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Australian newspaper releases new set of leaked Scorpene documents

India TV News Desk New Delhi 25 Aug 2016, 23:17:14 PM IST
India TV News Desk

A new set of leaked documents related to information about operating instructions of underwater warfare system of the Scorpene submarines were today released by Australia's 'The Australian' newspaper.

Six Scorpene submarines are being built in India at Mazagon dock at a cost of USD 3.5 billion by French firm DCNS. 

A top defence analyst, however, has allayed fears that the new tranche of information could compromise the security of the strategically important combat vessels. 

Like in the previous case, the newspaper has blacked out all details which it felt would compromise India's security interests. 

However, the new set of documents, with Indian Navy insignia on it and marked "Restricted Scorpene India", gives details about the sonar system of the submarines which is used to gather intelligence underwater. 

It talks about a wide range of technical specifications of the sonars and at what degree and frequency it will function. 

The documents detail the "Operating Instruction Manual", which talks about how to select a target for weapon firing, weapon configuration selection, among others. 

Though the Navy has not yet officially reacted to the release of new documents, sources maintained that it does not compromise national security. 

They said the same information about a submarine was on "many naval defence websites". 

"On the face of it, these documents are basic operating manual. You buy any goods from the market, it will come with an operating manual," defence analyst Commodore Uday Bhaskar (Retd), Director of Society of Policy Studies told PTI. 

If the question is if tonight's revelation has made our submarines vulnerable, "then the answer is no", he said. "It is more like basic operating instructions for the user," he said.
 
The paper said it has been told that the secret data was removed from DCNS by a former sub-contractor in 2011 and taken to a private company in Southeast Asia before being passed on to a branch of that company in a second Southeast Asian nation. 

A disk containing the data filed was then posted in regular mail to a company in Australia. DCNS is focusing its investigation on former employees and sub-contractors involved in the project. At this stage it is not thought that the leak came from India.

Reacting to the first set of data, the Indian Navy has said that the data in the leaked report is hypothetical and do not pose any security compromise. 

"The documents have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out. The Indian Navy has taken up the matter with director general of armament of the French government and has requested the French government to investigate this incident and share their findings. An internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is also being undertaken," said a Navy statement.

The Navy has also made it clear that the leak did not take place in India, contradicting Scorpene submarine-maker French firm DCNS’s claim that the leak might be at the Indian end.

More than 22,000 pages of top secret data on the capabilities of six highly advanced submarines were released in the first set.

The details leaked included what frequencies the submarines 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 Australian said.

It said that 'Marked "Restricted Scorpene India", the DCNS documents¬ detail the most sensitive combat capabilities of India’s submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by India’s strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China.'

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 submarine’s torpedo launch system and the combat system, the newspaper 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.