Prominent Russian hypersonic missile scientist arrested for treason

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 arrested this summer on suspicion of treason.

The scientific director of the institute, Vasily Fomin, told the Russian news agency TASS that Shiplyuk was sent to the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow.

His arrest follows the June 27 arrest of the institute’s chief investigator, Anatoly Maslov, suspected of transferring state secret data related to hypersonic missiles.

What to know about the hypersonic missiles fired by Russia against Ukraine

According to the institute’s website, Shiplyuk runs a technology lab with unique wind tunnels built especially to simulate hypersonic conditions.

On June 30, the Novosibirsk Sovetsky District Court 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 arrested on charges of state treason for allegedly collaborating with China’s security services, Reuters reported.

Kolker, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer, died while being transferred from the pre-trial detention center.

Military powers in Russia, China, and the United States are working to develop hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) weapons.

These are highly maneuverable weapons that can theoretically fly at hypersonic speeds while adjusting heading and altitude to fly under radar detection and around missile defenses.

Experts say that such weapons are incredibly difficult to defend against.

Russia is believed to have one heavy vehicle in its arsenal, the Avangard system, which Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed in 2018 was “virtually invulnerable” to Western air defenses.

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