Former French Naval officer could be behind Scorpene Submarine data leak
Following a massive leak of over 22,240 pages of sensitive data on India’s six new Scorpene-class submarines jointly being built by India and French firm DCNS, both countries have launched a formal investigation into the matter.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday directed Admiral Sunil Lamba, Chief of the Naval Staff, to analyse the extent of the leak after an Australian newspaper published documents relating to the submarine’s combat capabilities.
Parrikar said it appeared to be a case of hacking and he had asked his navy chief to investigate. India’s Defence Ministry said the source of the leak appeared to be “from overseas and not in India”, suggesting India believes the leaked information came from France.
It is not clear who obtained the confidential documents before these were released by the Australian media but according to reports in ‘The Australian’, the data on Scorpene was written in France for India in 2011 and it is suspected that a former French Navy officer, who was at that time a DCNS subcontractor, might be behind the leak.
A DCNS spokeswoman described the leak as “a serious matter” and said the French authorities would formally investigate.
“The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine programme, which operates under the Australian government’s arrangements for the protection of sensitive data,” a statement said.
The leaked data is said to include very sensitive details of the submarine such as technical manuals and models of the boat’s antennae. It gives elaborate details of frequencies at which the submarine gathers intelligence, what levels of noise it makes at various speeds, range and endurance.
The submarines are being built at a state-run shipyard in Mumbai and the first one was expected to go into service by the end of the year, Reuters reported.