13:59 GMT27 February 2021
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    Adm. Luechai Ruddit, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy, signed an agreement in Beijing Monday to buy a Type 071E landing platform dock warship from China, according to multiple reports.

    The Type 071E is a class of amphibious transport dock ship used by China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy. 

    The 20,000-ton ship consists of a vehicle deck, landing deck, well-deck and a hangar and can carry marines, landing craft, vehicles and helicopters.

    It will take three years for the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC) to build the ship, according to the Chiang Rai Times. Currently, the Royal Thai Navy’s only amphibious landing platform dock ship is the HTMS Angthong (LPD-791). 

    According to a statement released by the CSSC Tuesday, the general manager of the shipbuilding company, Yang Jincheng, was also present for the signing of the agreement Monday. 

    The statement, obtained by the Global Times, also said that this deal is the first time China has exported a landing platform dock warship. The statement did not provide any details about the ship’s price or exactly when it will be delivered to the Royal Thai Navy.

    The warship could be used by Thailand for naval transport missions, Beijing-based military analyst Wei Dongxu told the Global Times Wednesday, as well as possibly for disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

    The new ship won’t be the only military machine Bangkok has bought from Beijing. Thailand also operates VT4 main battle tanks, which were constructed by the Chinese defense company China North Industries Corporation, according to the Asia Times. 

    Thailand’s first of three Yuan Class S26T diesel-electric submarines is also currently being constructed by the China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co.


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