Russian-Made Engines Arrive in Alabama

Two Russian-built RD-180 engines, which power United Launch Alliance rockets, arrived at the ULA facility in Decatur, Ala., on Wednesday despite earlier claims by Russian leaders that the engines would no longer be shipped to the US for government or military use, officials told Air Force Magazine. ULA officials said delivery has not been interrupted, and noted the engines “will support critical near-term US missions,” said Jessica Rye, a ULA spokeswoman, via email. “We expect another shipment of three engines later this year.” This marks the first shipment since Rogozin’s May comments. Previous statements by the company put the expected delivery timetable for the next three engines in October 2014, with a projected eight engines to arrive in both 2015 and 2016. Even though, the Russian-made engines continue to make their way to the US, ULA officials said finding a domestic replacement is still a top priority. “While the RD-180 has been a remarkable success, we believe now is the right time to invest in a domestic engine,” Rye said, adding the process is underway and a new engine should be available in the next five years. (See also Prudent Planners.)