Russia fears leak of hypersonic missile secrets to West

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Image caption Russia released military footage - including its new ultra-fast missiles

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has raided a space research facility after a suspected leak of hypersonic missile secrets to Western spies.

The state space agency Roskosmos said its security staff were co-operating with FSB officers on a criminal case.

Russia's Kommersant daily says about 10 staff at a Roskosmos facility called TsNIIMash are under suspicion. A director's office was searched.

Hypersonic missiles fly at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5).

On Thursday Russia released video of two new hypersonic missile systems - called Kinzhal and Avangard. Both can deliver nuclear warheads.

The suspects in the secrets case could be charged with high treason, Kommersant reports.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Kinzhal missile is seen here carried by a MiG-31 jet over Moscow in May

"It was established that the leak came from TsNIIMash employees," a source close to the FSB investigation told the paper.

"A lot of heads will roll, and for sure this case won't end just with a few dismissals," the source said.

TsNIIMash is a top scientific subsidiary of Roskosmos. It is in the town of Korolyov, in the Moscow region.

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Image caption A still from the defence ministry video shows an Avangard warhead (computer simulation)

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Russia's defence ministry has broadcast video of what it calls a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles. Some are launched by bombers, others are shown being launched from silos or mobile launch vehicles.

President Vladimir Putin spoke about the systems in March, including the Kinzhal missile, which can reach Mach 10 - about 12,000km/h (7,456mph) - with a range of 2,000km.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Russian video blurred out engineers' faces and all identification numbers

The Kinzhal, already in service, is launched from MiG-31 or Tu-22M3 jets. Interfax news agency says Kinzhal-armed MiGs patrol over the Caspian Sea.

The FSB also searched offices at the United Rocket and Space Corporation (ORKK) in Moscow.

Kommersant says a state corporation called Tactical Missile Arms handles hypersonic projects, but TsNIIMash works very closely with it.