The Thai governmen approves the purchase of two medium-sized frigates with a budget of US$1-billion.
The ships are needed to beef up the capability of the Thai maritime force in patrolling the country's territorial waters in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea.
The US$1-billion dollar fund, approved by Thailand's Yingluck Cabinet for the procurement of the frigates, is to be spent for a 10-year period, beginning from current fiscal year.
The navy is reportedly looking for boats with an approximate 4, 000-ton displacement, which might be either brand-new or secondhand, depending on specifications and preferences of the commanding admirals, reports China's official news agency, Xinhua.
The two frigates to be acquired will replace two US-made, Knox- class frigates, namely HTMS Phutthayodfa Chulalok and HTMS Phutthalertla Napalai, both scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015.
One possible candidate is China's Type 054A "Jiangkai II" frigates, featuring 4,000-ton displacement, 30-knot speed, 8,000- nautical mile maneuverable range. The Chinese ships cost about US$ 255 million each.
The Thai navy now has four secondhand Type 053T "Jianghu" frigates, built in China, which have 2,400-ton displacement, 32- knot speed and 4,000-nautical mile range. The Thai navy is also considering a German-made, Bremen-class F122 frigate with a 3,700- ton displacement, 30-knot speed and 4,000-nautical mile range.