The Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche is an American stealth armed reconnaissance
and attack helicopter designed for the United States Army.

Boeing RAH-66 Comanche "1995"

RoleReconnaissance and attack helicopter
National originUnited States
ManufacturerBoeing Helicopters/Sikorsky Aircraft
First flight4 January 1996
StatusCanceled
Primary userUnited States Army
Number built2

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Boeing RAH-66 Comanche
"1995"

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Boeing RAH-66 Comanche"1995"

The Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche is an American stealth armed reconnaissance and attack helicopter designed for the United States Army. Following decades of development, during 2004, the RAH-66 program was canceled prior to mass production commencing, by which point nearly US$7 billion had been already spent on the program.

During the early 1980s, the U.S. Army started to formulate requirements for the replacement of its helicopters then in service, which resulted in the launch of the Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX) program. Nearly a decade later, following the refinement of requirements, evaluation of submissions, and the rebranding of the program as the Light Helicopter (LH) program, during April 1991, the Army announced the selection of the BoeingSikorsky team’s design as the contest winner, shortly after which a contract for construction of prototypes was awarded. 

Design

The Comanche was intended to be an advanced armed reconnaissance and attack helicopter. The Comanche was specifically tailored to the role of armed scout to replace the U.S. Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, which is an upgraded version of a Vietnam War-era observation helicopter. It was both smaller and lighter than the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter that it had been intended to accompany.[29] The RAH-66 was powered by a pair of LHTEC T800 turboshaft engines, each capable of generating up to 1,563 hp (1,165 kW) of power. The RAH-66’s fuselage was 43 feet (13 m) long and composed of composite materials; it was designed to be capable of fitting more readily onto transport ships, enabling the Comanche to be more rapidly deployed to flash points and other rapidly-developing situations.[30] However, in the event of strategic transport assets not being available, the helicopter’s ferry range of 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) would have allowed it to fly itself to battlefields overseas on its own.

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Boeing RAH-64 Comanche (1995)

During 1982, the U.S. Army initiated the Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX) program with the aim of producing a replacement for several existing rotorcraft, including the UH-1, AH-1, OH-6, and OH-58 helicopters. It was a further six years until, in 1988, a formal request for proposal (RFP) was issued to various manufacturers, in time which the requirement had evolved into a battlefield reconnaissance helicopter. In October 1988, the Army announced two teams, these being Boeing–Sikorsky and Bell–McDonnell Douglas, received contracts to further develop their concepts. During the 1990s, the program’s name was changed from LHX to simply Light Helicopter (LH). In April 1991, the Army awarded the Boeing–Sikorsky team a $2.8 billion contract to complete six prototypes

Specifications

Crew: 2

Length: 46 ft 10.25 in (14.2812 m)

Width: 6 ft 8.25 in (2.0384 m) maximum fuselage width

Height: 11 ft 0.75 in (3.3719 m)

Empty weight: 9,300 lb (4,218 kg)

Gross weight: 12,349 lb (5,601 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 17,408 lb (7,896 kg) maximum fuel 

Powerplant: 2 × LHTEC T800-LHT-801 turboshaft engines, 1,563 shp 

Maximum speed: 175 kn (201 mph, 324 km/h) without mast radar
Cruise speed: 165 kn (190 mph, 306 km/h) without mast radar
149 kn (171 mph; 276 km/h) with mast radar
Range: 262 nmi (302 mi, 485 km)
Combat range: 150 nmi (170 mi, 280 km) internal fuel
Ferry range: 1,200 nmi (1,400 mi, 2,200 km)
Endurance: 2 hours 30 minutes on internal fuel
Service ceiling: 14,980 ft (4,570 m)
g limits: +3.5 -1

 

Turreted Gun System with a 20 mm XM301 three-barrel rotary cannon (capacity: 500 rounds)

Internal bays: 6× AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, or 12× AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, or 24× 2.75 in (70 mm) Hydra 70 air-to-ground rockets

Optional stub wings: 8× Hellfires, 16× Stingers, or 56× Hydra 70 rockets

 

Aircrafttoaal encyclopedia

During 2002, the Comanche program underwent heavy restructuring; consequently, the planned number of Comanches to be purchased was decreased to 650 rotorcraft. At the time, the projected total cost for the full production of the Comanche in such numbers stood at $26.9 billion.[12] Originally, the EMD phase was to last for six years with five Comanches to be constructed for the testing regime.