Russia Does About-Face on Engine Sales

In a reversal from his May 2014 statements, Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Dmitry Rogozin said the country will continue to supply RD-180 engines to the US, according to the state-run news agency Ria Novosti. “We will continue working with the US on projects that are lucrative for us, but we will suspend those that are not,” said Rogozin. He continued, “At present, the sales of engines for Atlas and Antares rockets in the United States favor Russia as the profits go directly for technological modernization of [Russian] enterprises [producing the engines].” Rogozin asserted the US would be unable to function without the engines in the immediate future, and suggested the US sanctions were self-serving, since they did not include purchase of the engines. Air Force Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton said Tuesday “there is no indication right now” the supply of RD-180 engines will be interrupted, although he acknowledged the Air Force is planning for all contingencies ranging from a disruptive supply to a congressional directive to stop using the Russian-made engines. Shelton said USAF also has asked the United Launch Alliance to “look into” the possibility of ramping up production of the Delta IV rockets. However, he said it’s not clear what will be required to make that happen.