MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. Russian manufacturer of rocket engines NPO Energomash hopes for the prolongation of its contract for the supply of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States till 2020-2021, Energomash CEO Igor Arbuzov has said.
"According to our estimates, the contract with the Americans will be prolonged till 2020-2021," a corporate periodical quotes him as saying.
The original agreement between Moscow and Washington for selling 101 engines to the United States, estimated at about $1 billion was concluded back in 1997. Eighteen months ago US Congress banned the use of RD-180 engines after 2019 only to overturn its own decision a short while later, when it became clear that the United States would not develop a substitute over years. Immediately after that the United Launch Alliance ordered another 20 RD-180 from Russia.
Earlier, US Under-Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Frank Kendall, said that his country’s premature decision to stop using RD-180 would cost the Pentagon more than one billion dollars.
Several US companies, including the ULA consortium established by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are working on new rocket engines.