RAH-66 Comanche Light Attack Helicopter

RAH-66 Comanche Light Attack Helicopter
The RAH-66 Comanche was an advanced twin engine, two seat (tandem) light attack/armed reconnaissance helicopter developed for the U. S. Army by a joint venture comprising Boeing Helicopters and Sikorsky Aircraft. The Comanche has a five-bladed bearingless main rotor, a shrouded tail rotor, an occasional radar cross section composite fuselage with retractable weapons pylon, a fly-by-wire flight control system, and a completely integrated cockpit.

The mission equipment package incorporates forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and image intensified television sensors for night pilotage and target acquisition. The Comanche can initially be armed with the semi-active laser Hellfire missile, the air-to-air Stinger missile, 2.75 inch aerial rockets, and a turreted 20 mm gun.

The Comanche was meant to switch 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 Army's April 2000 Aviation Force Modernization set up suggested acquisition of 1,213 Comanche aircraft, valued at nearly $34 billion. the first US Army Comanche unit are going to b operationally equipped in 2006.

Aviation battalions will be reorganized as a part of the Army's 2000 Aviation Force Modernization plan. AH-1 Cobras were divested by October 2001, and A and C model OH-58 Kiowas are going to be retired by 2004. The Cobras and Kiowas will be replaced by AH-64D Apaches and eventually by RAH-66 Comanches, the new reconnaissance and attack helicopter scheduled to start joining the army in 2008.