Publicly, the venerable US rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne maintains that it is committed to finishing development of its powerful new AR1 engine by 2019.
By meeting this deadline, company officials say, they will provide an all-American engine in time for use by United Launch Alliance's next-generation rocket.
However, a review of recent financial US Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Aerojet reveals that, even as it says progress is being made toward completing the AR1 rocket engine, the company is spending substantially less money developing it.
Funding levels, which include money from the US Air Force, Aerojet, and United Launch Alliance, rose during the second half of 2016 and peaked in the first quarter of 2017, when the company invested $36.6 million.
However, during the last two quarters of 2017, funding plummeted.
In response to a question about these falling expenditures, Aerojet offered the following statement from the company's Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Steve Warren.