August 25, 2016

Who Might Gain From the Leak of DCNS Scorpene Documents?

I'm wondering what entity might conceivably gain from the leak of 20,000+ DCNS documents?

1. The leak would have damaged DCNS' reputation in India.

2. The weight of Scorpene technical details revealed might impede sales of Scorpenes.

3.  The leak has not helped DCNS' reputation in Australia.

4.  Substantial equipment types in the Scorpene also will exist in the Australia Shortfin, according to
     DCNS. So the leak also isn't helping Shortfin sales.

What do points 1 to 4 have in common?

There are two high value selection processes going on which still haven't been fully nailed down legally. These are:

- India's Project-75I and

-  Australia's SEA 1000. Australia selected the DCNS Shortfin but all the legalities are not yet fully
   nailed down. Also the US Government needs to be satisfied that the sensitive US combat
   system is being securely integrated (by Lockheed Martin or Raytheon). The integrator was to be
   decided soon - in 2016. High US confidence in the prime foreign contractor (currently DCNS) is
   implicit or explicit.

So what entity is well known to be a competitor in India's Project-75I?


Josh said...

A quick list in no particular order:

Pakistan, China: strategic competitors to India
Russia: alternative supplier of submarines to India
Germany, Japan: economic competitors to DCNS
US: known to favor the Japanese sub bid for political and info security reasons

The other possibility is that depending on the sophistication of the hack, any organization or individual might be responsible. The documents might have been low hanging fruit due to carelessness. An inside job is also possible. Given the nature of the information though it seems most likely it was a state sponsored hack, though that does beg the question: why was the information sent to Australia? Unless of course it specifically concerns the Shortfin bid.

The big three who would most likely have the *means* as well as motive are Russia, China, and the US. China has best motive in my opinion, so if we're opening a betting pool that's where I'd put my $10. But its far more likely we'll never know who or how the information was leaked.


Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
If I were a betting man and I put my $20 down, I would say China, Russia and Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

The leak originated from a former French Navy personnel to one SEA nation before ending up in Australia, according to one newspaper. If true, then this is not a state sponsored hack. It is not known if this leak has been pirated by other nations or not, but one likely cannot rule that out.
This is not the first time there is a massive defense leak in France. We can recall the 1967 saga of how Mirage 3/5 leak ended up in the Israeli Kfir.
The leak likely benefits technically China, Russia and South Korea more so than Germany or Japan in my view. From a commercial perspective, it benefits all SSK suppliers. The Japanese though is currently not a player besides the ill fated Australian bid and there is no consensus in Japan to become an SSK supplier going forward AFAIK.

Ztev Konrad said...

Dont forget it might be a 'counter leak by DCNS' themselves. If they knew , with the help of Frances security agencies, that a trove of information was out there. Make it worthless and possibly alter some really secret stuff by organising your own leak.
Planting fake information to be used by your adversarys or friends goes back a long way. eg Zimmerman telegram about German unrestricted submarine warfare in WW1. Or the "man who never was' who was planted by a British sub off the coast of Spain in WW2.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

I am shocked at your dose of cynicism!

"Frances security agencies" are men of honour of the International Brotherhood, never involved in questionable acts .

I think the standard bureaucratic response over large stolen document troves floating around is to take it on the chin in the accurate expectation that the public forgets after several months. Then roll on more USAF ads selling the F-35.