Give then subs!

28 03 2011

The army has its regularly deflated zeppelin, so why shouldn’t the navy have U-boats? Maybe because the used diesel submarines cost 1.28 billion baht each and 7.7 billion baht for the wolf pack.

This total cost is about what PPT reported some time ago,although the total number of vessels is up from two to six.

That earlier post suggested that the Thai navy was keen to get under water as part of a regional naval arms race. It was also clear that the navy reckoned they deserved more from the royalist government.

Having taken just a couple of months to complete its feasibility study, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva jumped at the chance to spend even more money on the military.

Interestingly, even the Bangkok Post is critical. It says:

It took a lot of silent running before Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva agreed to add another 7.7 billion baht to the country’s deficit budget, just to buy submarines for the Royal Thai Navy. The prime minister may have kept negotiations secret because he feared the public would be outraged at such a deal. If so, he was undoubtedly correct. The decision to pay out 1.28 billion baht each for six used German submarines is excessive. The purchase came under strong criticism as soon as it was announced, and it is likely to attract additional negative comment in coming days, as it should.

Why is the Post critical? One reason is the cost, with the argument being that the money could be well-used elsewhere. Another reason is simply that “Germany stopped using the U-206 submarines last year because they are outdated and too expensive to maintain.”

The Post editorial goes on to observe:

It is difficult but necessary to consider criticism such as that by Surachart Bamrungsuk of Chulalongkorn University. The political science lecturer told this newspaper that the hugely expensive submarine purchase is a way for the Democrats to win the military’s political support.

Of course! Is this election, when it is finally held, goingto be the most expensive election ever? If all the buying of support is included, the answer has to be yes. What happens if the royalist party loses?!


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