The Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche is
the world's most advanced helicopter and the cornerstone of the U.S.
Army's Force XXI aviation modernization plan. The Comanche makes use of the
latest advancements in aerospace technology, including stealth which has
until now been confined to airplanes.
The sophisticated design of the Comanche helicopter
allows it to dash to a speed of 175 knots, then cruise at a steady 165. The
futuristic propulsion and navigation design also allows the helicopter to
execute snap turns in 4.5 seconds and fly sideways or backwards at an incredible
70 mph! With a tremendous power output of 1,432 horsepower from each of it's
turboshafts, the Comanche climbs at a rate of 1,418 feet per minute.
The Comanche can go to war with up to 14 "Fire
and Forget" Hellfire anti-tank missiles, which, once fired, are programmed
to control their own flight to their targets. The helicopter can also deploy
up to 56 rockets (70mm), or 28 Stinger air-to-air missiles, to attack fixed
and rotary-wing targets.
Alternatively, it can carry two 430-gallon ferry
tanks to self-deploy over 1,260 nm, or crashworthy 230-gallon tanks for more
than four hours of combat endurance.
Adding to its already immense firepower, the Comanche
also stows a three-barreled, 20 mm turreted nose mini-gun that can shoot
1500 rounds per minute.
To maintain its low "stealth" profile, the Comanche
features a fully retractable missile armament system, enabling it to hide
missiles and rockets in I-RAMS (Integrated Retractable Munitions Systems)
Designed using computer databases, Comanche redefines
the helicopter in terms of power, maneuverability, technological sophistication,
and materials engineering. Twin LHTEC-800-LHT-801 turboshaft engines drive
an advanced five-blade, bearingless main rotor which further enhances high
performance and agility in air-to-air combat. Its FANTAIL anti-torque tail
rotor system lets Comanche execute amazing maneuvers near impossible for
Comanche also features reconfigurable, fault-tolerant
digital missions electronics and on-board diagnostics, Longbow fire-control
radar, triple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control and simple, remove-and-replace
maintenance. A wide-field-of-view, helmet-mounted display provides flight
information, night vision sensors and a sight system for use with weapons.
The Helmet Integrated Display and Sight System
(HIDSS) is a biocular helmet-mounted display for flight information and night
vision sensors and a sight system for use with weapons. Each crewmember has
a helmet providing acoustic and impact protection and a magnetic helmet tracker
on a removable frame. The HIDSS can combine flight symbology with sensor
images to allow aggressive flight maneuvering at night.
In addition, the RAH-66's Hands On Grips controls
literally let pilots fly and perform mission tasks with one hand - a first-ever
achievement in a helicopter.
The Comanche also breaks new ground in the use
of high technology composites to satisfy both Low Observable Technology requirements
and aggressive weight and cost specifications.
Stealth Warrior in the Digital Battlefield
Its on-board computing capability enables Comanche
to acquire, process, analyze and disseminate an amount of information unsurpassed
by today's helicopters. Comanche's low radar signature, high technology composites,
special acoustics design, and a buried exhaust system, make it less observable
than today's premier attack and armed reconnaissance helicopters. Add to
this new generation of passive long-range, high-resolution battlefield sensors,
digital interconnectivity, to share data with other members of the combined
arms team, produces a completely integrated targeting, and communications
weapon system, facilitating the delivery of quick, coordinated responses
to tactical situations with minimal work for the pilot.