January 24, 2013 China Defense Blog
The government has formed a committee to negotiate with a Chinese team on purchase of three frigates to enhance Thai’s naval strength in the resourceful Gulf of Thailand, officials said. Both the sides will work out details of the state-to-state frigate purchase agreement the groundwork of which was laid during the visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Thailand in November 2012.
The Thai government has recently approved the purchase of two medium-sized frigates with a budget of 1 billion U.S. dollars after denying allegation about the countrys navy persistent request for submarines. However, Beijing had offered three of its Type 054T frigates at a very lower rate and the number of the frigates on conditions that Bangkok can not be denied. Some source said these special offer include six Z-9EC ASW helicopters.
Officials said the armed forced division had planned to utilize budgetary allocations of the 1 billion U.S. dollar fund, approved by the Yingluck Cabinet for the procurement of the frigates, is to be spent for a 10-year period, beginning from current fiscal year. The three frigates are unlikely be procured at the same time.
Type 054T frigate may be an improved version of the Type 054A frigate, possibly designated F40T, for which discussions have been held between Thailand and China