Sensitive documents detailing the technical and stealth capabilities of India’s Scorpene submarines designed by French shipbuilder DCNS have been leaked. Post the leak, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar sought a report from the Navy chief on the matter.
The leaked DCNS data, running to 22,400 pages, details the secret stealth capabilities of six new Indian 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 infra-red 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 here.
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 said 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 Navy said.
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 Australian Dollar 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.
The Australian reported that DCNS yesterday sought to reassure Australia that the leak of the data on the Indian Scorpene submarine would not happen with its proposed submarine for that country.
The company also implied that the leak might have occurred at India’s end, rather than from France.
“Uncontrolled technical data is not possible in the Australian arrangements,” the company said.
“Multiple and independent controls exist within DCNS to prevent unauthorised access to data and all data movements are encrypted and recorded. In the case of India, where a DCNS design is built by a local company, DCNS is the provider and not the controller of technical data,” the company said.
The Australian has been told that the data on the Scorpene was written in France for India in 2011 and is suspected of being removed from France in that same year by a former French Navy officer who was at that time a DCNS subcontractor.
“The data is then believed to have been taken to a company in Southeast Asia, possibly to assist in a commercial venture for a regional navy. It was subsequently passed by a third party to a second company in the region before being sent on a data disk by regular mail to a company in Australia.
“It is unclear how widely the data has been shared in Asia or whether it has been obtained by foreign intelligence agencies,” it said.
However, some of the documents also date to 2013.
The data accessed by The Australian also includes separate confidential DCNS files on plans to sell French frigates to Chile and the French sale of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship carrier to Russia.
These DCNS projects have no link to India.