The Russian government's reported desire to stop exports of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States for their being fitted on its Atlas space launch rockets may cause the closure of their manufacturer Energomash, the company's executive director has warned.
Earlier, Russian daily Izvestiya said Russia's Security Council was mulling a proposal for the discontinuation of exports of RD-180 engines to the United States.
"My own point of view is that it doesn't make sense to stop exports. This may cause a sharp fall in the business of the enterprise, the decline may amount to about 60 percent. In that case the enterprise might as well be closed down because we modernize our production and cover other expenditures with these resources," Vladimir Solntsev said.
It is under the authority of the Security Council Defense Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Cabinet to decide whether to terminate or continue RD-180 exports, he said. "Ultimately it's up to them to decide. We will go along with whatever they decide, but so far there has been no decision," Solntsev said.
Russia is to supply the United States with 101 RD-180 engines before 2020 under a 1996 presidential decree. By now only 72 engines have gone to America, and "so we have commitments that must be fulfilled," Solntsev said.
Four engines are to be handed over to the customer before the end of 2013. "All four engines have passed development tests and we will be shipping them in November," Solntsev said.
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