Confidential data on Indian Navy’s $3 billion Scorpene submarines leaked, Defence Minister seeks report
On Tuesday, an Australian media report confirmed a massive data leak, detailing the combat capabilities of Indian Navy’s Scorpene-class submarines. Designed by French shipbuilder DCNS, the submarine was soon be be inducted to the Navy and the leak could prove to be a goldmine for India’s strategic rivals Pakistan and China.
Following the leak, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked the Navy chief to present a report on the matter.
India has ordered six Scorpene-class submarines, in a deal worth $3 billion. The first of the Scorpenes, Kalvari, is currently undergoing sea trials. It is scheduled to be commissioned in October this year, with the remaining 5 expected to be rolled out at nine-month intervals.
The leaked DCNS data, running to 22,400 pages, details the secret stealth capabilities of the submarines, including what frequencies they gather intelligence at, what levels of noise they make at various speeds and their diving depths, range and endurance all sensitive information that is highly classified, according to Australia’s ‘The Australian’ newspaper.
The data tells the submarine crew where, on the boat, they can speak safely to avoid detection by the enemy. It also discloses magnetic, electromagnetic and infrared data as well as the specifications of the submarine’s torpedo launch system and the combat system, it said.
It details the speed and conditions needed for using the periscope, the noise specifications of the propeller and the radiated noise levels that occur when the submarine surfaces.
The data, accessed by the paper, includes 4457 pages on the submarine’s underwater sensors, 4209 pages on its above-water sensors, 4301 pages on its combat management system, 493 pages on its torpedo launch system and specifications, 6841 pages on the sub’s communications system and 2138 on its navigation systems.
“I have asked the Navy chief to study the entire issue about what has been leaked, what is there about us and to what extent. It came to my knowledge at about 12 AM. What I understand is there is a hacking. So we will find out all this,” Parrikar told reporters.
The Defence Minister said he does not suspect the leak to be 100 per cent since a lot of final integration lies with India. He also added that a clear picture will emerge in a couple of days.
In a statement, the Navy said, “A case of suspected leak of documents related to Scorpene submarines has been reported by a foreign media house. The available information is being examined at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and an analysis is being carried out by the concerned specialists. It appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India.”
The leak has created fear in Australia about the future security of top-secret data on its navy’s future fleet, the Australian media reported as the French company had won the bid to design Australia’s new AUD 50 billion submarine fleet.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was important to note the submarine DCNS was building for India was a completely different model to the one it will build for Australia and the leaked information was a few years out of date. “Nevertheless, any leak of classified information was a concern,” he was quoted as saying.
According to The Australian, the data on the Scorpene was written in France for India in 2011. It is suspected of being removed from France the same year by a former French Navy officer, who was a DCNS subcontractor at the time.