The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) today detained Professor Alexander Kuranov in Moscow accusing him of ‘high treason.’
He is one of Russian top scientists in the field of hypersonic systems and is suspected of passing state secrets to foreign countries in recent years, TASS reported.
The Moscow court confirmed that the FSB had sent a request for his detention for two months but gave no details of the charges against him. High treason cases in Russia are tried in camera and it is unlikely that details of the charges will ever be known.
In recent years, Russia has forged ahead of the U.S. and China in the development of hypersonic missiles. While the U.S. recorded a second failure on August 5 to test a hypersonic missile engine, Russia’s Tsirkon hypersonic missiles have completed several test launches and are expected to enter service next year.
There have been earlier reports of attempts to steal details of Russian hypersonic technology by compromising individual technocrats but no country has been specifically named.
Kuranov is the general director and chief designer of the Scientific Research Enterprise of Hypersonic Systems (NIPGS), a subsidiary of the Leninets Holding Company. Kuranov also heads the directorate of the Leninets HC in the direction of “New Hypersonic Technologies.”
In addition, Alexander Kuranov, is a doctor of technical sciences, professor of the control systems and technologies department at the St. Petersburg Polytechnical University.
He is believed to part of a team that is developing the super-secret the Ayaks hypersonic aircraft. The Ayaks concept involves the conversion of hydrocarbon fuel, plasma aerodynamics, methods of electromagnetic flow control in the development of a magneto-plasmo-chemical engine. An aircraft powered by this engine is capable of flying at Mach 4-5. The program was first launched during the Soviet era but is believed to have been re-kindled in recent times.