A leading Russian scientist in hypersonic flight was arrested on suspicion of treason on Friday, according to Russian state media.
Dr. Alexander Shiplyuk, director of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is the third Russian scientist this summer to be arrested on suspicion of treason.
The institute’s scientific director Vasily Fomin told the Russian news agency TASS that Shiplyuk was sent to the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow.
His detention follows the June 27 arrest of the institute’s chief scientist, Anatoly Maslov, who is suspected of transferring state secret data related to hypersonic missiles.
According to the institute’s website, Shiplyuk heads a technology laboratory with unique wind tunnels purpose-built to simulate hypersonic conditions.
On June 30, the Sovetsky District Court of Novosibirsk arrested another scientist, Dmitry Kolker, a researcher at the Institute of Laser Physics of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Kolker was detained on treason charges for allegedly cooperating with China’s security services, Reuters reported.
Kolker, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer, died while being transferred from the detention center.
These are highly maneuverable weapons that can theoretically fly at hypersonic speeds while adjusting course and altitude to fly under radar detection and around missile defenses.
Experts say such weapons are incredibly difficult to defend against.
Russia is believed to have one truck in its arsenal, the Avangard system, which Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed in 2018 was “virtually invulnerable” to Western air defenses.