WASHINGTON – The United States will no longer buy RD-180 engines from Russia for Atlas V single-stage two-stage launch vehicles, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defense Express. Sales of these missiles have also been suspended.
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“That’s all. All of them [launch vehicles] have been sold,” said Tori Bruno, executive director of the United Launch Alliance [ULA], in an interview with The Verge.
The RN Atlas V will be completely decommissioned by the middle of this decade, before which the ULA, an alliance of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, plans another 29 launches. The remaining launches will be in the interest of the US Department of Defense, NASA, Amazon, and other unnamed commercial customers.
“Three or four RD-180 engines are already installed on Atlas V missiles for future missions, some are still in stock. We bought the RD-180 in advance, so I can end this connection (with Russia) and not depend on it. as Congress asked us to,” explained Tori Bruno.
It is worth noting that the United States has purchased 122 RD-180 engines since 1997. The last six were purchased by the US in April this year.
Instead of Russian-powered missiles, ULA will use the cheaper Vulcan Centaur with BE-4 engines, developed by local company Blue Origin, for Pentagon missions. As early as September 2018, Blue Origin agreed to supply the BE-4 engine to a NASA contractor. According to The Verge, deliveries of the first ready-to-run engines are expected by the end of 2021.
Russia promotes “victory”
It should be added that the First Deputy General Director of Roscosmos for Economy and Finance Maxim Ovchinnikov in April this year. reports that sales of RD-180 / RD-181 engines in the United States account for about one-third of the company’s total revenue. Without it, Energomash will lose about 140-180 million dollars [10-13 billion rubles] in annual profits.
“This will be a very significant loss for Energomash in the economy,” said Maxim Ovchinnikov.
Information about the abandonment of other Russian rocket engines – RD -181, which are used in the middle-class RN Antares, has not yet been published. From what the head of “Roscosmos” Dmitry Rogozin has already managed to make almost a “victory”.
“They bought everything [RD-180] they wanted. They have 29 engines sold by us … But we don’t just supply the RD-180, we also supply the RD-181. And the United States is extremely interested in continuing to supply,” said on the air of the propaganda channel Solovyov live the odious head of the state corporation for space activities of the Russian Federation, commenting on the situation with the failure of the Russian engines of the company ULA.
Ukraine can replace Russia
However, these plans under certain conditions can be canceled by Ukrainian companies. So, more than a year ago, the former head of the State Tax Administration Vladimir Usov said that now there are some developments to replace the Russian RD-181 with a Ukrainian counterpart. In addition, in addition to the engine, almost the entire first stage of the Antares RN is produced in Ukraine.
“If the Ukrainian leadership makes a political decision, we could at least exclude Russian companies from the Antares project. We have already made an alternative proposal that is 30% cheaper than what the Russians are offering the Americans,” the former head of the State Tax Administration said. in an interview with the Left Bank publication.
In fact, in this course of events, the Russian space industry would not lose just a significant amount of money. Energomash will be forced to close two production lines for serial engines at the same time, which, although manufactured for the United States, could be used for other finishing rockets. But after the closure of the production line will hardly be needed.
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