France’s DCNS says India submarine data leak may be “economic warfare”

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Delhi: Sensitive documents detailing the technical and stealth capabilities of India’s Scoprene submarines designed by French shipbuilder DCNS have been leaked, with defence minister Manohar Parrikar seeking a report from the navy chief on the matter.

India is investigating damage caused to the submarines that are being built in the country, the defense ministry said. 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 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 above­water 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.

 

Parrikar seeks report

“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 percent since a lot of final integration lies with India. He said a clear picture will emerge in a couple of days.

Top­secret revealed?

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 massive leak has created fear in Australia about the future security of top­secret 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 leaked documents do not contain any details of the vessel currently being designed for the Australian fleet, the company too said.

“As a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene program, French national authorities for defense security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents,” a DCNS spokeswoman said in a statement.

“The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine program which operates under the Australian government’s arrangements for the protection of sensitive data,” she added.

Major strategic problem The breadth of detail in the documents creates a major strategic problem for India, Malaysia and Chile, all of which operate the same submarine, an Australian political source with decades of experience in the global arms industry told Reuters. Excerpts published in redacted form on the newspaper’s website contained highly sensitive details of the submarine including technical manuals and models of the boat’s antennae. “If it’s 22,400 pages, it’s a major stuff­up,” the source said.

“It’s a huge deal. It allows them to understand everything about the submarines. What speeds it can do; how noisy it is; what speeds the mast can be raised at … all of that is just devastating,” the source added.

‘Submarines’ credibility could be compromised’ Uday Bhaskar, a former naval officer, said that if the leak was established, it would amount to a significant compromise of the credibility of the submarines.

India has a fleet of 13 aging submarines, only half of which are operational at any time, opening up a major gap with China which is expanding its maritime presence in the Indian Ocean.

For India, the submarines are being built at a state­run shipyard in Mumbai and the first one was expected to join service by the end of the year, the first step in the navy’s effort to rebuild its dwindling fleet.

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