U.S. Acquisition of Soviet Rocket Technology A Presentation of the Arguments Surrounding the RD-170 931014
For the last several years, the Soviet Union, now the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), has offered the RD-170 rocket engine for sale to the West. The RD-170 is the most powerful and most technologically advanced rocket engine in production in the world. However, the U.S. presently has no policy regarding the acquisition of Soviet rocket technology such as the RD-170. In order to develop an effective policy, the U.S. must first determine if an application for RD-170 class engines exists, and then weigh the advantages of acquisition such as reliable and cost effective heavy lift capability versus the disadvantages such as exporting U.S. jobs. There are several possible methods of acquisition, although joint U.S.-CIS production of the RD-170 is the most politically viable as it would create U.S. jobs and support economic reforms in the CIS at the same time.