Military Capabilities

AFA 2017: US Air Force not pushing for additional RD-180s

20 September 2017

Key Points

  • A key US Air Force officer said the service doesn’t want to buy more Russian rocket engines
  • The service is paying companies to develop next-generation launch systems

The US Air Force (USAF) is not pushing Congress for permission to buy additional Russian-developed rocket engines, according to a key officer.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Military Deputy, Lieutenant General Arnold Bunch told reporters on 19 September that he disagreed with recent news reports suggesting that the USAF’s next-generation rocket development effort was behind schedule and that one of its prime contractors, United Launch Alliance (ULA), would need additional RD-180s to provide assured access to space, or two launch providers.

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