US not able yet to remove dependency on Russian rocket motors
Posted on June 14th, 2014

US not able yet to remove dependency on Russian rocket motors

The US have not yet found a way to refuse from Russian rocket engines for launching their military satellites, but is looking for such an opportunity, the Reuters Agency reported Friday with reference to Frank Kendall, head of the Pentagon program of purchasing arms.

“We have motives to get rid of the dependencies, if we can do that. We would like to do it,” said Kendall. “We haven’t decided yet how to do it exactly,” he admitted.

Earlier, a number of committees in the US Congress have allocated additional funding in the budget 2015 for the beginning of developing a new rocket engine in order in future to refuse from the Russian RD-180 engines, which the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, uses for launching American military satellites. The American company equips the Atlas missiles with Russian engines.

According to Reuters, the United Launch Alliance has enough engines for launches planned for the next two years. The cost of developing a new rocket engine is estimated at $ 1 billion, it may take up to five years.

Replacement of Russia’s RD-180 rocket engine may cost US $1.5 bln and six years to develop

The development of a rocket engine to replace Russia’s RD-180 used by US Atlas-5 space launch vehicle may cost the United States $1.5 billion and will take as long as six years, the Bloomberg news agency reports, citing a team of Pentagon advisors.

An independent advisory panel warned the US Department of Defense that the loss of RD-180 would have “significant effects” and as “near-term options to mitigate them are limited”, it said, action must be taken by the end of September to “mitigate current risk and preserve” options.

Despite the Pentagon’s assurances that it has a two-year inventory of RD-180s, the panel fears a halt in RD-180 supplies may delay the launch of military payloads and increase costs by as much as $5 billion beginning in 2017.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Air Force to revise the principles of military-technological cooperation with Russia to reduce America’s dependence on Russian rocket engines.

Meanwhile, according to US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Frank Kendall, the US has nothing to substitute for the Russian-made engines it uses to launch its military satellites. So it needs to either create a domestic analogue of the RD-180 or totally abandon Atlas and switch to the Delta launch vehicle using a different type of engine.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in Moscow on May 13 that Russia may cut off supplies of RD-180s to the United States in response to US sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

Replacing Russian-made rocket engines is not easy – Pentagon

The Pentagon is hard-pressed to find a replacement for the Russian-made rocket engines it buys, a senior official has revealed. The import of the engines has for now been banned via a court order lobbied by SpaceX and based on sanctions imposed on Russia during the Ukrainian crisis, Stars and Stripes reports. The private space exploration company SpaceX says it has a cheaper way to launch satellites, and was suing the US Air Force for the chance to prove it.

US billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Wednesday won a court order temporarily blocking the Air Force from buying the Russian rocket engines on the grounds of a “potential violation” of US-imposed sanctions. The corporation says that by purchasing the engines, the Air Force is funneling money to Russia’s military industrial complex, which could be sponsoring some sanctioned Russian figures.

US Congress presents bill to ban Russian arms, Pentagon opposes move

Thursday, a bill aimed at curtailing current contracts with the Russian company Rosoboronexport and prohibiting the conclusion of new agreements with it was introduced to the Senate of the US Congress. The document is called the “Embargo Act on Russian Arms of 2014.”

The authors of the bill – Senators Dan Coats, John Cornyn and Richard Blumenthal have emphasized that their goal was to increase pressure on Russia in the light of the recent events in Ukraine. Their initiative also prohibits signing of contracts with any US or foreign companies cooperating with the Russian arms exporter.
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One Response to “US not able yet to remove dependency on Russian rocket motors”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Putin has already announced his decision not to use US dollars and instead use the Chinese Renminbi (Yuan) or the “red back” including a basket of other currencies in her commercial deals with China and other nations. That would put a nail in the coffin of the US dollar as the international currency of exchange.

    Russia has also placed an ultimatum to Kiev that unless Ukraine does not pay up her debt to Russia (it was not made clear whether that debt was the current 2 Billion or the total 16 Billion dollars) by this Monday Russia will cut off oil and gas supplies to Ukraine. That would force Ukraine to “cannibalize” any oil and gas flowing through her territory for other European nations. Ukraine does not have the funds to pay off the debt she owes to Russia.

    Russia violated the SALT treaty and tested her ICBM’s. She has also sent her naval ships to the English Channel via Crimea. Russia will build three military bases in the new world (Cuba Nicaragua and Venezuela) thereby ending any vestiges of the US “Monroe Doctrine”

    When Crimea ceded to Russia Moodys downgraded Russia’s investment to the level of junk bonds. Putin reacted that it was a politically motivated action and set about creating a Russian alternative to Moodys’. Now Russia (and the world) have a ratings agency that is not dependent on US foreign policies.

    the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have formed their own bank as an alternative to the IMF and the World bank thereby decreasing the hegemony of the US through these banks. It will also bypass the US dollar.

    China is “hardwiring” her alliances with Europe and Asia with planned new silk routes by constructing transcontinental railways. They will bypass the piracy of the seas and directly connect China’s economy with that of the West and Asia. China is also defusing the US containment policy of China by aligning with those very nations the US has lined up against China. The impending visit to India by high ranking Chinese officials is one example.

    In the Middle East the US has lost to Russia on Syria and Iran and is about to lose her hold in Iraq as that nation implodes. The US has the world’s largest base in Iraq. It is supposed to be the size of the Vatican.

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