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Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche

Reconnaissance and attack helicopter

 RAH-66 Comanche reconnaissance and attack helicopter was cancelled

Program of the RAH-66 Comanche reconnaissance and attack helicopter was cancelled

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service -
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 14.28 m
Main rotor diameter 11.9 m
Height 3.37 m
Weight (empty) 4.06 t
Weight (maximum take off) 7.9 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x LHTEC T800-LHT-801 turboshaft engines
Engine power 2 x 1 432 shp
Maximum speed 319 km/h
Service ceiling ~ 6 km
Range 2 334 km (with drop tanks)
Armament
Cannon 1 x 20-mm three-barrel cannon in undernose turret
Missiles up to 3 x Hellfire ATGMs or 6 x Stinger AAMs in two weapon bays or 8 x Hellfires / 16 x Stingers on optional stub wings
Other Hydra-70 unoperated rocket pods in place of the missiles

 

   The US Army's ambitious LHX (Light Helicopter Experimental) program called for a new armed reconnaissance/scout helicopter to replace the service's force of 3 000 AH-1s, OH-6s and OH-58s. A request for proposals was issued in June 1988, and 23-month demonstration and validation contracts were placed with two industrial teamings: the 'Super Team' (Bell and McDonnell Douglas) and the 'First Team' (Boeing and Sikorsky). In April 1991 the designation and name RAH-66 Comanche were selected and the First Team was announced as winner. The Comanche is designed for minimum observability and is based on a stealthy airframe built largely of composite materials. Its advanced avionics are designed for maximum commonality with the F-22 Raptor, and include dual triplex fly-by-wire control systems with sidestick cyclic pitch controllers, a 'glass' cockpit with two large liquid-crystal displays in each cockpit, advanced crew helmet displays and sights, a comprehensive self-protection suite, and provision for Longbow radar.

   Development of the RAH-66 Comanche has been slowed by technical considerations as well as political antipathy and budgetary delays. The definitive program emerged in 1995, and called for two YRAH-66 flying prototypes (the first flying on 4 January 1996) plus six 'early operational capability' helicopters with reconnaissance equipment but no armament for trials from 2001. In 1998 the planned total was 1 292 helicopters with the possibility of 389 to be added later, however the whole programme was canceled in 2004.

   The US Department of Defense promised to use technology of the cancelled Comanche for future projects. However an official program for a stealthy transport helicopter was never publicized. In 2011 a top secret US helicopter emerged, that is commonly referred as a Stealthy Blackhawk. It was observed during the a in Pakistan, that took down Osama Bin Laden. At least two helicopters were used during that raid and carried US Navy SEALs. During the operation one of these helicopters was damaged, became inoperable and made a hard landing. After the operation the SEALs blew it up with explosives. However tail section of the stealthy helicopter survived. There were absolutely no official comments regarding this helicopter. However it is possible that it uses technology of the cancelled Comanche.

 

Video of the RAH-66 Comanche reconnaissance and attack helicopter

 
RAH-66 Comanche

RAH-66 Comanche

RAH-66 Comanche

RAH-66 Comanche

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