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Secret Combat Capability of India's Scorpene-class Submarines Leaked

An employee looks at the propeller of a Scorpen submarine at the industrial site of the naval defence company and shipbuilder DCNS (Reuters)

An employee looks at the propeller of a Scorpen submarine at the industrial site of the naval defence company and shipbuilder DCNS (Reuters)

An Australian newspaper has revealed that the 22,400-page leak of date has details of combat capabilities of the six submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.

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 has revealed that the 22,400-page leak has details of combat capabilities of the six submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.

The information leaked includes details of the submarine's torpedo launch system, what levels of noise they make at various speeds, their diving depths, range and endurance. India spent 3.9 billion dollars on the 6 submarines which were inducted for trial in 2015.

The data leak is a major intelligence win for Pakistan and China.

Apart from India, the leak is likely to affect Malaysia and Chile which uses variants of Scorpene-class submarines.

Brazil is also due to deploy the vessels from 2018.

Australia awarded DCNS an Aus$50 billion (US$38 billion) contract last April to design and build its next generation of submarines.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to play down the impact in Canberra saying while the leak was "of concern", the Scorpene was a different model to the subs Australia is buying.

"The submarine we are building or will be building with the French is called the Barracuda, quite, completely different submarine to the Scorpene they are building for India," he told Channel Seven.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne issued a statement saying the leak "has no bearing on the Australian government's future submarine programme".

The programme, the statement said, "operates under stringent security requirements that govern the manner in which all information and technical data is managed now and into the future".

The leaked documents were marked "Restricted Scorpene India" and gave the combat capabilities of India's new submarine fleet, The Australian said.

They also included 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.

The Australian said DCNS implied that the leak may have come from India rather than France.

The daily, however, 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.

DCNS said 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."

The data is believed to have passed through firms in Southeast Asia before eventually being mailed to a company in Australia, the newspaper said.

Australia awarded its 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.

The DCNS website says the new vessel would be "the recipient of France's most sensitive and protected submarine technology and will be the most lethal conventional submarine ever contemplated".

(With inputs from AFP)