French defence contractor DCNS has been hit by a massive leak of secret data on the combat capability of the Scorpene-class submarine that it has designed for the Indian Navy, The Australian newspaper reported on Wednesday.

India’s Scorpene Submarine
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The Scorpene submarine project is one of India’s biggest defence projects along with the FGFA fifth generation fighter jet project.The Scorpene submarines are our most advanced submarines. The project costs a whopping 3.5 billion dollars !

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The daily said it has accessed 22,400 leaked pages of classified data on the submarine, variants of which are used by Malaysia and Chile. Brazil is also due to deploy the vessels from 2018.

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Australia awarded DCNS an Aus $50 billion (US$38 billion) contract last April to design and build its next generation of submarines.

Just to jog you up with the basics, the difference between an advanced submarine and a regular submarine is its acoustic signature. Stealth submarines like the six India is constructing in Mazgaon docks, had a very small acoustic signature. And hence sonar systems aboard enemy ships would have had a hard time locating the submarines.

In the leak, the ship’s sonar capabilities, the noise it generates and details of combat systems are completely exposed.

india submarine leak
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This means that the submarines are not really stealthy anymore, with the secrets of its acoustics out.

Our defence minister took note of the “hacking” and said that the government is investigating further.

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“I UNDERSTAND THERE HAS BEEN A CASE OF HACKING, WE WILL FIND OUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED”

It is also important to note that the leak happened outside of India. The Navy officials are playing the incident down, saying that the “leak is not substantial”.

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What is weird about the whole incident is that the company that is contracted for building the submarines DCNS, France is also building Scorpene submarines for Australia too. But the leaked documents have no sensitive details of the submarines being constructed for the Australian fleet.