Australia warns French shipbuilder over submarine leak

Canberra, Aug 26 (IANS) Australia’s Defence Department has warned French shipbuilding company DCNS to ensure total security of the plans for 12 next-generation naval submarines set to be built in Australia.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne reportedly sent a strongly-worded statement to DCNS after it was revealed that, earlier this week, files containing sensitive information about Indian submarines had been leaked to the public, reports Xinhua news agency.

Australian officials have told the French shipbuilder that it wants the same level of protection given to the US regarding information on Australia’s 12 new, $40 billion submarines.

More than 22,000 pages of information, including design specifications as well as weapons and security details, were leaked online, prompting the company to suggest they might have been hacked.

DCNS won the multi-billion dollar contract in April, edging out competitors from Germany and Japan. While the leak was considered “very concerning”, it does not affect that Australian “shortfin barracuda” model.

Pyne had previously said the leak had “no bearing on the Australian government’s Future Submarine Programme” but on Friday reaffirmed Australia’s concerns over security to the company.

DCNS issued a statement earlier in the week which said the “French national authorities for defence security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents.

“The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine programme which operates under the Australian government’s arrangements for the protection of sensitive data,” the statement said.

–IANS

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