NEW DELHI: Secret data on the combat capability of the Scorpene-class submarine – designed by French defence contractor DCNS for the Indian Navy and being built at the Mazgaon Docks in Mumbai – has been leaked, an Australian newspaper has reported.
The Australian said it has accessed 22,400 leaked pages, marked “Restricted Scorpene India”, of what is essentially the operating manual of the submarine.
The INS Kalvari, the first of six submarines, is now being built in Mumbai as part of a 3.5 billion dollar project. The submarines are considered some of the most advanced of their class in the world, so silent under water that they are extremely difficult, if not impossible to detect.
The classified data now out in the open includes thousands of pages on the submarine sensors and thousands more on its communication and navigation systems as well as nearly 500 pages on the torpedo launch system alone.
A daily accessed 22,400 leaked pages of classified data on India’s Scorpene-class submarine. (File)
At the moment it is still unclear whether the data was leaked from France or India. The Australian said DCNS implied that the leak may have come from India, but the daily said the data was thought to have been removed from France in 2011 by a former French navy officer who at the time was a subcontractor for DCNS.
The French company told news agency AFP that it was aware of the articles published in the Australian press and that “national security authorities” had launched an inquiry into the matter, without giving details.
“This inquiry will determine the precise nature of the documents which have been leaked, the potential damage to our customers as well as those responsible,” it said.
The data is believed to have passed through firms in Southeast Asia before eventually being mailed to a company in Australia, the newspaper said.
Variants of the submarine are used by Malaysia and Chile. Brazil is also due to deploy the vessels from 2018.
Australia has awarded a submarine contract to DCNS, but the secret combat system for the 12 Shortfin Barracudas is being supplied by the United States.The submarines are a scaled-down conventionally powered version of France’s 4,700-tonne Barracuda.