WASHINGTON - SpaceX on Friday filed suit against the U.S. Air Force for awarding billions of dollars to a single company for national security launches, and said the contracts might even violate sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. military spends billions yearly with United Launch Alliance, a joint operation of aerospace giants Boeing (IW 500/14) and Lockheed Martin (IW 500/29), to launch government satellites.

The Atlas V and Delta IV rockets are powered by Russian engines, which has raised concern among some lawmakers that such reliance is dangerous in a time of escalating tensions over Ukraine.

"This is not right," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters, describing the policy of "uncompeted procurement" by the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

"SpaceX has decided to file suit and protest the Air Force EELV block buy," Musk said.

The process "essentially blocks companies like SpaceX from competing for national security launches," said Musk at a press conference.

The suit was filed in federal court, he added.

Musk said ULA rockets cost four times the amount of SpaceX's.

"To add insult to the wound, the primary engine is made in Russia," said Musk.

"The person who heads Russian space activities is [deputy prime minister] Dmitry Rogozin, who is on the sanctions list. So it seems pretty strange, like, you know, how is it that we are sending hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer money at a time when Russia is in the process of invading Ukraine?" Musk asked.