Asia Defense

Thailand’s Navy to Get Boost with New Patrol Vessels

Bangkok had procured four new vessels from a local shipyard.

Thailand’s Navy to Get Boost with New Patrol Vessels

US and Royal Thai Navy ships transit the Gulf of Thailand during CARAT Thailand 2011.

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo

Thailand’s navy has procured four patrol boats from a local shipyard, according to reports on August 31.

According to IHS Jane’s, the head of marketing at Marsun Company Limited confirmed that the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) had agreed to buy four M21-class patrol boats from the shipyard. The contract for the boats was reportedly signed on July 14 at the RTN head office in Bangkok. Thailand already operates three of such vessels which were delivered back in 2013 by Marsun, which has an established relationship with the RTN.

Per the specifications provided on the company’s website, the 21.4 meter long M21-class patrol boats boast top speeds in excess of 30 knots, a range of 350 nautical miles, and an endurance of 24 hours. They can accommodate nine crew members and can hold 4,000 liters of fuel and 1,200 liters of fresh water. The vessels are armed with one bow-mounted Denel GI-2 20 mm gun as their main weapon, along with a 12.7 mm machine gun with a co-axial 81 mm grenade launcher.

The company lists its main missions as law enforcement in the sea, preventing infiltration in sea or on shore, protecting commercial and fishing boats, protecting natural resources and coastal areas in gulf and open sea, and ensuring the security of VIPs. For Thailand, the boats are likely to be used to perform such functions like patrolling, protection and interception within the RTN’s Coast Guard Squadron.

The confirmation on the vessels comes after some uncertainty. In January last year, IHS Jane’s had reported that Marsun, in addition to signing a new contract with the RTN for several M58 large patrol boats, also expected an order for another six smaller M21 patrol vessels, though an official admitted that the ongoing political crisis in Thailand may mean a delay of “several months.” With the order now confirmed for four new vessels, rather than six, it is unclear if an additional, separate order will be placed for another two vessels as well.