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RAH-66 Commanche-Why Can't It Replace The Apache?  
User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I'm still not certain that the US Army's decision to cancel the RAH-66 Commanche helicopter program was wise, as the ARH it later selected has already nearly doubled in unit cost - but my question is why didn't it and why can it not still replace the AH-64 Apache? It seemed to me that the aircraft was when outfitted for attack roles, evey bit as capable of replacing the AH-64 and even still today would be a great platform in which to do so.



So tell me why the RAH-66 couldn't replace the AH-64 and better yet, tell me why it still cannot be fielded - it would be ideal for the USMC on the LHD's I think.

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEchster From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 399 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

It can't replace the Apache because it is still a very capable aircraft that was paid for. Boeing remanufactured 501 Apaches to Block II. They are now working on 18 new build Block II D models. The work will soon begin on Block III Apaches that will incorporate gear developed for Comanche.

At the time of cancellation, the Army spent over $8 billion for 2 prototypes. The primary use of the Comanche was for armed recon. However, UAVs were ramping up and beginning to show promise. They became more cost effective than a manned platform.

The Army was also suffering from a worn-out aviation fleet. The money they would have spent for a small number, limited role Comanche is being better spent on UH-60Ms, a return of UH-60s from TDA units and the Guard to MTOE units with the introduction of the Lakota, rebuilt and new build Chinooks with a common glass cockpit, and, eventually, a Sherpa replacement.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7041 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

My take is money and poor project management, both Pentagon and Contractor, take a look at the B1, B2 F-18, F-22, Osprey, M1Tank, M2 Bradley, Sgt. York, etc etc etc.
The "military industrial complex" get a military requirement, cost it for X amount of dollars then it explodes from there. They blame the additional military requirements for the increase in cost, the military blame them for adding on waste and the blame game goes on from there.
All of that negates the facts on the ground, the Commanche is a better a/c that the ARH, however, it now cost too much, has so much more capability built into it that it is in some respects a different a/c from what was originally proposed.
Same thinking can be applied to the Osprey, if it was strictly a Army or Air Force project it would have been cancelled by now, look also at the F-22. I'm still surprized by the Stryker being fielded so soon, even though I agree with the way it was done, I think at times the military needs to get its base product fielded then look at battle field upgrades, trying to get all the "fancy stuff" added on while in production delays the project for years costing mucho dollars. If a major war was on, I'm certain the American 'Can Do' spirit would have produced required platforms in short order, unfortunately, I don't think the Iraq and Afghan conflict are regarded as such, and yes I am of the opinion that the 'can do' spirit still does exist.


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting AirRyan (Thread starter):
I'm still not certain that the US Army's decision to cancel the RAH-66 Commanche helicopter program was wise, as the ARH it later selected has already nearly doubled in unit cost - but my question is why didn't it and why can it not still replace the AH-64 Apache?

It was the best decision the Army could have ever made. We were looking to replace the OH-58D - and as the RAH-66 was developed, and its cost continued to climb, there was a demand for greater capability... so the design kept going back to the drawing board to meet the additional requirements.

And all this time, we were moving away from the very type of war that the aircraft was designed for... a massive land battle on the European continent. The Army was going to be spending billions of dollars on about 180 airframes. At the same time, our CH-47 Chinooks were old and needing major rehaul. Our UH-60 Black Hawks were 20yrs old and lacked modern technology. Our C-23 Sherpas were 30yrs old and showing signs of structural fatigue. Our guard units were still flying UH-1s for stateside VIP/search & rescue/RAID missions, and the airframes were old. Our AH-64D Longbows were no longer the most capable Longbow available (Netherlands for example had Block II).

So what did we do? We canceled the Comanche and transferred that money into fixing all the problems I listed above.

For the CH-47 community, they are getting the new F model. For the UH-60 community, we are getting the new M model. For the AH-64 community, they have the Block II upgrade and will get the Block III upgrade around 2008. For th C-23 community, they will get which ever airframe wins the JCS run-off. For the OH-58D community they will get the RAH-70 (although the cost spiraled, so the Army put a stop-work order on the project. Two weeks later, Bell promised to continue work and assume any additional cost incurred. Thus keeping the Army from paying for the spiraling cost.) And the UH-1s are now being replaced by the UH-72 Lakota.

...So ask yourself, would you rather have all of that, or about 180 RAH-66s?

Quoting AirRyan (Thread starter):
It seemed to me that the aircraft was when outfitted for attack roles, evey bit as capable of replacing the AH-64 and even still today would be a great platform in which to do so.

Really?

Just look at our current lessons... we don't need the Comanche. We're not going to fight the Soviets in Europe. What we're seeing is that for the CAS mission, we need a rugged and well armed aircraft on scene... and that is certainly not the Comanche. How stupid would it be to lose a very expensive Comanche, to a $100 RPG?

Quoting AirRyan (Thread starter):
So tell me why the RAH-66 couldn't replace the AH-64 and better yet, tell me why it still cannot be fielded - it would be ideal for the USMC on the LHD's I think.

Like I already said - way to expensive and no longer a need for it.

Quoting Echster (Reply 1):
The Army was also suffering from a worn-out aviation fleet. The money they would have spent for a small number, limited role Comanche is being better spent on UH-60Ms, a return of UH-60s from TDA units and the Guard to MTOE units with the introduction of the Lakota, rebuilt and new build Chinooks with a common glass cockpit, and, eventually, a Sherpa replacement.

Exactly.

-UH60


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 3):
Like I already said - way to expensive and no longer a need for it.

That may be true, but by repeatedly cancelling modernization programs... new airframe designs, new powerplant technology, new, modern materials, etc.... the Army is essentially mortgaging the future to pay for the present. If it isn't careful to find a balance, the Army may frind itself in a war with its slightly improved 1970s technology hopelessly outclassed by 21st century technology coming out of Asia or Europe.


User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30522 posts, RR: 84
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Quoting Thorny (Reply 4):
That may be true, but by repeatedly cancelling modernization programs... new airframe designs, new powerplant technology, new, modern materials, etc.... the Army is essentially mortgaging the future to pay for the present.

But they are not. Look at all the enhancements to existing platforms UH60FtRucker noted in the reply directly above yours.

Also, the only large scale engagement the US could find itself in over the next few decades would be against China, and the Army isn't going to be doing much in that one unless we're coming in from Russia or a unified Korea - it will be all USAF and USN.  Wink


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Thorny (Reply 4):
That may be true, but by repeatedly cancelling modernization programs... new airframe designs, new powerplant technology, new, modern materials, etc.... the Army is essentially mortgaging the future to pay for the present. If it isn't careful to find a balance, the Army may frind itself in a war with its slightly improved 1970s technology hopelessly outclassed by 21st century technology coming out of Asia or Europe.

How can you say that?

Just look what rose from the ashes of the RAH-66. Totally new cockpit suites for both the UH-60 and CH-47.

Current cockpit of UH-60L (what I fly):
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/UH-60ABlackhawk3.jpg

New cockpit of UH-60M:
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/UH-60MBlackhawk2.jpg
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/UH-60MBlackhawkRH.jpg

Current cockpit of CH-47D:
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/CH-47DChinook22.jpg

New cockpit of CH-47F:


In the UH-60M we are not only getting a new cockpit (with MFDs, we can communicate via the new IDM, stormscope, cockpit air bags (CAB) etc...) We're getting improved safety features for the crew (sorry classified). We're getting new rotor blades to improve efficiency, lift capability, and sound footprint. We're replacing the SAS/FPS system with a new DUAP/AFCC. We're replacing the exhaust system with a new HIRSS. Fold-able stabilator (finally!). New and improved troop seats for easier installation and safety during flight. And a new 701L engine. And a lot of other cool stuff.

In the CH-47s, they are getting a lot of the same new upgrades. They are getting new engines that each one will provide over 1,000 additional horsepower, compared to the current D model engines! They'll also be getting improved anti-missile systems to help protect them on the battlefield. They'll be getting an improved extended fuel supply system. Exciting stuff.

---------------------------------------

The guard is replacing the UH-1s and old OH-58A/Cs with the new UH-72 Lakota, which is built on the Eurocopter EC-145 frame.

UH-72 Lakota:


UH-72 Lakota's cockpit:


The Army will be purchasing just under 400 airframes. It offers better economics, better safety. Better reliability. It has the aft clamshell doors to allow quick loading/unloading for med-evac missions. The avionics are amazing, and it will be the most automated helicopter the Army has fielded.

---------------------------------------

The replacement for the old C-23s will either be the L3 C-27J Spartan, or CASA's C-295.

C-23 Sherpa:


C-295:
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/AIR_C-295_lg.jpg

C-27J:


---------------------------------------

The OH-58D will be replaced by the ARH-70 Arapaho. Although it was originally envisioned that the Comanche would replace the aging Kiowa Warriors, the Army's experience in Iraq, found that we're don't need a stand-off helicopter, with stealth and limited numbers.

What we needed was a small, nimble aircraft that could remain on station, and actively develop the battle situation while providing a light close air support ability. The aircraft needed to be cheap. The aircraft needed to have low maintenance costs and be able to be patched up and returned to battle as quickly as possible. It also needed to have sufficient numbers - ~180 Comanches was totally unacceptable.

OH-58D:
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/OH-58D.jpg

ARH-70:


----------------------------------------

Amd we're currently upgrading all Longbows to Block II, and will begin upgrades to Block III in 2008 and fielding by 2011. The Block III upgrades will be a major advancement in the -64's capabilities.

They will be replacing the rotor system. Improved engines. Improved sensor range and reduced vulnerability to interference. They will get improved cockpit safety and improved ballistic resistance. Higher cruise speed. Better payload and performance. Etc...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g52/UH60PilotIraq/Random/BlockII.jpg

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I really don't understand why people still think that the Army made a mistake when they canceled the Comanche. Look at everything we gained. Look at what we are able to accomplish by taking that money, and spreading it across the board in Army Aviation.

We're still pushing the boundary. We're still working towards improved abilities and technologies... and we're doing it across the board now. We're focusing on everyone, not just one segment of the aviation component. It's smart.

-UH60


User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 3):
It was the best decision the Army could have ever made.

No, the even better decision would have been to never had spent the money on the RAH-66 program.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 3):
We're not going to fight the Soviets in Europe.

Well, maybe not Russia but there's still China. Besides, how can one diminish the importance of a stealthy and more important quick and agile attack helicopter after they have already tried to use it to diminsh the role of the MBT, a platform's who's role will never be nullfied so long as there are infantryman.

Quoting Echster (Reply 1):
It can't replace the Apache because it is still a very capable aircraft that was paid for. Boeing remanufactured 501 Apaches to Block II. They are now working on 18 new build Block II D models. The work will soon begin on Block III Apaches that will incorporate gear developed for Comanche.

That's my question - rather than cancel the entire $8B program why couldn't it been simply bought in numbers to replace the Apache - can it not carry as much as the Apache or go as far? From the stats I read, and the RAH-66 was a flying machine, not just on paper - but it is a far more survivable and capable attack platform than the Apache is so why not at least use it to replace the Apache? It seems that too often a recent trend is to spend multiple billions on programs who's total cost of replacing every unit in that platform group is a fraction of the initial R&D, (RAH-66, V-22, B-1, B-2, etc.)



Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 3):
So what did we do? We canceled the Comanche and transferred that money into fixing all the problems I listed above.

Sounds like piss-poor foressight and bad overall project management - somebody should be losing their rank and/or jobs over such frivolous uses of taxpayer money and from a veteran's perspective, I want Congress to hold those Generals responsible for such ill-management responsible for the indecisions, too.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
Also, the only large scale engagement the US could find itself in over the next few decades would be against China, and the Army isn't going to be doing much in that one unless we're coming in from Russia or a unified Korea - it will be all USAF and USN.

That is not a very wise perspective to implement.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 3):
Like I already said - way to expensive and no longer a need for it.

But the Commanche does everything better than the Apache and if it is still too expensive than serious changes need to be made to the way the Army gets to spend their money so these kinds of errors are not made again. You have heard where Bell has the audacity to now tell the US Army that the ARH's have a unit flyaway cost nearly dounle that of which they initially used to win the contract, correct? Our military contractors are either going to have to pull their heads outta their asses or have those that be thrown in jail because this system just isn't working - look how far we advanced during WWII and ask yourself if you think our contractors are "currently" capable of performing in such a way again if we had to?

With all that said - other than money, what can the Apache than do that the Commanche cannot do better, just help me out there. If you were walking to the FARP and could take a fully loaded AH-64D or an AH-66, which aircraft would you choose?


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
Also, the only large scale engagement the US could find itself in over the next few decades would be against China

That's an extremely dangerous attitude, given world history, in my opinion. Look how fast the world changed between 1989 and 1991, and again in 2001. When the 20th Century began, most military experts believed the most likely war the US would face in the subsequent few decades would be against the United Kingdom, over trade markets. The US spent a fortune in the 1980s to modernize its military to counter a perceived growing Soviet threat, a threat that vanished almost overnight when the Berlin Wall fell in November, 1989. We spent the next decade spending the "Peace Dividend" and paying very little attention to military needs, cancelling or severely scaling back most of the big weapons systems that were initiated in the '80s and deferring large projects that were to have followed them in the 90s, such as the new Tanker. Then we got caught with our pants down again on September 11, 2001 and now we're trying to fight a two-front war with aging equipment while simultaneously bringing our military into the 21st Century.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 6):
ow can you say that?

Just look what rose from the ashes of the RAH-66. Totally new cockpit suites for both the UH-60 and CH-47.

Things that should have been done ten years ago. We're installing new avionics in birds that are growing older and older. Airlines aren't installing new cockpits and engines on '70s and '80s A300s and 767s, they're buying 787s and A350s. There's no 787 or A350 equivalent coming for the Army.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 6):
The guard is replacing the UH-1s and old OH-58A/Cs with the new UH-72 Lakota, which is built on the Eurocopter EC-145 frame.

That's a good start, I guess. But note that we're simply buying existing European helicopters. We're getting those simply to maintain parity with our competitors/rivals/allies. Not superiority, just parity. So much for the U.S. being the best Army in the world, we're simply as good as Germany, Italy, and France.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 6):
So I really don't understand why people still think that the Army made a mistake when they canceled the Comanche. Look at everything we gained.

Not enough, but it will help for the next 10 years. I don't think cancelling Comanche was a mistake, the mistake was cancelling it without initiating a new generation replacement with more emphasis on the requirements you cited and less on expensive stealth.

I just hope the Army gets moving on one before the world changes again.


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
No, the even better decision would have been to never had spent the money on the RAH-66 program.

Not really... because the program still birthed many new technological advancements which are being used on current upgrades of the rest of the fleet.

Also - look at the situation financially. The Army allocated all of this money to the aviation branch for the procurement of this aircraft. When we finally canceled the project in '04, we already had this money allocated to our branch. Therefore, it was a hell of a lot easier to simply transfer the money from the Comanche into the other airframes. This was a lot easier, than if we never went after the RAH-66, and thus never had the money to begin with. Can you imagine the Army's response when the Aviation Branch Chief came asking for $5billion to upgrade all of the projects I listed above??

We wouldn't have been given the money.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
Well, maybe not Russia but there's still China. Besides, how can one diminish the importance of a stealthy and more important quick and agile attack helicopter after they have already tried to use it to diminsh the role of the MBT, a platform's who's role will never be nullfied so long as there are infantryman.

Everyone keeps bringing up China. Look, I am one of the chief people on Anet who rings the alarm when it comes to China. Heck, look at my past comments in previous threads regarding China - I've shown how their military build-up is a major threat.

HOWEVER, in regards to China, it's interesting how the most alarming technological advancement is chiefly in two fields - their navy and air force. Should we work hard to maintain naval and air supremacy? Absolutely. Should our Army maintain a technological advancement over theirs? Absolutely. (Although we could never hope to maintain a manpower supremacy.)

But I challenge you to play out a plausible scenario of a major land battle in China. A land battle where we would need a RAH-66 in order to win.

Remember - the Comanche was NOT intended to fill the roll of the flying battle tank. A lot of people unfamiliar with the workings of the US Army have a false perception about the mission of the OH-58D. Their job is to DEVELOP THE BATTLE. They are closely connected to the front line commanders, and almost act like a battlefield air traffic controller. This was the roll that the RAH-66 was going to fill. And just like the OH-58D... should the situation become tight enough, it could provide light air support. But it would primarily attempt to remain unseen - because once exposed, it can no longer serve it's primary purpose of developing the situation for the ground commander.

However, what we found in Iraq, was that the roll of a stand-off helicopter - who would sit miles away and spy on the enemy - was impractical. The ground war moved so fast, and the situation was developing so quickly, that the Kiowas never stopped. They were constantly moving forward. And once the main invasion was over, there was no battle line to hide behind. They were flying in the thick of war.

What we needed was a helicopter who wasn't suited to fight TANKS - but fight SOLDIERS. Thus the Kiowa's "ET Head" was moved from atop the main rotor, to below the nose. This allows us a "look down" capability. We also needed an ability to move a small team of soldiers (4 soldiers). We needed improved links between the aircraft and ground units.

...And we needed A LOT. We needed them to be on station at all times during the day. Which included flying under the bright sunlight. Stealth wasn't needed... numbers and availability was needed. If the helicopter is going to be damaged over the battlefield, the Army needed it to be fixed as soon as possible, in order to return to the fight.

We would have had less than 200 Comanches, and should it be damaged, the chances of a quick turn around was unlikely.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
That's my question - rather than cancel the entire $8B program why couldn't it been simply bought in numbers to replace the Apache - can it not carry as much as the Apache or go as far? From the stats I read, and the RAH-66 was a flying machine, not just on paper - but it is a far more survivable and capable attack platform than the Apache is so why not at least use it to replace the Apache? It seems that too often a recent trend is to spend multiple billions on programs who's total cost of replacing every unit in that platform group is a fraction of the initial R&D, (RAH-66, V-22, B-1, B-2, etc.)

...And one could argue that the Army is learning from this mistake. We're saying, "Enough of the decade long, multi-billion dollar projects. We need to spend the money on methodical upgrades. Instead of bringing a new airframe onto the line every time some new technology is born... integrate that technology on existing airframes. If that can be done, while maintaining superiority over foreign adversaries, we're still maintaining our superior fighting ability.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
Sounds like piss-poor foressight and bad overall project management - somebody should be losing their rank and/or jobs over such frivolous uses of taxpayer money and from a veteran's perspective, I want Congress to hold those Generals responsible for such ill-management responsible for the indecisions, too.

Well as a veteran you should know that it wasn't just "one general" in charge and accountable. You should also know those generals are LONG gone.

An investigation would be yet more wasted money and resources. The people are gone, the lessons were learned, and the corrections are taking place.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
But the Commanche does everything better than the Apache and if it is still too expensive than serious changes need to be made to the way the Army gets to spend their money so these kinds of errors are not made again.

Does it? What happens when the Comanche (one M by the way) took an RPG to an engine? You'd be amazed at how many AH-64s have taken battle damage in Iraq. It's not as rare as you probably think.

And we can't change this fact. Because this isn't the plains of Europe. Those birds are needed desperately by the ground commanders, and their needed right over their heads. They don't have the luxury of hiding behind trees, popping up, firing a missile, and popping back down. They are close and personal, yanking and banking, and because of this they need to be built tough.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
You have heard where Bell has the audacity to now tell the US Army that the ARH's have a unit flyaway cost nearly dounle that of which they initially used to win the contract, correct?

And look at what happened.

Bell came back and told the Army that the project had slipped behind schedule and cost were rising quickly.

However, unlike the Comanche, the new Army acted quickly. They ordered a stop work order. Bell then came back two weeks later and agreed to assume all additional costs incurred during development. BELL is eating the extra costs, not the Army.

And the Army has lined up a replacement should the RAH-70 continue to suffer. Bell has a very tight schedule, and the Army has made it clear - if you fail, we have a replacement ready and we are willing to drop you.

Can you see the USAF doing this?

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):

With all that said - other than money, what can the Apache than do that the Commanche cannot do better, just help me out there. If you were walking to the FARP and could take a fully loaded AH-64D or an AH-66, which aircraft would you choose?

AH-64D.

Again... you are confusing the entire roll of the Comanche. It was an OH-58D replacement. It was only when the cost began to rise, and as the number of planned airframes began to decrease, was when the Comanche suddenly began gaining all of these "additional" abilities.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
Things that should have been done ten years ago.

...But we didn't have the money.

The vast majority of Army Aviation R&D money was tied up in your vaunted RAH-66.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
Not enough, but it will help for the next 10 years. I don't think cancelling Comanche was a mistake, the mistake was cancelling it without initiating a new generation replacement with more emphasis on the requirements you cited and less on expensive stealth.

I just hope the Army gets moving on one before the world changes again.

I don't agree. Look... congress is unwilling to give the Army the necessary money to fund the RAH-66, in addition to the desperately needed upgrades for all of the other helicopters we fly.

Everyone keeps saying, "Oh the USAF needs to buy new bombers. Needs to replace its AWACs. Needs to replace its aerial refuelers. Etc..." And people keep saying, "Oh well, the Navy shouldn't go from 12 to 10 carriers. They need more submarines. They need a new frigate replacement." And people keep saying, "Oh the Marines need to buy hundreds of Ospreys. And they need to purchase new ground fighting vehicles."

...And we have people like you and AirRyan saying, "Oh well the Army needed the Comanche."

That's all well and good... but all of these civilians and politicians who say this, never explain where we are going to find the money to fund all of these needs!

Thorny, are you willing to see a cut in NASA's budget in order to give the money to the Army to fund the Comanche?

AirRyan, are you willing to cut the budget of USAF to fund the Comanche?

-UH60


User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1607 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Quoting AirRyan (Reply 7):
No, the even better decision would have been to never had spent the money on the RAH-66 program.

Remember, the RAH-66 was started as the LHX in the early 1980s and this was a follow-on to the ASH (Advanced Scout Helicopter). The USSR still existed then and the LHX was meant to help counter all the Soviet tanks and air defence systems on the other side of the Iron Curtain. I remember this because I worked on LHX from 1982 to 1986. Yes, in today's environment its not needed, but back then it was.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 9):
Heck, look at my past comments in previous threads regarding China - I've shown how their military build-up is a major threat.

Lets see, they are replacing a 55-year old design (the MiG-19) and a 50-year old design (the MiG-21) with a 30-year old design (the Su-27). This is comparable to people today getting worked up by the US buying F-16s (a 35-year old design) to replace F-100s (a 55-year old design) and F-4s (a 45-year old design). We stopped buying F-16s a year or so ago...

From having visited China twice (and I leave on my third visit in a week), I think they want a military closer to par with their status as an economic power. They have spent relatively little on their military over the past 30-40 years. Most of their real operational equipment is ancient, low-tech stuff.


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 9):
Thorny, are you willing to see a cut in NASA's budget in order to give the money to the Army to fund the Comanche?

US Army budget, Fiscal Year 2007: $110 billion
NASA budget, Fiscal Year 2007: $16 billion

Obviously, you won't get far raiding NASA to pay for Army upgrades.

You asked Ryan if he'd sacrifice USAF budget for Commanche. The USAF budget is already getting chopped, sliced and diced, mostly going to the Army and USMC. Look at the drastic cuts in USAF manpower, where the Generals are taking most of the money so far. Soon, though, they'll have to start cancelling their new toys, too. That's when things will get really interesting.

And no, I'm not a big fan of Commanche. My position is that the Army botched the whole program thoroughly, and long ago should have axed it in favor of a new airframe, without the expensive stealth. (I still haven't figured out the point of a stealth helicopter, they fly so low wouldn't the enemy just get on the radio and say "we just saw a flight of helicopters go by, heading for Stalingrad...") It's not like an F-22 or B-2, where the first time you notice its in the area is about 10 seconds before you get hit by the JDAM.


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4680 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
That's a good start, I guess. But note that we're simply buying existing European helicopters. We're getting those simply to maintain parity with our competitors/rivals/allies. Not superiority, just parity. So much for the U.S. being the best Army in the world, we're simply as good as Germany, Italy, and France.

Huh? Do you happen to know anything about European army helo fleets? European armies could only dream about having such a large fleet. Additionally, none of the nations you mentioned is getting these EC-145 or a sizeable fleet of comparable helos (although they'd love to, trust me).

The Lakota was selected in an open tender. Compared to its competitors (Bell 210 and 412, MD Explorer, AW139), it offered the best value for money, and it's being produced in the USA. What more do you want?



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting A342 (Reply 12):
Huh? Do you happen to know anything about European army helo fleets? European armies could only dream about having such a large fleet.

Funny how when it comes to economics, Europe is one big monolithic trading block, essentially as powerful as the United States. But when it comes to defense, that's conveniently out the window and we're back to a bunch of countries, each much smaller than the US and therefore shouldn't be expected to have as big an army as the U.S...

Quoting A342 (Reply 12):
What more do you want?

Better than what everyone else has. Wasn't I clear on that?


User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30522 posts, RR: 84
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
That's an extremely dangerous attitude, given world history, in my opinion.

Well who is in a position to take us on toe-to-toe other then China? I'm not talking fighting an entrenched insurgency like Vietnam or Iraq. I mean a serious strategic level conflict like WWII or Korea.


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 14):
Well who is in a position to take us on toe-to-toe other then China? I'm not talking fighting an entrenched insurgency like Vietnam or Iraq. I mean a serious strategic level conflict like WWII or Korea.

Russia, aka the USSR, is quite capable. They have massive quantities of weapons stashed away ready for use.

Germany and France combined (a.k.a. Europe) can also make quite a fist, and those two are building up their forces as well.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4680 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Thorny (Reply 13):
Funny how when it comes to economics, Europe is one big monolithic trading block, essentially as powerful as the United States. But when it comes to defense, that's conveniently out the window and we're back to a bunch of countries, each much smaller than the US and therefore shouldn't be expected to have as big an army as the U.S...

So what's your point? Even if you'd scale the armies according to each country's population, Europe is still far below the US.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 13):
Better than what everyone else has. Wasn't I clear on that?

You already have. For example, in the Lakota category, Germany currently has old, tired UH-1Ds. You have much more capable UH-60s and now the Lakota. Satisfied?  Yeah sure

Next you're going to say many European countries are getting brand-new NH90s with FBW, FLIR, glass cockpit and a superb autopilot and what not.

So what "better" helo do you want then? How could you currently make a NH90 competitor "better"?

You know, sometimes you have to be satisfied with what you have and stop complaining.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineEchster From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 399 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
That's a good start, I guess. But note that we're simply buying existing European helicopters. We're getting those simply to maintain parity with our competitors/rivals/allies. Not superiority, just parity. So much for the U.S. being the best Army in the world, we're simply as good as Germany, Italy, and France.

This is the classic statement of this thread!!

Superiority of what, exactly? The only European helicopters the Army bought are for stateside, non-tactical missions. These aircraft will never see a battlefield outside the NTC and JRTC. There was no other commercial, off-the-shelf helicopter as capable as the EC-145 and that's why the Army bought it. And, oh, yeah, EADS is delivering on-time and under budget, unlike most American companies.


User currently offlineChecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1077 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Interesting discussion. Unfortunately the answer to the question is...It can't replace anything because it was cancelled. Period. There will be no resurrection of the program and as stated above, those funds were allocated to much needed programs covering a broad spectrum of Army aviation. No one would argue that it wasn't one of the baddest helicopters conceived, just way to expensive.

-Check


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4680 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Echster (Reply 17):
Superiority of what, exactly? The only European helicopters the Army bought are for stateside, non-tactical missions. These aircraft will never see a battlefield outside the NTC and JRTC. There was no other commercial, off-the-shelf helicopter as capable as the EC-145 and that's why the Army bought it.

 checkmark 

Quoting Echster (Reply 17):
And, oh, yeah, EADS is delivering on-time and under budget, unlike most American companies.

True, but what if the USAF orders the A380 as the next AF1?  duck   Wink

To be fair, Eurocopter didn't have to integrate many, if any, Lakota-specific missions systems, so it's no surprise they meet the contractual obligations.

But I'm asking myself: Couldn't the UH-72 and the ARH have been based on a common airframe? This surely would have saved some costs.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineLongbowPilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 577 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Damn, I'm upset I missed this one. Good show UH60!

-Attack


User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
That's a good start, I guess. But note that we're simply buying existing European helicopters. We're getting those simply to maintain parity with our competitors/rivals/allies. Not superiority, just parity. So much for the U.S. being the best Army in the world, we're simply as good as Germany, Italy, and France.

that's not true either. COTS (commercial, off-the-shelf) systems are cheaper to purchase, operate and maintain than anythign custom-built for certain roles. oh yea, they're also being built in the US. i can't think of any better platforms to fit the mission.



"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30522 posts, RR: 84
Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Quoting Jwenting (Reply 15):
Russia, aka the USSR, is quite capable. They have massive quantities of weapons stashed away ready for use.

Yes, but they're run by businessmen now and a war in your own shop tends to be bad for business.  Wink

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 15):
Germany and France combined (a.k.a. Europe) can also make quite a fist, and those two are building up their forces as well.

I know in the 1990's with the fall of the Soviet Union many "technowar thriller" writers moved to a strong "right-wing" French and German government joining together to lord it over the rest of Europe and threaten the US with France's nuclear arsenal, but I honestly don't expect such a scenario to actually come to pass...  Smile


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting A342 (Reply 12):
Huh? Do you happen to know anything about European army helo fleets?

You know, you really ought to talk to Thorny with a little bit more respect, and less attitude.

Thorny repeatedly adds a great deal to discussions on Mil-Av, including this one. There's no need for you to take an attitude with him. And if you had actually stopped to listen to his argument... he wasn't calling the UH-72 a piece of shit.

What Thorny is saying, is that he wants to see a steady desire to push the envelope. He saw the RAH-66 as a quantum leap in fighting ability of the US Army, and he's disappointed that it was canceled, because he's sees this as a step backward.

...While I don't agree with him, and think canceling the Comanche was a good idea... the entire point of this thread is to discuss, not to be act like a snotty teenager *cough* *cough*



Quoting Jwenting (Reply 15):
Russia, aka the USSR, is quite capable. They have massive quantities of weapons stashed away ready for use.

Yeah right.

There's a lot more to fighting a war then simply having a lot of good equipment. Take the Iraqi military in 1991... they were the 4th largest military in the world, but it didn't matter worth a damn to the better trained coalition forces.

And sure, they have a lot of equipment sitting around... but that doesn't tell us about the current quality. Take Russia's submarine force - the vast majority are no longer seaworthy.

-UH60


User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 23):
Quoting A342 (Reply 12):
Huh? Do you happen to know anything about European army helo fleets?

You know, you really ought to talk to Thorny with a little bit more respect, and less attitude.

Nah... I probably had it coming...  devil 


25 AirRyan : But what is stopping Boeing/Sikorsky from selling it to some other ally, I mean the platform looked like it was done - why couldn't someone say even
26 Post contains images A342 : You know, I know quite well what I ought to do. Besides, he didn't even bother to correctly understand my arguments, and neither to answer them, not
27 UH60FtRucker : Well I guess you need us to literally spell it out for you - he wants the Army to have purchasing directives which call for not only the newest techn
28 Post contains images A342 : What a nice attitude. But it's good to know there are nicer people to discuss with than you two guys. I'll say it one last time: Thorny said he wants
29 Post contains images LongbowPilot : My Turn! In the end, the RAH-66 was canked, it will not come back, it's technology advancements will live on in other birds, money will be saved to r
30 Post contains images JakeOrion : The current global conflict has no need for the Comanche, and to add on to that point, the Global Hawks are already doing the jobs that the Comanche
31 Stitch : For foreign powers (even allies), ITAR would come into play as well as requiring Defense and Commerce (at a minimum) to allow it. When it comes to th
32 MD-90 : My mom did some contracting for the Army in Huntsville and was glad to say good riddance to the Comanche. That program had problems. She transferred t
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