US Air Force to End Reliance on Russian Rocket Engines as Soon as Possible

WASHINGTON, December 22 (Sputnik) — The US Air Force will implement sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restricting use of the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine, which is used to deliver US national security payloads into space, an Air Force spokesperson told the Sputnik news agency on Monday.

“The Air Force is committed to ending reliance on the Russian RD-180 as soon as possible and is assessing the specific impacts from restrictions on its use,” Air Force spokesperson Captain Chris Hoyler said.

“We will continue to work toward a recommendation on specific actions to the Secretary of Defense in line with the rollout of the fiscal year 2016 budget,” he added.

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits the US Department of Defense from awarding or renewing contracts for launch vehicles that use Russian-made rocket engines.

With a current stockpile of 16 RD-180s, the United States has enough rockets to continue launches until 2016. After, if the supplies are stopped, there would be significant delays in the ability to launch national security satellites into space, according to an RD-180 Availability Risk Mitigation Study.

Full article: US Air Force to End Reliance on Russian Rocket Engines as Soon as Possible (Sputnik)

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