India, France investigating Scorpene submarine data leak

NEW DELHI, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Some 22,000 pages of technical data for stealth submarines built by French shipbuilder DCNS for India were leaked, sending officials in both countries scrambling.

France and India both opened investigations on Wednesday after 22,400 pages dated from 2011 allegedly detailing the secret combat capabilities of six Scorpène-class diesel-electric submarines were leaked to The Australian newspaper. The newspaper reported an “Edward Snowden-sized leak” that would “provide an ­intelligence bonanza if obtained by India’s strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China.”

DCNS acknowledged the leak, saying a thorough investigation is being conducted to determine the damages. The leak allegedly included technical manuals and sensitive information about onboard weaponry and intelligence-gathering systems. The Australian said it redacted sensitive information from its report.

“DCNS has been made aware of articles published in the Australian press related to the leakage of sensitive data about Indian Scorpène. This serious matter is thoroughly investigated by the proper French national authorities for defense security. 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.

Manohar Parrikar, the Indian defense minister, said the impact of the leak is not clear or if it will affect India’s naval fleet capacities.

“It looks like a case of hacking,” he said.

The submarine is currently used by Malaysia and Chile, and Brazil has the vessels on order.

Earlier this year, Australia signed off on a $38 billion deal with the French company to design and build Australia’s new Shortfin Barracuda submarines. Christopher Pyne, the Australian defense industry minister, said the leak “has no bearing” on the submarine program.

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