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Navy Chief Adm Adung’s Bold Plea to Defense Minister for Submarine Plan Amid China Talks

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In a narrative that mirrors the intrigue of a strategic chess game, Navy Chief Adm Adung Phan-iam once again steps into the spotlight with a fervent plea directed towards Defense Minister Sutin Klungsang. This isn’t just a story about military acquisitions; it’s a tale of persistence, national pride, and the high stakes of maritime defense. Adm Adung, with the patience of a seasoned sailor awaiting the tide, reiterates his call for the green light on the navy’s ambitious submarine procurement plan.

The plot thickens as we learn that Sutin Klungsang, retaining his cabinet post after a recent reshuffle, has promised swift finalization of discussions with China concerning this very procurement. The whispers of diplomacy and intrigue hint at Sutin’s impending journey to China next month, a trip that is keenly anticipated by all stakeholders.

But Adm Adung’s vision extends far beyond mere procurement. With the foresight of a naval sage, he has already spearheaded the submission of a budget proposal for the fiscal year 2025. His plea to Sutin is a clarion call to prioritize the guardianship of the nation’s maritime territory and interests with vigor and determination.

“Our oceans are our honor,” Adm Adung appears to declare, emphasizing the government’s critical role in marshaling maritime fleets for the nation’s defense. The twist in the tale? The potential acceptance of a frigate as a temporary stand-in for the much-debated submarines wasn’t earmarked in the 2025 budget proposal. However, Adm Adung hints at a possible feature in the 2026 fiscal narrative, showcasing his adeptness at strategic long-term planning.

Adm Adung lamented the navy’s “very limited fleet of warships,” a stark reminder of the challenges faced in safeguarding the nation’s waters. His words paint a picture of a fleet stretched thin, underscoring the urgency of enhancing naval capabilities.

Enter Defense Minister Sutin Klungsang, who, upon his appointment last September, flipped the script by shelving the submarine plan in favor of a frigate. This twist in the plot was spurred by a techno-political deadlock over the engine’s origin for the ordered submarines—a drama involving German engineering, Chinese manufacturing, and Thai naval ambitions.

Despite China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co’s (CSOC) compromise to employ Chinese engines, the plot thickened as these engines remained untested, casting a shadow of doubt over their suitability.

This saga takes another turn as Sutin seeks to rewrite the ending, exploring alternatives to the submarine conundrum with China. Will it be two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) or a single mighty frigate? CSOC, having already laid the keel of the first submarine, watches anxiously from the sidelines.

This isn’t just a story about ships; it’s a vivid drama of diplomatic dances, strategic stand-offs, and the unyielding spirit of a naval chief fighting for his fleet. As the tale unfolds, one can only wonder: will the high seas of Thai defense strategy lead to calm waters or stormy weather ahead?


  1. NavyFan101 April 29, 2024

    This whole submarine plan is just a way to waste taxpayer money. Why do we even need submarines? Shouldn’t the focus be on improving our current capabilities before diving into such costly projects?

    • StrategicMind April 29, 2024

      You’re missing the point. The threat level in our waters has escalated. Submarines are a strategic asset, not just a fancy toy. It’s about deterring potential adversaries and safeguarding our national interests.

      • EcoWarrior April 29, 2024

        But at what cost to the environment? These military upgrades always seem to forget the impact they have on marine ecosystems. Can’t we defend our waters without causing more harm?

      • NavyFan101 April 29, 2024

        I get deterrence, but haven’t we got allies for that? Investing in unproven tech seems risky.

    • TaxPayerJoe April 29, 2024

      Exactly! It’s our hard-earned money they are planning to sink into the ocean. There must be other areas like education or healthcare where this budget could be put to better use.

  2. JaneDoe April 29, 2024

    Adm Adung sounds like he knows what he’s doing. It’s high time the Government listens to those who actually understand maritime defense. Submarines could be the game changer we need.

    • SkepticOne April 29, 2024

      A ‘game changer’ that might never see the light of day due to bureaucratic red tape and geopolitical tensions. The frigate plan sounds like a more sensible and immediate step.

      • JaneDoe April 29, 2024

        Immediate, maybe, but short-sighted. We can’t always play it safe. National security demands investments in the future, not just patching up the present.

    • FutureNavy April 29, 2024

      Submarines represent a silent threat. Their stealth capabilities alone would significantly elevate our strategic position in the region. We need to think long-term.

  3. DiplomaticDan April 29, 2024

    Why is no one talking about the diplomatic fallout from such moves? Aligning too closely with China on military matters could shift the regional balance and not necessarily in our favor.

    • RealPol April 29, 2024

      Good point. The geopolitical implications are massive. It’s a fine line between upgrading defense capabilities and sparking an arms race. However, maintaining sovereignty requires some muscle.

  4. BudgetHawk April 29, 2024

    Considering our current economic situation, is a submarine purchase really justifiable? Defense is important, but so is fiscal responsibility.

    • WarshipWatcher April 29, 2024

      It’s shortsighted to view defense spending solely as an expense. It’s an investment in our national security and sovereignty. The cost of being unprepared could be much higher.

  5. TechTalker April 29, 2024

    Isn’t anyone concerned about the engine issues and lack of testing? We could be buying a lemon. I’d rather we wait for proven technology than rush into this deal.

    • EngineExpert April 29, 2024

      The concerns about engine reliability are valid, but every new technology has to start somewhere. Proper testing and a good warranty could mitigate the risks.

    • SutinFan April 29, 2024

      Sutin Klungsang seems cautious for a reason. It sounds like he’s looking for alternatives to ensure we’re not putting all our eggs in one, potentially faulty, basket.

  6. Jay S. YOO May 1, 2024

    RTN, I have strong personal affection ever since when I built HMS Surin in 1980s. This ship has rescued many Thais from sea and foreign country.
    Speaking about sub engines, the life of the crew largely depends on never-failing engine. Most of sub accidents are caused by engine failure.
    Baltimore’s ship also failed on engine system but all the sailors survived because the ship floats. Sub is different story.

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