A Russian researcher taking part in the nation’s hypersonic weapons program is suspected of treason, according to a new report.
Alexander Kuranov, 73, the general director of the Hypersonic Systems Research Facility, will be detained, Russian state news reported, according to Reuters.
Kuranov oversaw development work on a proposed hypersonic aircraft dubbed Ayaks.
The concept of such an aircraft dates back to the Soviet era.
“According to the preliminary information, Kuranov, who has been working on hypersonic technologies for years, has shared classified information about scientific research with a foreign citizen,” the Interfax news agency reported, according to The Guardian.
Interfax said Kuranov is suspected of “meetings and interactions with foreign citizens.”
“Interest was demonstrated by representatives of the United States and China,” the news agency said.
A report in the Daily Mail said Kuranov met with a representative of an unnamed NATO country.
A Russian court released footage of what it said was Kuranov being taken to a hearing. The man in the video was masked and wore a hoodie that obscured much of his face.
Do you fear Russia more than you do China?
State treason is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
Information on treason cases is hard to come by in Russia because that information is considered classified.
Russia has been developing multiple weapons it says are hypersonic, which means they travel far faster than the speed of sound.
In July, Russia said that trials on its new Zircon hypersonic missile will be wrapped up this year, The Associated Press reported.
The trials supposedly include a test firing of the missile later this month.
Russia says it is developing a 208-ton hypersonic missile that will soon begin testing.
“Equipping our armed forces — the army and the navy — with the latest, truly unparalleled weapon systems will certainly ensure the defense capability of our country in the long term,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said after a Zircon test last year, according to Defense News.
Putin has said the missile will fly at nine times the speed of sound.