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China is reportedly offering to sell Indonesia a half-built submarine originally ordered by Thailand, and claims it will include a German-made engine if that is what Jakarta wants. The news was reported this week by Janes, an authoritative specialist in military, national security and transport topics.

The development comes despite claims by Thailand that the problem-plagued deal to acquire the Chinese submarine is back on track. Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang s(CSSC) visited the Ministry of Defence in Jakarta on June 28, Janes reported on its website.The Chinese officials made a presentation on how the S26T diesel-electric submarine could be customised for the Indonesian navy’s requirements, even though the vessel has already gone through the build process. The CSSC officials assured the ministry that the offer to Indonesia would not be faced with the same types of export restrictions experienced by the Royal Thai Navy.

The original contract signed by Thailand in May 2017 stipulated a German-made diesel engine. But the plan changed after Germany refused to sell the engine to China as it is designated a military/defence item and subject to a European Union embargo.

Beijing has been trying to persuade Thailand to accept a Chinese-built generator in place of the German engine, without being subject to a penalty for breach of contract. At the meeting in Jakarta, the Chinese delegation said Indonesia could incorporate an engine from a vendor of its choice, including Germany-based MTU, into the vessel, Janes reported. The offer to Indonesia also includes a modification package that would enable the S26T to deploy and launch Chinese-made YJ-18 torpedo tube-launched anti-ship cruise missiles.

China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) was originally contracted in 2017 to build the submarine for 13.5 billion baht under a government-to-government deal with Thailand.Construction was reportedly half finished when it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and then put on hold because of the engine issue.

Source : Bangkok Post