RAH-66 Comanche

RAH-66 Comanche light helicopter on the sandThe Comanche was a twin-turbine, two-seat (tandem) armed reconnaissance helicopter with projected missions of armed reconnaissance, light attack and air combat.

Boeing Defense & Space Group, Helicopters Division, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, 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, TRW Military Electronics and Avionics Systems Group, and Williams International. Allison Engine Company and AlliedSignal Engine Company co-developed the engines for the Comanche.

Designed to replace the Army's current Vietnam-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/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.

First deliveries were scheduled for 2006, with the Comanche program reaching full production by about 2010. Plans were to manufacture 1,213 RAH-66s for U.S. Army service. The Army cancelled the program in February 2004 as a part of a reorganization of Army Aviation.

First flight: Jan. 4, 1996
Classification: Armed reconnaissance helicopter
Length: 42 feet 10 inches
Weight: 10,597 pounds
Dash speed: 201 mph
Cruising speed: 190 mph
Maximum range: 1,449 miles
Power: Two 1,432-shaft-horsepower T800-LHTEC-801 turboshaft engines
Rotor system: Five-bladed bearingless main rotor and FANTAIL anti-torque system
Armament: Stowable three-barrel 20 mm Gatling gun
Accommodation: 2 crew