Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plan to introduce legislation to limit the use of Russian-made rocket engines for US national security space launches, McCain announced Jan. 27. The bill would repeal a provision of the Fiscal 2016 omnibus appropriations bill that allows the unlimited purchase and use of Russian-made engines. That provision undermines a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act that restricted the purchase of RD-180 rocket engines for national security space launches, said McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a Jan. 27 press release. “It is morally outrageous and strategically foolish to ask American taxpayers to subsidize Russia’s military industrial base,” McCain said. “This legislation is vital to ensuring the United States does not depend on Vladimir Putin’s regime for assured access to space.” McCarthy, the House majority leader, said the provision in the omnibus spending bill was a “last-minute maneuver” that provides “an indefinite lifeline to Russian rocket engines to power American space launches.” Placing a “critical aspect of our future in the hands of a country that names the United States as a threat is not only foolish, it undermines the ingenuity happening across the country,” McCarthy said.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.