The navy is looking into the feasibility of buying submarines for military and economic security reasons, navy chief Kamthorn Pumhirun says.
A feasibility committee has been set up to study submarine technology.
The navy will push for the purchase of the submarines, priced at 20 billion baht each, when there is enough money available.
In the meantime, Adm Kamthorn said, the navy might buy a second-hand submarine for training purposes.
The idea is to buy a used submarine costing less than a billion baht and recondition it.
"The reason for acquiring submarines is to fulfil our military strategy. It's not something we want to pursue on a whim," Adm Kamthorn said.
The navy chief said neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam all had ordered submarines from Russia.
The submarines, he insisted, could serve many purposes and were a necessity.
The committee's task is to keep pace with developments in submarine technology.
"We want to make sure that once we are able to afford submarines, we'll be ready for them," Adm Kamthorn said.
He stressed that buying submarines would not lead to an arms race. Countries with the submarines would command strong bargaining power in international negotiations.
He said the country needed at least three or four submarines but initially there might only be enough money for one.
Ah, the joys of the Thai media and never holding the military accountable for anything they say or do.
First, Malaysia and Singapore don't have Russian submarines. The very fact that the Admiral of the Thai Navy doesn't know what submarines Malaysia and Singapore have is frightening.
Second, the 20 billion baht price tag per submarine is an interesting figure.
Vietnam bought 6 Russian subs for 1.8 billion dollars plus all kinds of goodies thrown in for good measure.
That is 300 million dollars per sub.
20 billion baht is roughly 600 million dollars per sub.
I guess the admirals plan on taking a 100% commission per submarine when the deals go through.
I like how the Admiral says that a submarine could be used as leverage in international negotiations.
What? Just like the mothballed "aircraft carrier?"