Senate passes RD-180 amendment, NDAA

AIA welcomes the news that the Senate has passed Sen. Nelson’s (D-Fla.) amendment to the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, permitting the purchase of 18 additional RD-180 engines for use in Atlas V launch vehicles for national security satellites. The amendment permits any certified launch provider to compete for national security launches. AIA advocated for this position in a letter to the Senate Armed Services committee leadership earlier this month.

The Atlas V system has a unique set of cost and capability parameters. No other American-made product can match its full range of capabilities for the cost at this time. This measure preserves competition in the national security launch arena and provides industry – particularly the many American suppliers that help build the Atlas V – with critical breathing space as we develop and build an American-made alternative capability to the RD-180 powered Atlas V.

We welcome the spirit of compromise which led to the FY2017 NDAA passing the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, 85-13. It will now go to conference with the version that the House passed last month.