, which is intended to compile knowledge on submarine operations. The centre, which is equipped with a German-made submarine simulator, provides navy personnel with training, such as how to operate the sonar system.
The submarine simulator is also linked to the anti-submarine simulator currently operated by the navy’s Fleet Training Command.
The navy has also sent 18 navy officers to receive training in submarine technology in Germany and another 10 officers to South Korea to attend a training course on international diesel submarines.
The squadron underscores the Royal Thai Navy’s push to get submarines added to its fleet. The navy has pressed governments for years to buy submarines to help navy ships protect the Gulf of Thailand.
In 2010, then navy commander Kamthorn Phumhiran approved a plan to set up the squadron, with expectations of having second-hand submarines from Germany. But it never passed the planning stage.
In 2012, then navy chief Surasak Rounroengrom approved guidelines for equipping navy personnel with training on submarines, which led to navy personnel studying submarines with the help of countries who have had them for a long time.
"Although the navy has not had submarines for 62 years, submarines are still important as a strategic and irreplaceable tool to make up for the geographical limitations of Thailand,’’ the navy said in an article to promote the underwater craft.
Navy's B36bn Sub Purchase Plan Firms Up (excerpt)
(Source: The Bangkok Post; published June 25, 2015)
Within a matter of weeks, the navy will know if its dreams of having submarines of its own will become a reality. A source in the navy said a committee working on a plan to buy submarines has finalized its option - it's likely to go for the Chinese-made submarines - and will submit the proposal to the cabinet for approval next month.
This is the navy's second bid under the leadership of Adm Kraisorn Jansuwanit to gain the nod for its submarine plan. The first attempt, in April, was aborted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who ordered the navy to conduct more studies. Initially, Gen Prayut's decision disheartened the navy. But Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who had encouraged the navy to dust off the plan after it was rejected by the Yingluck government in 2011, maintained his support.
That kept the navy's hopes alive. Gen Prawit reportedly told the navy that if it could not get the submarines when a junta government is in power, "there would be no chance of getting them at all". Gen Prayut said the navy needed to conduct a comprehensive study of the plan because, given the size of the budget, an impressive 36 billion baht, it had to be able to answer every question posed by the public.
The government gave a generous 200 million baht to the navy for the study. The committee members have visited the six countries that showed an interest in manufacturing the submarines for Thailand, namely China, South Korea, Russia, France, Germany and Sweden.
Navy commander Adm Kraison transferred Adm Narongpol Na Bangchang, an expert on submarines, from the Royal Thai Armed Forces back to the navy to work on the proposal. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Bangkok Post website. (
International Military Markets & Budgets - Eurasia, Asia, Australia & Pacific Rim
(Source: Forecast International; issued June 26, 2015)
BANGKOK --- As part of its effort to resurrect a submarine capability after 64 years of dormancy, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has selected a Chinese proposal to provide three submarines at the cost of THB12 billion ($355 million). The Chinese proposal was one of six offers, with the others coming from France, Germany, Russia, South Korea and Sweden.
A majority of the 17-member submarine procurement committee appointed by the RTN voted in favor of the Chinese bid, with the remainder split between those of Germany and South Korea. In the end the Chinese-built option was deemed the best value for money and down-selected as the preferred candidate.
While price no doubt factored heavily into the decision there are other aspects to consider. One is technology transfer to local Thai industry, which one committee member divulged that China expressed a willingness to provide. Another issue involves a training package for RTN submariners - again, an aspect covered under the Chinese bid.
Finally, there is the geopolitical aspect. Since the Royal Thai Army undertook a coup - its 19th in Thailand's modern history - in May 2014, relations with China have grown warmer as the military junta ruling the country has incurred rebukes from longstanding ally, the United States, over its actions. Naturally the ruling junta would prefer to deal with a country and government unwilling to interfere with the internal politics of Thailand.
Nonetheless, the decision to opt for Chinese-built submarines comes after previously-thwarted attempts by the RTN to ink deals with Germany - for six second-hand Type 206A submarines derived from retired German Navy stocks - and South Korea. Such efforts stretch back to the 1990s and were repeatedly rejected by the final arbiter of Thai military procurement, the Defense Council, in favor of other projects deemed more pressing at the time.
But with the military junta in power the RTN recognized that its best chance for acquiring a capability it last wielded in 1951 was at hand. Preparation for acquiring submarines had already been underway, with the government providing THB200 million ($5.9 million) for a comprehensive study of a procurement and the RTN officially launching Submarine Squadron at Sattahip naval base in the Chon Buri province on July 7, 2014 - despite not having a single such vessel in its inventory.
The model likely to be provided by China to the RTN would appear to be the Type-041 (Yuan-class in the People's Liberation Army Navy) diesel-electric attack submarine, itself an indigenous Chinese design influenced by the Russian Project 636.
The proposed purchase will be submitted to the governing cabinet for approval in July, following an earlier rejection in April by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who ordered the RTN to conduct more studies before re-submitting its plan. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon is an outspoken supporter of a submarine purchase, citing regional pressures, a broadened maritime mission portfolio for the RTN and the increasing deployment of submarines by neighboring countries.
But the financial weight of a submarine acquisition to the capital portion of Thailand's defense budget must be taken into consideration as well, as it will most likely serve as the deciding factor in any cabinet decision on the project. Ultimately that is why the cost factor served as the submarine procurement committee's primary signpost on the road to its decision.
D&S 2015: DSME pushing into Thai market
03rd November 2015 - 15:04 by Gordon Arthur in Bangkok
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) say the delivery of a 3,600t frigate to the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is on schedule, as the company continues discussions with the Thai government for a second vessel.
The frigate was designed specifically for the RTN requirement and is being fitted with a 20mm close-in weapon system, Harpoon missiles, ESSM missiles, Atlas Elektronik hull-mounted and towed array sonars, and an OTO Melara 76mm gun.
Also being installed on the 114m-long frigate is a Saab 9LV combat management system. This will allow the vessel to interact with other similarly installed RTN vessels, as well as Saab Gripen fighters and Erieye airborne early warning aircraft of the air force.
This success is particularly significant for DSME as it was the first contract it has had with Thailand.
Junho Joung, assistant manager of DSME’s naval and special ship marketing team, told Shephard at the Defence & Security 2015 exhibition in Bangkok that the project is all ‘on schedule’ for a target delivery date of May 2018 for the DW3000-class frigate.
Elsewhere in the region, DSME is currently building three 1400t diesel-powered submarines for Indonesia. Joung said the first delivery was slated for 2017, with this being South Korea’s first submarine export success.
Thailand has also been seeking submarines, with China favoured to meet this three-boat requirement. However, the project has stalled because of budgetary considerations. When it is revived, DSME hopes its submarine design will be in the running.
And there you have an ANZAC replacement. Like for like, weapons wise. The danger for SEA 5000 will be bean counters asking why this is not an option, as opposed to 7000 t of whatever else they propose.
Now maybe 7000 t is what you need to fill the capability that they propose, but they will need to sell it. Otherwise this is where we end up.
DSME lays keel for Thailand's first multipurpose frigate
Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
18 May 2016
South Korean shipbuilder, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), has held a keel-laying ceremony for a multipurpose frigate on order for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN).
The ceremony was held on 16 May at DSME's shipyard in Okpo, the RTN public affairs division announced via an official social media channel on the next day.
The vessel was signed under a THB14.6 billion (USD410 million) contract inked between the RTN and DSME in August 2013. The platform is based on a modernised derivative of the Kwanggaeto Daewang (KDX-1) destroyer in service with the Republic of Korea Navy.
According to an IHS Jane's report from August 2013, the ship will displace 3,650 tonnes, and will feature a length of 122.5 m and a width of 14.4 m when complete.
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USN, Royal Thai Navy conduct "most complex" anti-submarine exercise to date
Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
25 May 2016
The Royal Thai Navy's sole aircraft carrier HMTS Chakri Naruebet, seen here alongside in Sattahip naval base in 2013, is participating in Exercise 'Guardian Sea' with the US Navy from 23 to 27 May. Source: US Navy
• Navies of Thailand and the United States are conducting anti-submarine exercises in the Andaman Sea
• Drills are being conducted against the backdrop of submarine proliferation in the Southeast Asian region
The USN Navy (USN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) are carrying out a series of drills that includes the "most complex" anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise conducted between the two services to date.
The drills, which are being conducted as part of the annual bilateral naval exercise known as 'Guardian Sea', are being held in the Andaman Sea from 23 to 27 May. The exercise in 2016 involves a USN Los Angeles-class attack submarine, a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol craft and the RTN's sole aircraft carrier, the 182 m HTMS Chakri Naruebet .
Also participating from the USN is the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem , the RTN's two Chinese-made Naresuan-class frigates, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin , and an unspecified number of S-70B naval helicopters, according to information provided to IHS Jane's on 25 May.
"Guardian Sea provides our navies the opportunity and challenge of detecting and tracking submarines, and to practice procedures related to anti-submarine warfare," said Capt H. B. Le, commodore of the USN's destroyer, Squadron Seven , in a statement on the bilateral drills.
"This year's exercise will be the most complex to date and we look forward to working alongside the Royal Thai Navy ashore and at sea to improve our skills and enhance our interoperability," he added.
Exercise 'Guardian Sea' in 2016 will also feature a shore phase with seminars and exchanges between subject-matter experts from both navies.
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MAN engines selected for Thai navy OPVs
02nd June 2016 - 9:30 by the Shephard News Team
MAN engines selected for Thai navy OPVs
The second offshore patrol vessel (OPV) being built for the Royal Thai Navy will be powered by two MAN 16V28/33D STC engines, the company announced on 27 May.
The 90m OPVs, which are improved River class designs, are being built at the Mahidol Adulyadej naval dockyard in Sattahip. BAE Systems announced the signing of a new contract with Bangkok Dock for the licenced production of the second vessel in January.
The first OPV, HTMS Krabi, was commissioned in 2013. It is also powered by two MAN 16V28/33D engines.
The MAN 28/33D STC engine range offers 12-cylinder, 16-cylinder and 20-cylinder configurations with power outputs ranging from 5,000 to 10,000kW per unit. It provides compliance with IMO Tier II and EPA Tier 2 (Tier III with SCR), and has continuous low-load operation capability and high torque for fast acceleration.
The OPVs are designed to conduct border control, routine patrols and fishery protection missions in the country's exclusive economic zone, as well as disaster relief operations and natural resources protection in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
Thai Navy Gains Approval to Buy Three Chinese-Built, Yuan-Class Submarines
(Source: Xinhua; published July 01, 2016)
BANGKOK --- Thai Deputy Premier Prawit Wongsuwan confirmed on Friday that Thailand will buy three Chinese-built submarines for a combined price of one billion U.S. dollars.
The Thai navy's proposal to procure the three Yuan-class S26T subs from China has been put on hold since last year by the deputy premier who is concurrently defense minister.
Now that Gen Prawit has given his nod, the navy will use its fiscal 2017 budget amounting to some 333 million U.S. dollars to buy the first Chinese sub next year with the two others to follow over the next few years.
The deputy premier said the navy will only pay for the Chinese subs on instalment basis which will span a ten-year's time from next year.
The Yuan-class S26T sub is a derivative, export version of the Yuan-class 039A sub deployed by the Chinese navy and is fitted with an air-independent propulsion as an auxiliary system to a regular diesel-electric power.