SHAH ALAM: The data for the Indian Scorpene submarines – an updated version of the RMN Perdana Menteri class – have been leaked. The Australian, a newspaper based in Melbourne – however choose to claim that the leak data may well compromise their own submarine design also built by the French ship builder, DCNS.
The stunning leak, which runs to 22,400 pages and has been seen by The Australian, details the entire secret combat capability of the six Scorpene-class submarines that French shipbuilder DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.
A variant of the same French-designed Scorpene is also used by the navies of Malaysia, Chile and, from 2018, Brazil, so news of the Edward Snowden-sized leak — revealed today — will trigger alarm at the highest level in these countries. Marked “Restricted Scorpene India”, the DCNS documents detail the most sensitive combat capabilities of India’s new $US3 bn ($3.9bn) submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by India’s strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China.
The same article also linked to the data leaked though it claimed it had redacted some of the information. The Australian also claimed that the data was taken out from DCNS by a sub-contractor, a former French navy officer, who it claimed took it to South East Asia.
However, 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.
Meanwhile, Defense News is reporting that the French plans an inquiry into the leak.
“DCNS has been made aware of articles published in the Australian press related to the leakage of sensitive data about (the) Indian Scorpene,” the company told Defense News.
“This serious matter is thoroughly investigated by the … French national authorities for defense security,” DCNS said. “This investigation will determine the exact nature of the leaked documents, the potential damages to DCNS customers as well as the responsibilities for this leakage,” the company said.”
Personally, I think the data leak should be a serious concern for RMN especially that it came out from DCNS albeit via a sub contractor. And the claim that the data leak was somehow connected to a regional navy is a serious one indeed.
Its still too early for RMN to make any comments. If they do, I will post it here. Edited to add RMN comments.
RMN chief Admiral Kamarulzaman Badaruddin today (Aug 25) downplayed the concerns stating that the Perdana Menteri class submarines had different specifications compared to the Indian Scorpenes or even the Chilean ones.
He is correct of course but ours are more similar to the Chilean ones as both submarines are not fitted with air-independent propulsion. The Indian Scorpenes are longer and heavier in displacement, due to the AIP. The Indian submarines is fitted with non-penetrating periscopes while ours are fitted with the older hull penetrating ones.
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