- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2016

Even as the U.S. military pushes to end the country’s reliance of Russian-built rocket engines to get its satellites into space, the Moscow-based manufacturer says it is still hopeful to hold onto its American clients.

NPO Energomash, the Moscow-based maker of the RD-180 engines, told the news website Russia Behind the Headlines it hopes to sell at least 20 more engines to U.S. buyers in the next three years, in accordance with a deal signed in late 2015 with Amross, a Florida-based joint venture.

NPO Energomash General Director Igor Arbuzov said moves by the Pentagon to try to find a domestic alternative would serve as an incentive to up its game.

“Our company sees the U.S. investment as an incentive to improve our product’s quality, cut expenses and develop the best commercial proposal,” he told the Russian website.

Despite frequent complaints from Congress, the U.S. government continues to rely on the RD-180 engines as the sole means to power the American-designed Atlas III and Atlas V expendable launch systems. A 2015 defense authorization law cleared the way for major Pentagon contracts to California-based Aerojet Rocketdyne and Colorado-based United Launch Alliance to speed the production of a U.S.-built rocket engine.

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