NEW DELHI (TIP): Sensitive data related to India’s Scorpene submarines has been leaked, with French shipbuilder DCNS which designed the submarine facing a leak of documents spreading over 22,000 pages, a report in Australian media revealed on August 23 (Tuesday).
According to a report in The Australian, DCNS, which recently won a contract to design 12 submarines for Australia, includes details of submarine’s underwater sensors, above-water sensors, combat management system, torpedo launch system and specifications, communications system and navigation systems.
Variants of Scorpene submarines are also used by Malaysia and Chile with Brazil to join the club soon.
First of the Scorpene class submarines being built in India Kalvari went for sea trials in May, 2016 and is expected to be inducted in the Indian Navy soon.
Indian Navy officials have said the six submarines, once inducted, would form the core of the Navy’s submarine arm for the next two decades.
According to the report, DCNS has said that such a leak of technical data could not happen with its proposed submarine for Australia.
The DCNS 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 as per the report in The Australian.
“Multiple and independent controls exist within DCNS to prevent unauthorized 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,” it said.
INDIAN NAVY TRIES TO DOWNPLAY DATA LEAK
The leaked specifications of the Scorpene submarine will not pose any security compromise, the Indian Navy claimed.
The Navy has been trying to downplay concerns over an information leak that could blunt the operational edge of six stealth submarines that India is building under license from the French shipyard, DCNS.
A day after The Australian newspaper published 22,000 pages detailing the combat capabilities of the new Indian submarine made with French collaboration, the Navy asserted that the vital parameters of the boat have been blacked out in papers available online.
The Indian government, meanwhile, said that an elaborate impact assessment is being undertaken by a high-level committee constituted by the defense ministry.
The Navy is also undertaking an internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise.
It has also discussed the leak with the Director General of Armament of the French government, conveying its concerns.
A request was made to the French government to investigate at its end how the documents came out in public.
In a parallel effort, the authenticity of reports in public is being verified through diplomatic channels.
“The Government of India, as a matter of abundant precaution, is also examining the impact if the information contained in the documents claimed to be available with the Australian sources is compromised,” said a statement released on Thursday.
The Navy swung into action at the highest level as the first of the six Scorpene submarines, INS Kalvari, is expected to be launched in the coming months.The induction is already running four years behind schedule.
Officials explained that many of the technical details about the submarine are in the public domain, and the leak will not have any impact on the operational deployment.
But many experts argued that the stealth factor is at the core of submarine operations, and the leak is a matter of serious concern.
Indian officials have maintained that the leaks originated overseas.