United Launch Alliance tweeted that it received the first BE-4 rocket engine from Blue Origin to replace the Russian RD-180.
The unit is not serial, it will be used for testing with the carrier, a Blue Origin spokesperson told Space News.
The company plans to deliver a second BE-4 before the end of July.
Atlas family missiles are equipped with Russian RD-180 engines. They are replaced by a Vulcan carrier, it is assumed that the BE-4 power plant will work in the first stage.
According to analysts, Atlas is used for “mission-critical space launches carried out in the interests of US national security.”
National Interest magazine wrote that the law obliges the U.S. Air Force to abandon the use of the RD-180, however, according to the publication’s forecasts, this will not happen until at least 2024.
Congress also recognized that it is impossible to replace Russian engines with American ones in the coming years.
The first RD-180 was delivered to the United States in 1999. In total, according to the manufacturer – NPO Energomash, 116 engines were sent overseas.