Author Topic: Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche (Cancelled)  (Read 2227 times)

Ayoshi

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Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche (Cancelled)
« on: August 18, 2017, 02:47:00 PM »
From: Miltary Today
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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.

Videos

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0R1ISQAmqk
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 05:03:52 AM by Ayoshi »

Ayoshi

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RAH-66 Comanche
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2019, 08:59:05 AM »
https://www.boeing.com/history/products/rah-66-comanche.page

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Boeing and the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. teamed to develop and build the RAH-66 Comanche armed reconnaissance helicopter in 1991. Other team members included Hamilton Standard, Harris Corp., Hughes Link Training Division, Kaiser Electronics, Lear Astronics, Litton, Lockheed Martin, Moog, Sundstrand Corp., TRW Military Electronics and Avionics Systems Group, and Williams International. Allison Engine Co. and AlliedSignal Engine Co. co-developed the engines for the Comanche.

Designed to replace the Army’s then current Vietnam War-vintage scout and light attack helicopter fleet, the Comanche featured an all-composite fuselage, fully integrated digital flight controls, and advanced navigation and weapons systems. It was designed to provide U.S. forces with accurate, timely tactical intelligence.

The Comanche program validated a number of aircraft systems and components and built and flew two flight-test prototype aircraft in its demonstration, validation and prototype phase from contract award in 1991 through 2000. The engineering and manufacturing development phase began in mid-2000. During that time, the program was slated to build and deliver 13 new Comanches for additional flight tests and U.S. Army operational test, evaluation and training.

< snipped >

The two protoypes are now in the collection of the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Ala.

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https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/rah-66.htm

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RAH-66 Comanche

The Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche is the Army's next generation armed reconnaissance helicopter. It also is the first helicopter developed specifically for this role. The Comanche will provide Army Aviation the opportunity to move into the 21st century with a weapon system of unsurpassed warfighting capabilities crucial to the Army's future strategic vision. The Comanche is intended to replace the current fleet of AH-1 and OH-58 helicopters in all air cavalry troops and light division attack helicopter battalions, and supplement the AH-64 Apache in heavy division/corps attack helicopter battalions.

The first Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche prototype was rolled-out at Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Connecticut, May 25, 1995. The prototype's first flight was made on 04 January 1996. The second prototype is scheduled to fly in late March 1999. Six early operational capability aircraft are scheduled to be delivered 2002 to participate in an Army field exercise in 2002-2003, or possibly later in "Corps 04". The Comanche is powered by two Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Co. (LHTEC) T800-801 engines. These advanced engines and a streamlined airframe will be enable the Comanche to fly significantly faster than the larger AH-64 Apache.

The RAH-66 Comanche helicopter's primary role will be to seek out enemy forces and designate targets for the AH-64 Apache Attack helicopter at night, in adverse weather, and in battlefield obscurants, using advanced infrared sensors. The helmet has FLIR images and overlaid symbology that can be used as a headup display in nape-of-the-earth (NOE) flight.

The aircraft has been designed to emit a low-radar signature (stealth features). The Comanche will perform the attack mission itself for the Army's light divisions. The RAH-66 will be used as a scout and attack helicopter to include an air-to-ground and air-to-air combat capability. The Comanche is slated to replace the AH-1 Series Cobra light attack helicopter, the OH-6A Cayuse, and the OH-58A/OH-58C Kiowa light observation helicopters.

The Comanche mission equipment package consists of a turret-mounted cannon, night-vision pilotage system, helmet-mounted display, electro-optical target acquisition and designation system, aided target recognition, and integrated communication/navigation/identification avionics system. Targeting includes a second generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, a low-light-level television, a laser range finder and designator, and the Apache Longbow millimeter wave radar system. Digital sensors, computers and software will enable the aircraft to track and recognize advesarys long before they are aware of the Comanche's presence, a key advantage in both the reconnaissance and attack roles.

Ayoshi

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Re: RAH-66 Comanche
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2019, 09:00:13 AM »

-


Photos taken from fas.org


Ayoshi

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Re: RAH-66 Comanche
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2019, 09:02:10 AM »
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Real Lessons From an Unreal Helicopter
May 25, 2012

Planning for the Comanche began in 1982, when Ronald Reagan was president, the Cold War was getting hot, the Soviet Union was fighting a war in Afghanistan against the US-supported mujahedeen, and the only man who could steal the USSR’s top-secret, Mach-6, thought-controlled MiG-31 Firefox was Clint Eastwood.

Good times, good times.

In 1988, after a mere six years of planning, the Army issued a Request For Proposal, inviting industry to join in the fun. It only took three more years to award the contract to a combined Boeing-Sikorsky team. By 1991, the program was off and running…ish.

Yes, these Comanches were going to be more awesome than poppin’ and lockin’ in day-glo legwarmers. The Soviets would never see them coming. Of course, the Soviets never got a chance to see Comanche coming because the USSR collapsed right around the time the contract was awarded. There simply were no Soviets left to even look for the thing and we hadn’t even started building them yet.

The other reason the Soviets never saw it coming is because none were ever built – not counting two early prototypes. Even if there had been any Soviets around, there wasn’t anything to see, and not because the thing was so stealthy. Looks like Comanche was less awesome and more bogus than predicted.

Work continued for a couple more years, and the end came in 2004. After spending 22 years and $6.9 billion, the Army cancelled the Comanche program, having received precisely zero helos. Reasons for the cancellation abounded.

For starters, it was not clear the engines (had they been built) would be powerful enough to get a fully loaded, 10,000+ lb Comanche off the ground (had it been built). I’m no helicopter expert, but I can say with reasonable certainty that getting off the ground is an important capability. Unless of course staying on the ground was part of Comanche’s stealth strategy. The world will never know.

http://nation.time.com/2012/05/25/real-lessons-from-an-unreal-helicopter/


Ayoshi

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Re: RAH-66 Comanche
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 09:03:39 AM »
Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche stealth attack helicopter - Sikorsky old promotional video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNB5HLn_EK8

RAH-66 Comanche Helicopter & UAVS (documentary)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsVxlvtvMxk