Pentagon: Replacing Russian Engines on US Rockets Would Cost Extra $1Bln
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics Frank Kendall said that the US armed forces will need to buy Russian RD-180 engines for Atlas rocket boosters to send satellites into space for at least another five years.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US armed forces will need to buy Russian RD-180 engines for Atlas rocket boosters to send satellites into space for at least another five years, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics Frank Kendall told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
"It would be over $1 billion out of our defense budget to get us off RD-180s, and I don't think that's a good tradeoff," Kendall told the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
The US Air Force plans to continue buying and using the RD-180s at least until 2021 while US companies develop alternate rocket engines to keep putting US satellites and other military assets into space, according to the undersecretary.
"It's a complicated issue, but the department's goals have never changed, to develop two engines, so if one of them has a failure, and we have a big gap in capability, we still have access to space. We need competition to keep the expense down," Kendall explained.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator John McCain wants the US Air Force to stop using Russian engines by 2020 and tried to include a ban on purchasing them in the 2016 National Defense Appropriations Act but failed.
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