Leak ahead of first submarine induction

Leak ahead of first submarine induction

Leak ahead of first submarine induction

The leakage of thousands of pages of classified documents on India’s Scorpene submarines comes months before the induction of the first of these submarines, INS Kalvari.

The underwater platform was to be commissioned by the end of September. The deadline has now been extended by a few months as the boat needs to be armed with a German-origin torpedo in the absence of its first choice weapon – the Black Shark torpedoes from Italy.

“The original induction was planned in September 2016. But there is a slight delay now as we have to decide on the torpedo,” a navy officer said.

With the Black Shark torpedoes being ruled out as they are from the scam-tainted Finmeccanica stable, the defence ministry plans to use the German torpedoes from the existing arsenal to arm the Scorpene class submarines.

Back in 1999, the navy planned to acquire 24 diesel electric submarines over the next 30 years. The plan was tweaked twice later to incorporate nuclear-powered submarines and the deadlines were modified. But the targets set up even in the 2008-2022 indigenisation plan are way off the mark.

The Rs 18,798-crore project to construct six French-origin Scorpene submarines at Mumbai’s Mazagon dock are running four years behind schedule. Now, the six submarines may be commissioned by the navy by 2019-20. Due to the delay, the navy has undertaken costly refit programmes to extend the life of the existing fleet.

The data leak is likely to further delay the submarine’s induction as detailed reviews need to be carried out to find out how much of the leaked information would be relevant from an operational perspective before the submarine is deployed. Also, a decision needs to be taken whether the boats would require additional sensors for safety.

The Scorpene submarines were meant to boost the navy’s underwater war-fighting abilities, which is currently being taken care of by four ageing German HDW and nine Russian Kilo-class submarines.

Leak may be economic warfare: DCNS

French naval contractor DCNS said on Wednesday it may have been the victim of “economic warfare” after reports about the leak emerged, Reuters reports from Sydney/Paris.

India opened an investigation after The Australian newspaper published documents relating to the submarine's combat capabilities, raising concerns over another major contract with Australia.

DCNS, which is 35% owned by Thales, said it was working to determine if any harm had been caused to clients with a view to drawing up an action plan.

Asked if the leak could affect other contracts, a company spokeswoman said it had come against a difficult commercial backdrop and that corporate espionage is to blame.

“Competition is getting tougher, and all means can be used in this context,” she said. “There is India, Australia and other prospects, and other countries could raise legitimate questions over DCNS. It’s part of the tools in economic warfare.”

DCNS, which is also vying for submarine contracts in Norway and Poland, beat Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG and a Japanese government-backed bid by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Australia.

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