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Scorpene Data Leak May Create a Major Strategic Problem For India

File photo of Indian Navy's Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari (Reuters)

File photo of Indian Navy's Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari (Reuters)

A massive leak of secret data of French defence contractor DCNS has potentially exposed the combat capabilities of India's Scorpene-class submarines. An Australian newspaper revealed that the 22,400-page leak has details of combat capabilities of the six submarines that DCNS designed for the Indian Navy.

The leak of documents related to Scorpene-class submarines is likely to create a major strategic problem for India apart from countries like Malaysia and Chile which also use its variants.

A massive leak of secret data of French defence contractor DCNS has potentially exposed the combat capabilities of India's Scorpene-class submarines. An Australian newspaper revealed that the 22,400-page leak has details of combat capabilities of the six submarines that DCNS designed for the Indian Navy.

The report said the leaked DCNS data, running to 22,400 pages, details of 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.

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 submarines 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.

Security analyst Uday Bhaskar said that, at the time when India's underwater capability is in dire need of new platforms, such leaks and probes are going to delay the full operational induction of the Scorpene to enhance India's overall firepower.

"I think we have to proceed with some caution to check the veracity of the documents whether it is an accurate reflection of the boat in terms of design and other technical parametres. If it's accurate, then as an analyst I would say that this is a serious compromise of the credibility of the Indian Scorpene because an attack submarine is all about stealth and that you should remain undetected," Bhaskar said.

"There's one section of about 4,000 pages that referred to the entire acoustic signature of the boat i.e., all the frequencies, various other details about the electro-magnetic spectrum, the combat management system, the wiring of the torpedo tubes. All this to me as an analyst, would recognise as a significant compromise," he added.

first published:August 24, 2016, 15:31 IST