Russia detains chief designer of hypersonic weapons for treason
General Director and Chief Designer of JSC Research Enterprise of Hypersonic Systems (NIPGS) Alexander Kuranov was detained on August 12 by Russian FSB officers.
TASS reports, citing a source in law enforcement agencies, 73-year-old Kuranov is accused of treason. He is suspected of transferring development materials to foreign special services. The Lefortovo court of Moscow received a petition from investigators for the arrest of the scientist for two months, which was satisfied.
Doctor of Technical Sciences and Professor of the Department of Systems and Control Technologies of St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Kuranov led research and experimental work on the development of the concept of hypersonic speeds in atmosphere and the main development of hypersonic technologies.
The author of more than 120 patents, he worked on the so-called Ajax concept, which was started under the USSR and included the study of a special thermochemical reactor, as well as a number of technologies that allow cooling the aircraft at hypersonic speeds.
NIPGS is part of the Leninets holding, which since 1985 is headed by Anatoly Turchak, the father of the secretary of the General Council of United Russia party, Andrei Turchak.
In 1992, Leninets by the government decision was transformed into the first military-industrial holding. Its general director is the eldest son of Turchak Boris, RBC news agency notes.
At the moment, the Russian authorities claim that three types of hypersonic systems are being developed in the country.
These are the Kinzhal missile, the Avangard system with a gliding hypersonic unit and the Zircon hypersonic missile. All these types of weapons were presented by President Vladimir Putin during his address to the Federal Assembly in 2018.
According to the American Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), as of November 2019, out of he three systems announced by Russia, only Kinzhal systems created for the modernized MiG-31 long-range interceptor aircraft are actually in service with the Russian army. The other systems are either a distant prospect or impossible in principle, NTI said.