A prominent Russian scientist from the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Sciences Siberian branch was arrested on suspicion of treason. On Friday, a Russian news agency reported the apprehension of 55-year-old Dr. Alexander Shiplyuk, who was detained following the arrest on June 27 of Anatoly Maslov, the chief researcher of the institute.

Maslov, 75, was also suspected of propagating similar activities. On June 30, another scientist was ordered to be arrested by the Sovetsky District Court of Novosibirsk. Dmitry Kolker, a researcher assigned at the Institute of Laser Physics at the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences was detained on charges of state treason for his alleged collaboration with China’s security services. 

According to TASS, the institute’s scientific director, Vasily Fomin said Shiplyuk was taken into custody at the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow where he and Maslov await the findings on their cases being probed by the Russian Federal Security Service. 

Shiplyuk is a renowned Russian scientist who specializes in experimental research of gas flows and high-speed aerogas dynamics. He heads projects that deal with unique wind tunnels that are built for the purpose of simulating hypersonic conditions. His key areas of research are centered on experimental aerothermal dynamics of hypersonic aircraft that are outfitted to become hypersonic rockets.

Shiplyuk is reportedly suspected of certain treasonous operational activities at the institute while Maslov was arrested for allegedly transferring state-sensitive data linked to hypersonic missiles. Kolker, 54, died a few days after his transfer from a private clinic to the pre-trial detention center. He was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The development of hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) weapons has been the focus of research in countries such as Russia, China and the United States. Russia is believed to have the Avangard system in its arsenal which Putin described in 2018 as “invulnerable” to Western defenses. These are said to be highly maneuverable and theoretically have the ability to fly at hypersonic speeds while simultaneously adjusting altitude and adjusting their flight course to remain under radar detection. Military experts and scientists say such weapons are extremely difficult to defend against.

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