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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The U.S. further exacerbated by dependence on Russian rocket engines

“When Russia really has to offer something interesting and real, the West will buy it with us, in spite of any political differences.” So experts evaluate the decision of the American company to continue to purchase such unique goods that the United States does not produce engines RD-181.

New contract with Energomash can be perceived as the fact that the Russian company has found a new permanent buyer. It was the company Orbital Sciences, which produces the Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo ships. In addition, will not be suspended deliveries of RD-180 engines for contracts, is designed to 2019.

“We need to create competitive products, and the West will buy in spite of the sanctions

“Under the contract, we are required to deliver from 2017 to 2018 14 engines. I don’t think there’s any replacement on other engines: experiments came out, and an alternative to Russian power devices in America are not found,” – said Arbuzov, RIA “Novosti”.

Significant deal

According to a member-correspondent of the Russian Academy of cosmonautics named. K. Tsiolkovsky Yuri Karash, Russia the new contract means a lot. At least it will have a positive impact on the work of the enterprise “Energomash”.

“For US this is also important because motors installed on the Antares rocket will be used to deliver cargo to the International space station (ISS). Therefore, it is a situation where everyone wins. It shows that when Russia really have to offer something interesting and real, the United States and, in a broader sense, the West will buy it with us, despite sanctions and political differences,” – said the scientist the newspaper LOOK.

The new contract remains unknown. According to experts, the cost of one power device is approximately equal to $ 10 million.

Also, earlier in mass media there were reports that the Russian company was actually sold to the Americans rocket engines at a loss. The economic situation in the research and production Association was indeed unstable from 2008 to 2014. The report demonstrates that income, the loss of hundreds of millions of rubles. But now the situation began to change, and NGOs by the end of 2015 achieved a net profit of 1 billion 581 million 636 thousand rubles. By the end of 2016 net profit of the company can make 2,5–3 billion rubles, while revenue from the sale of rocket engines – 11-12 billion.

Physical dependence

As told the General Director of the enterprise Igor Arbuzov, now with the Americans until 2017-2019 years, are firm contracts for the supply of one type of engine, the RD – 180. It is designed for rockets Atlas III and Atlas V. In 2018 on Board the Atlas with a Russian engine Americans plan to make a manned flight into space for the first time since the closure of the program “space Shuttle”. Now their astronauts fly to the ISS by the Russian “Unions”.

However, by 2019, the US plans to create a Russian analogue of the engines. However, Arbuzov said about confidence in the continuation of the procurement of domestic engines and after that time until 2023. At least American consortium of United Launch Alliance, dealing with the missile launches Atlas, expressed the desire to purchase before this time is 10 to 20 RD-180.

“Even now available in the U.S. supply of Russian engines is not fully ensures the demand for American programs, formed in the period from 2020 to 2023. Partners themselves recognise that even if will be ready on time American engines BE-4 for the new carrier Vulcan, the transition from the Atlas-5 on the Vulcan is going to happen until 2024, simultaneously, nothing will happen”, – said Igor Arbuzov.

Since the early 2000s, for the first stages of carrier rockets, Atlas III and Atlas V use Russian liquid-propellant engines RD-180, developed specially for them in the second half of 1990-ies. As reported on the website of the NGO “Energomash” currently in the United States supplied 70 engines of the RD-180. In 2014, the court forbade the company to ULA buying Russian engines. This decision was made after a lawsuit by a private company SpaceX, which is owned by businessman Elon Musk. Then it was that the Pentagon gave the order to the company to ULA for 36 rocket engine without a tender. However, the court’s decision did not concern existing prior to this agreement. The court’s decision has not found much support among the military.

Also two years ago in the U.S. Congress proposed to completely abandon Russian engines. But the fact that the creation of private power devices with similar specifications and price of the RD-180, it will take about five years to develop, test, certification. On the organization of licensed production in America, despite the presence of the United States the necessary documents, and also out of the question – would be lost time and money. Therefore, in June 2016, the U.S. Senate caved under pressure and agreed military purchases of Russian rocket engines RD-180.

“Moon” Antares

With the Antares rocket a slightly different story. They are developed by the private company Orbital Sciences, together with the Ukrainian KB “southern” and is designed to orbit loads weighing up to 5.5 tons. In fact, they already operated with the Russian engines. Firm Aerojet supplied they bought and licensed under its own brand AJ-26 Soviet NK-33 engines, developed in the late 1960-ies in the Kuibyshev scientific and technical center named Kuznetsova for missiles N-1 in the framework of the lunar program of the USSR. In fact, the engines of the Americans was given a second life by combining them with fuel, equip the electronics and improved traction properties.

However, after the fifth launch of Antares, during which there was an engine failure, Orbital Sciences decided to switch to RD-181 production of Energomash, which is an export modification of the RD-193, established for missiles of light class on the basis used for the new Russian missiles family “Angara” RD-191 engine.


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