Submitted on Thu, 2014-07-10 15:04
The defense budget has reportedly increased 135% since 2004. In the past 10 years, the budget grew from 78.55 billion baht in 2004 to 184.74 billion baht in 2014. A sharp increase in military spending was observed in 2007, during which, General Surayuth Chulanond’s administration spent close to 116 billion baht as compared to the 85.9 billion baht budget of 2006. The increase in defense budget is expected in the wake of the 2014 coup as talks of submarine purchases are on the cards.
Before the 2006 coup, defense budget increases fluctuated around 3 to 5%. After the 2006 coup, the defense budget rose sharply from 85.93 billion baht in 2006 to 170.17 billion baht in 2009. The military had new additions to their weaponry: Israeli-made Tavor 21 guns, Ukrainian-made BTR 3E1 armored vehicles, Swedish-made Gripen fights and the list goes on.
In mid-June, Gen Apichart Saengrungruang said that the 2015 budget is expected to remain unchanged from this year’s budget. On the 7 July 2014, it was reported that the Royal Thai Navy’s submarine squadron was officially launched. The construction of new amenities required for the submarine squadron is approximately 740 million baht.
The navy has not had submarines for 62 years, since its last fleet of 4 Japanese made submarines. Deals that were brokered in 2011 with Germany and South Korea to purchase 6 small submarines for 7.7 billion baht and 2 larger submarines for 40 billion baht respectively did not go through. As of now, the unit commanded by Rear Admiral Panu Punyavirocha has everything except for the submarine itself.
The expenditure for submarines can be estimated to be around tens of billions (Thai Baht) and this will definitely be a stretch for the defense budget should it remain unchanged.
Featured photo credit: ASTV Manager Online