NEW DELHI: All hell has broken loose with 22,400 pages of “Restricted Scorpene India” leaked to The Australian newspaper. All involved are scurrying to cover their back with the French ordering an enquiry, DCNS pointing fingers wildly at all sides including India, and New Delhi maintaining that it seemed to be “a case of hacking” and the leak was from abroad not within the country.

India’s top secret submarine program stands now completely exposed. Vital details of India’s top secret US $ 3.5 billion Scorpene submarine---the first of the six expected to join service by 2016---are now in the public domain, available to all. Pakistan, China and world governments have full access and details of the design and details of the Indian submarines under manufacture. The six class stealth Scorpene submarines were to be the mainstay of the Indian naval fleet, with the leakage now expected to have major repercussions on this program.

  1. The leaked ‘secret’ information, according to The Australian reveals:
  2. The stealth capabilities of the six new Indian Scorpene submarines;
  3. The frequencies at which the subs gather intelligence;
  4. The levels of noise the subs make at various speeds;
  5. Diving depths, range and endurance;
  6. Magnetic, electromagnetic and infra-red data;
  7. Specification of the submarine’s torpedo launch system and the combat system;
  8. Speech and conditions needed for using the periscope;
  9. Propellers noise specifications;
  10. Radiated noise levels when the submarine surfaces.

A DCNS spokesperson issued a statement confirming the leak,"As a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene program, French national authorities for defense security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents.” The Australian indicated that DCNS seemed to imply that the leak was from India, and not from France.

As naval sources told The Citizen, there is nothing left to know now about the top secret submarines, it is all there with charts, drawings, details in the 22400 pages of information. The documents are primarily on India’s vessels, with nothing about the Indian Scorpene being left to the imagination. INS Kalvari, the first submarine being built at Mumbai’s Mazagon Docks was scheduled to be in service by the end of this year. The project is already running six years late.. Interestingly the documents with The Australian do not give any details of the submarine being currently designed for the Australian navy.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters that he had got information of the leak at midnight saying, “I understand there has been a case of hacking.” Naval sources said that while operational and strategic details of where, when and how the submarines would be deployed make the difference between defeat and victory during war, the nature of the design and weapon systems used in the Scorpene that are now with the rival navies of the world is “absolutely devastating.”

In a bare statement the Ministry of Defence(Navy) stated,"the available information is being examined at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defense (Navy) and an analysis is being carried out by the concerned specialists.It appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India."

This virtually renders the Scorpene program inoperable, according to the sources. “It could not have come at a worst time, as India has a fleet of 13 aging submarines while the Chinese navy is expanding rapidly.

Significantly according to a Global Fire Power ( ranking the top three Navies of the world with the highest number of submarines are the United States-75, North Korea-70 and China just behind with 68 submarines. India is a poor eighth with a fleet of 14 submarines according to GFP, and Pakistan at rank 22 with just five. The six Scorpenes are to have been a significant addition to India, but the leak now seriously comprises this program. Interestingly Russia is ranked 4 with 60 submarines, and Iran is ahead of many major countries including Japan, at rank 5 with 33 submarines.

(Cover picture: INS Kalvari India’s first Scorpene class stealth submarine)