Ex-French naval officer behind Scorpene submarines data leak?
The leak of data related to India's Scorpene submarines created a stir on Wednesday, with Ministry of Defence seeking a report from the Indian Navy on the documents.
The Navy, however, stressed that the data in the leaked report is hypothetical, pertaining to simulators, and the signature of a boat can be known only when it hits the seas.
The data, which comprises over 22,000 pages, was leaked, the Australian media reported. It contained documents on the Scorpene submarines, designed by French company DCNS and being built in India by the Mazagaon Dock Limited in Mumbai (Maharashtra) at a cost of around $3.5 billion (Rs 23,486 crore).
Report of 'The Australian' suggests a former French naval officer working as a sub-contractor for the DCNS might be behind the leak of data which were written in France in 2011. The French firm initially suggested the leak might be at the Indian end, saying it supplies but does not control access to technical data.
DCNS, two-thirds owned by the French government, said a probe will be carried out to determine the exact nature of the leaked papers, potential damage to the company and customers and responsibilities for this leak.
The Australian media reports, quoting DCNS, said that the leak of such technical data could not happen with its submarine proposed for Australia. The French company also alluded that the leak may have occurred at India, rather than from France.
The Navy, however, stressed that the leak did not happen in India.
“Details in the leaked documents regarding the Scorpene submarine are not valid because the signature can be known only once the boat goes out to the seas. How can we know the signature of the boat which is still not done with the trials. The technical and operational details will be written by how we exploit the submarine. So far, even the weapon systems and torpedo are not there,” the Navy said
“The available information is being examined at the Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy), and an analysis is being done by the specialists concerned. It appears that the leak's source is overseas and not in India,” it added.
A complaint was also filed at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), though there was no official statement from the PMO on the issue.
DCNS this year signed a contract with Australia for the manufacture of 12 submarines.
The first of the Scorpene-class submarines being built in India, Kalvari, went for sea trials in May and is expected to be inducted in the Indian Navy by this year-end.
Officials said the other six submarines, in different stages of construction, will be inducted subsequently at intervals of nine months each.
The variants of the Scorpene submarine are used by Malaysia and Chile, and Brazil is soon to join the club.