Pentagon Admits "No Solution" To Replace Russian Rockets To Launch US Military Satellites

Tyler Durden's picture


While the US is quick to demand the rest of the world turn its economic back on Russia - especially the Europeans, it appears they are discovering - just as Putin warned, the world is considerably more inter-dependent than they thought. Following Chuck Hagel's orders to review the Air Force reliance on Russian rocket engines used to launch US military satellites, Bloomberg reports the Pentagon admits it "has no great solution" to reduce its dependence on the Russian-made engine.


As Bloomberg reports,    

The Pentagon has no “great solution” to reduce its dependence on a Russian-made engine that powers the rocket used to launch U.S. military satellites, the Defense Department’s top weapons buyer said.


“We don’t have a great solution,” Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said yesterday after testifying before a Senate committee. “We haven’t made any decisions yet.”


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Air Force to review its reliance on the rocket engine after tensions over Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region prompted questions from lawmakers about that long-time supply connection.


United Launch Alliance LLC, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., uses the Russian-made RD-180 engine on Atlas V rockets.

As Putin warned - apparently correctly...

“The US is certainly one of the world’s leaders. At some point it seemed that it was the only leader and a uni-polar system was in place. Today it appears that is not the case. Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face,” he said.

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Thu, 05/01/2014 - 21:47 | 4718495 22winmag
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Thu, 05/01/2014 - 21:50 | 4718504 dryam
dryam's picture

What's the problem?  You just get one of those 50 year, $0 down, $1 billion cash back loans, and then hire the highest bidding contractor to build it from parts they buy from China.

The charade only goes on for as long as the rest of the world lets it go on.  Tick tock.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 21:51 | 4718508 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Does anyone here seriously believe man set foot on the moon way back in the 1960s?

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 21:53 | 4718515 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture

sure.......with russian rockets of course

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:01 | 4718549 dryam
dryam's picture

Yes, the U.S. went to the moon, no doubt.  That was when our economy was artificially boosted by the U.S. being the Saudi Arabia of that era, and that cheap oil pushed us into the economic lead.  We then behaved like spoiled brats.  Unfortunately, we have squandered every bit of that lead & now we are trying hang on to the very last bit of prosperity we once had.  The future of this country will be much different than the past.  

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:05 | 4718565 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Something about supply lines breaking.

Not my meme, but someone else on ZH is all over this.  I'm starting to agree with them.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:09 | 4718576 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Better get the head of NASA on a goodwill tour to the muslim world.... quick !

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:19 | 4718619 Four chan
Four chan's picture

its good there is no solution because if there was a way up

there obama would screw it up, this removes that chance.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:28 | 4718660 Poundsand
Poundsand's picture

Obama thought that the pawn was trapped when it got to the end of the board...  Pod...

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:36 | 4718686 666
666's picture

It never ceases to amaze me how American politicians can't look even a single minute into the future to understand how their actions will affect things. What a bunch of assholes.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:21 | 4718756 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

666:  "It never ceases to amaze me how American politicians can't look even a single minute into the future to understand how their actions will affect things. What a bunch of assholes."

Well, the politicians aren't really in charge. But just look at the US political & financial class.  Theyre lawyers. Other countries, China for example, have many engineers & science trained people in their leadership.

So you're basically matching lawyers & financial ponzi con artists against people who actually deal with physical reality. There are other essential strategic materials that are in low/no supply in the US. The lawyers probably think they can 'make a law' to remedy that. Good luck with that plan.

On the other hand, if they are actually trying to bring down America - they're doing a great job of that.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:29 | 4718792 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Yes we can!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 00:21 | 4718880 knukles
knukles's picture

Yes we have!
Fucked it up Royale.
The New Progressive Paradise Blossoms All Across America


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 00:39 | 4718905 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

You know things are fucked up when government cannot even administer capital punishment correctly. The one thing government excels at, and it even fucks that up, FFS. Are you shitting me?!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 01:27 | 4718961 Montgomery Burns
Montgomery Burns's picture

Its difficult to understand. I sedate pts for hospital procedures and I could easily kill any of them if I wanted to. It would be simple and they would never feel a thing. They would just drift off and not wake up. Done with drugs that are commonly available in every u.s. hospital.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 09:28 | 4719740 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Paging Dr. Kevorkian

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:44 | 4718825 666
666's picture

HA, you're absolutely correct when you say they're lawyers, and that is a huge part of the problem. For example, none of the commissioners on the FCC are engineers; they're political appointees/lawyers/politicians. And they determine how best to use the RF spectrum. As long as it goes to Verizon, ATT, et al., that is, and that they eventually get a job with said companies after leaving the FCC.

It makes me sick. And it makes me even sicker that the sheeple just sit there with their hands out waiting for their dole check to arrive. Oh, excuse me, I meant dole check to be direct deposited into their bank account.

I envy the fact that people in other countries are arising en masse to fight for their freedom from corrupt governments, while we Americans sit here with our thumbs up our asses wishing we could be like the Kardashians. I wish I was young and healthy so I could start the revolution here...

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 01:41 | 4718921 HardAssets
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Well, I'm guilty of bitching & moaning about the American people at times. But what might be different about us and some other places, is we haven't been driven to the same level of desperation & outrage yet.


They're working on that.


Check out this story release from last Nov on the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty (TPP)  Lawyers in action :



Fri, 05/02/2014 - 11:10 | 4720230 Mesquite
Mesquite's picture

actually trying to bring down America - they're doing a great job of that.

That's what I've been coming to believe must be the overall agenda..

Let's see...They've pissed off:





South America,

Most of the Middle East..

Burning bridges everwhere...


And I'm sure I've left out some...

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:07 | 4718757 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

People in government generally have a high time preference approach to the world.

Live like a King today because tomorrow you may suffer a color revolution.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:14 | 4718760 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

When things finally crack it'll be something like "Russia, in cahoots with Al Qaeda..."

Don't discount the real rulers and think they don't have a selection of scapegoats in their back pocket.  What we will not hear is "Man, did we fuck up..."

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 06:16 | 4719103 Thorlyx
Thorlyx's picture

Only problem is that Russia has nukes...

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 13:59 | 4721038 acommenter
acommenter's picture

Only that the rest of the world have already found that coincidentally Al Qaeda battles happen to align with US strategic interests.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:25 | 4718781 TammanyBrawl
TammanyBrawl's picture

Hey man, cut them some slack why don't you? Who could possibly have seen that actions have consequences?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 00:24 | 4718883 knukles
knukles's picture

Maxine Waters
She's all over that shit ....


Progressives Unite.
The Only World You Have is Yours to Loose!

and yer doin a bang up job of it, arseholes

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 00:57 | 4718910 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Careful...she might  be all about about basically..../Awkward.

How did these people even learn to breathe?

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:40 | 4718681 hobopants
hobopants's picture

It shouldn't have taken them this long to figure out sanctions against Russia wouldn't work in the first place. Next they will be passing sanctions against hurricanes and earthquakes, might as well go full retard at this point.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:14 | 4718594 Tao 4 the Show
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When the space shuttle program was being shut down, I asked some people who are connected to that world what was going on, as it made no sense at all to me. They mumbled something about launches being cheaper if handled by the private sector. Obviously, that did not work out.

So now, this mind-blowing question is left hanging in the air. What could possibly be behind such a decision?

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:38 | 4718687 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

It was the government forerunner to the current situation where the private sector won't invest in capex.  We don't give a flying (or orbiting) shit about the future.

Oh, and Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was our new Democratic friend.  We just HAD TO work with them because we were our new BFF.  Sure, we'll shut down NASA and turn it all over to you, buddy.  Besides, we never really gave a shit about exploring space and gaining new knowlege anyway, since we're already occupied building the foundation the the new Feudal State that the USA is about to become....

Hold on a sec, I gotta puke.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:52 | 4718834 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

The space x rockets seems to work pretty well, I've watched several go up, they just tend to be really sensitive to weather. That, or the company is more sensitive to possibly losing one, since they have shareholders to answer to. And they must have a few atlas engines left, as there are several launches scheduled, pretty sure some of them are atlas V. We have 3 launches from canaveral in the month of may, one of which I believe is an atlas. Pretty cool place to live, we put up over a dozen a year.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 10:03 | 4719896 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Pay attention the ATLAS V is powered by Russian Rocket Engines. Do you get it now? It's because we can't build engines as effecient and reliable as theirs. An absolutely hilarious factoid.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:46 | 4718707 bunnyswanson
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Dismantling America.  When the military is handed over to China as repayment, you can stick a fork in America and her allies.  America is being suicided.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:51 | 4718717 rbg81
rbg81's picture

Come on dude, get with the program.  We need that $$ to pay for unemployment, food stamps, Obama phones, disability, healthcare for illegals and scooters for fat asses.  The only army that COUNTS these daze is the Free Shit Army.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:00 | 4718738 bunnyswanson
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By design rbg81, by design.  1965's America looked ~nothing~ like this.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:11 | 4718761 Anusocracy
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And perpetual wars for the perpetual non-existence of terrorists.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 07:37 | 4719240 SofaPapa
SofaPapa's picture

Not to nitpick, because basically we are saying the same thing, but I would change that to perpetual wars for the permanent existence of terrorists.  By defining every person on the planet who disagrees with them as a terrorist, TPTB have ensured an endless supply.  Saying that everyone is a terrorist, however, is the same as saying no one is.

There is one difference: with each "anti-terrorist" action NSA/CIA/FBI/TSA/ATF etc. take, they are creating a new (and real) group of people who will legitimately be willing to lay down their life for revenge against this monstrosity that is attacking them.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:30 | 4718794 NickVegas
NickVegas's picture

Suicided is part of the big plan, and the minions continue their gruesome devestation of this country.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:55 | 4718841 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

I stuck a toothpick in it and I figure about 3 minutes more.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:47 | 4718818 deflator
deflator's picture

"When the space shuttle program was being shut down, I asked some people who are connected to that world what was going on, as it made no sense at all to me. They mumbled something about launches being cheaper if handled by the private sector. Obviously, that did not work out.

So now, this mind-blowing question is left hanging in the air. What could possibly be behind such a decision?"


 It's safer to have rockets built in a place not hampered with having to hire rocket scientists based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.


 There is only so many hyper-intelligent black female lesbian rocket scientists to go around.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:52 | 4718835 TheMeatTrapper
TheMeatTrapper's picture

"It's safer to have rockets built in a place not hampered with having to hire rocket scientists based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc."


That applies to a LOT of shit. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 00:32 | 4718895 knukles
knukles's picture

Oh shit!
I know one of them.

Except she's mute, deaf, dumb and a quadriplegic, too....
Will that still work?


One of my Hyper CA Government Progressive Mates a Rabid SF 49ers Fan always talks about Diversity, Equality, Social Justice and all that sorta stuff, which is not even necessary to be talked about in Libertarian circles, for it just happens, went Fuck Nuts when I told him that the 9ers ought-a give up their first draft choice for a gay left handed quadriplegic running back.
He said that was not fair as it would penalize the team.


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 02:38 | 4718998 BringOnTheAsteroid
BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

"There is only so many hyper-intelligent black female lesbian rocket scientists to go around'.

I've been searching for that niche on RedTube for years with no luck.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 01:00 | 4718928 mccvilb
mccvilb's picture

The USAF is now the US Space Command. We've had operational CRVs for fifteen years.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 10:35 | 4720032 patb
patb's picture

Try to understand the difference between DoD space launch and NASA space launch.

NASA used to use the shuttle to go to the ISS and now uses OSC-Antares, SpaceX-Dragon and Russian-Soyuz.


DoD uses  Atlas V with a russian Main Engine,  the Delta IV with an American main engine  and SpaceX is 

trying to break into the market with the Falcon 9.  


When NASA made the decision to shut down the Shuttle, they were investing into a new booster and spacecraft Constellation, OSC and SpaceX.  I suspect they will keep investing into SpaceX.  


DoD can choose to go to SpaceX and keep using the Delta.  


This is not a stranglehold by Russia for very long.

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 14:42 | 4755902 TMLutas
TMLutas's picture

ULA has a 2 year inventory of russian engines. The government has until 2016 before they are forced to shift out of their present behavior. I expect that the actual launch schedules won't even hiccup. 

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 23:42 | 4718817 Luckhasit
Luckhasit's picture

I said that in a recent conversation.  But my example was if the US navy lost a third of its fleet in a war could we replace it.. while at war. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 08:24 | 4719350 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Good luck doing that when the EMP goes off. Everything is interconnected. Expect an EMP prior to all out nuke exchanges. There would be zero way to rebuild combat losses without energy.

An old saying goes like "you go to war with the army you have. Not the army you want to have."

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 05:13 | 4719066 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Could the real problem be that all of our geniuses that would create cheaper, better rockets either program fucking algorithms for the thieves on Wall Street or design new "like" buttons for social media.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 10:25 | 4719976 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Malinvestment ain't just for finances and mfg.s!

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 22:15 | 4718604 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

It's not good to have all of civilization dependent on something that comes out of the ground, and once it's out of the ground, the goal is how fast one can burn it up and need more.

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