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garnetpalmetto
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Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:35 am

CNN announced that the Army is expecting to announce later today the cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche due to mounting costs and slipping deadlines. In the back of my mind I thought this might eventually happen after the cancellation of the Crusader artillery system. Latest word is that to replace the Kiowa Warrior the Army will either purchase someone else's equipment or modify some of its Apache fleet. RIP, Comanche, we never really knew ye.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:52 am

Man, it just amazes me how much money, effort and years are put into programs only for them to be shelved. The damn thing has flown and afaik never had any design flaws. The amount of good aircraft we throw away...
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:08 am

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040223/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/helicopter_cancellation_3

Heres a link to an article on it...what a huge waste of taxpayer money...$8 BILLION dollars...its the movie/book "The Pentagon Wars" come to life again...

Greg
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:34 am

How do you figure it's a waste of money, Greg? To my understanding, the RAH-66 is hardly a superfluous program. The OH-58s, OH-6s, and the AH-1s are rapidly reaching the limits of how far they can be upgraded and, in some cases, the useful service life of the airframes. At the same time, there's still a need for a light attack/recon helicopter within air cavalry units. Yes, the cost is on the high side, but keep in mind that an economy of scale hasn't kicked in for the Comanche, the project had to be designed from the ground-up as a fresh design due to its low-observable technologies, and was unlike anything tried before. It's my opinion that the Pentagon is getting increasingly gun shy (no pun intended) about programs that are remotely expensive after the A-12 fiasco.

This is, of course, both good and bad - we're getting cheaper weapons systems, but in some cases, designs needed to replace multiple older weapons systems aren't getting put into service. Does anyone really believe, for instance, that the Common Support Aircraft will ever take a cat shot or make an arrested landing, let alone replace the S-3, E-2, and C-2, now all becoming elder statesmen on carrier decks. Same goes for the RAH-66. Now, not only will the Army be stuck with aging Cobras, Cayuses, and Kiowas, but 2-4 billion dollars in termination feeds to Boeing and Sikorsky.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:20 am

On a side note, the Comanche program was started in 1983? I'm sorry, but 20 years is a ridiculous amount of time for a program to gestate. I like the Comanche, don't get me wrong, and I don't think it should be cancelled. I just wasn't aware that it originated that long ago. The F-22 is another one whose birthing process is far too slow imo.

Let me explain... in 1959 the 'concept' for the SR-71 Blackbird came to be. A little over 2 years later, the A-12 flies, a year after that its sister the YF-12 and in another year the SR-71. No computers to help design it, EVERYTHING about the plane had to be designed from scratch including its fuel, oil, tires, etc. And it is still unmatched in performance 40 years later. So, it somehow does not make sense to me that a relatively small jump forward in technology, as evidenced in the Comanche and Raptor, take decades to reach fruition. I love the F-22, but in contrast to the advances that were made back in the 50's and 60's from literally the drawing table to in service the testing and pre production phase seems incredibly bloated.


I know the advances that these 2 example are bringing, but they are not of such a scale that requires such an exhaustive approach to putting them in service.
 
rotor1
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:37 am

This was inevitable. Look at the Comanche and you'll see the AH-56 Cheyenne all over again -- ahead of its time JUST enough that it was going to take a long while to get going. Throw in a little technical screw-up (most recently, the engine problems on the Comanche, the AH-56 crashes) and thats all thats needed to tie the deal.

Look at the Comanche... what is it? Some say it's a light scout helicopter... armed to bear with as much armament as an apache? Thats three times the size of our current "scout" helicopter? OK so maybe it's a big helicopter, so why is so much money being dumped into the Apache program still? It's stealthy, thats great, but its more important for a chopper to be able to take fire from an AK than a SAM battery. It's expencive, for what? The role the comanche was meant to play was going to be manifested, it didn't exist... it was another cold-war project that had no place to go once the soviet union fell.

So the Apache and Kiowa are going to keep on plugging ahead. The Marines are going to get thier AH-1Z and they'll be set. The attack helicopter in US service is still the best in the world, and it's going to be fine for a while yet.

-Mike

[Edited 2004-02-23 21:40:58]
The best aviation photo I've ever taken was rejected by Airliners.net
 
LMP737
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 6:21 am

It seems to me part of the problem with Comanche was not with the aircraft itself but with how the government runs things. It seems one is always hearing how they are drawing out the acquisition process in order to "save" money. All this seems to do IMHO is just slow down the process and end up costing the tax payer more.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
codeshare
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 6:37 am

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4352277/

Sorry to hear that. So new versions of Apache?
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Spacepope
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:29 am

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the Army doesn't fly the AH-1 anymore does it? The only AH-1s in U.S. service are the -W models with the Marines, and soon to be -Z model. The Army may be overhauling 40 -F models to send to Pakistan along with 40 UH-1H's, but the AH-1S has been out of service for years.
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aeroguy
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:36 am

I think the fact the Army went through multiple revisions of Comanche's mission was a bit of a sign that either they didn't know what they wanted or the mission it was originally intended for was no longer around. A little of both maybe, leaning more towards the latter? I was always confused whether Comanche was supposed to be a replacement for or complement of Apache... Comanche is a child of cold war doctrine is it not? Does its intended mission still exist? If our helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq had low observable technology would they fair any better than they are?

I think one thing that no one has mentioned which needs to be considered is UAVs. I feel like I've been reading a lot lately about increased emphasis on unmanned rotorcraft by not only the US Army but other countries as well. I'd be inclined to guess that military planners see Comanche's mission (whatever it is these days) as being carried out by UAVs. I'm speaking long term of course but at this point by time Comanche goes into operation anyway that will be "long term" right? Any thoughts?
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:39 am

The Army retired their last Cobra in '99 and the Comanche was supposed to replace it in the light attack role.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:56 am

Yes...they spent $8 Billion (with a "b") and now they aren't even going to put it into production? That $8 billion comes from the American taxpayers and just went to total waste...now if they were putting it into production, that of course would be another story, but 'twas not the case here...

Greg
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LMP737
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:23 am

USAFHummer:

With all due respect how much money was spent on the C-17 and B-2? If I/m not mistaken both of those programs were over budget and behind schedule. Both are outstanding aircraft. However if we apply your litmus test then those programs should have been cancelled.

Then there's the F-22. One could say the same thing about the F-22 as you have said about the Comanche.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
JohnM
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 9:26 am

The RAH-66 was allowed to wither on the vine. If it had been funded properly, it would have been in service years ago. Money is everything. I hope a simple, easily deployed and maintained, off the shelf aircraft will replace the OH-58. Hopefully this will allow increased funding for UH-60, CH-47, AH-64, spares and support. I know first hand, we could use it.

A private contractor puts AH-1s together at FT. Drum, NY. They have even sold some for C&C birds, used in forest fire fighting.

The USMC W and Z program has had delays, cost over runs, etc. I think both are great helicopters, but the money would have been better spent to buy new aircraft. Especially the small number of aircraft in the program.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:21 am

Both the C-17 and B-2 are in service and enjoy successful careers with the USAF though...theres a difference...

Greg
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:11 pm

And the difference is....what, Greg? The fact of the matter is that even though the developmental process for some "Cold War programs" was trying, expensive, and some cases looking like genuine failures, systems such as the C-17, the B-2, the AIM-120, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and the Seawolf-class attack subs are indeed proving effective. I believe had the Army been truly committed to getting the Comanche into service it would have been a great chopper that very well could have revolutionized rotary-wing warfare.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
greaser
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:28 pm

I think Commanche was abit dumb from the start...good PR, but the use?? helis can slip in and out of radar now...map of the earth flying!!!.
Boeing should be studying a replacement for the apache..for one thing...i would like it to be more quiet, and have more protection!! MORE WEAPONS too!!
The F-22 should continue, it will be valuable against other tech-savvy countries who decide to go to war with us (u never know)...stealth really does work, but is useless against small arms fire
Now you're really flying
 
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keesje
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:16 pm


So how is the V22 Osprey doing ?

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
racko
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:46 pm

The AH-64D Longbow Apache is cooler anyway, and so far nobody in a hostile country has come up with anything to counter it...

 
greaser
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:52 pm

They don't really need a whole new kiowa replacement..just slap on the equipment on a new bell/md model (412 or 430???)...after all, the kiowa is the 206 with 4 rotors
I WOULD LOVE TO SEE AN MD 900 or 600 in army c/s with full recon equip!!!
Now you're really flying
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:39 pm

The AH-64D Longbow Apache is cooler anyway, and so far nobody in a hostile country has come up with anything to counter it...

You so sure of that?





Wonder how many rubles Mother Russia would take from a potential aggressor to part with a Hokum or a Havoc



How about a Rooivalk - for sale to militaries around the world.

As for the Comanche's stealth capabilities, nap-of-the-Earth flying does damn little in an open battlefield where there's no appreciable terrain to mask behind. Further, the Comanche would have had low-observable technologies to reduce both its audio and IR signatures.

As for buying a commercial helicopter off the shelf and modifying it for the scout/light attack role, there's only so much one can do to an airframe. Rather than design a helicopter to meet all their current and foreseeable future needs, many more compromises would have to be made that would result in an "off-the-shelf" chopper being half of what was needed. Indeed, this has been the problem in the past - when the Army needed a light scout helicopter, it bought off the shelf and wound up with a much less effective design than if they had gone the traditional acquisition route. Look no further than the OH-6 and OH-58 for that.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
LMP737
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:54 pm

USAFHummer:

That's my point exactly. If the RAH-66 had been allowed to enter production it to would have had a successful career in service. The only difference between the Comanche and the C-17/B-2 is that in spite of various problems they eventually became operational.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:05 am

I think the main reason why the US Army decided to end the RAH-66 Comanche program was the fact that weapons technology has far overtaken the role that the RAH-66 was supposed to undertake.

The development of highly-advanced precision-guided munitions (PGM's) that could destroy tanks and other military vehicles from high-flying aircraft means that high-flying platforms such as JSTARS flying at 30,000 feet could direct F-16C's and F-15E's to drop GPS-guided JDAM bombs and GPS-assisted cluster munition dispensors from fairly high altitudes, safe from low-altitude anti-aircraft guns and MANPAD systems. Indeed, the AH-64D Longbow Apache during Operation Iraqi Freedom attacked Iraqi targets under the direction of JSTARS planes that could use its side-scanning radar to quickly track any Iraqi military movements.

By 2010, we'll be seeing JSTARS planes controlling fast-flying stealthy UAV's that will launch PGM's.
 
GDB
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Wed Feb 25, 2004 2:51 am

RAH-66 won the LHX competition in the 1980s, the requirement was stated in 1983, some years later the RAH-66 won it.
However, this programme was originally to be much larger, using common components to produce a light attack/scout chopper, as well as a version with a cabin, to replace the many UH-1s expected to still be service after UH-60 deployment, this was during the cold war and the whole programme was then thought of as the ultimate helicopter programme of the era, with the requirement to replace all those US Army AH-1s, OH-58s and UH-1s.
But, the end of the cold war brought about the replacements of UH-1s and AH-1s anyway with existing machines as the force levels were reduced, the ultility version was cancelled years ago before work had started in actually building the first helicopter.
So the reduction in the size and mission of this chopper is nothing new.
 
Bogi
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Wed Feb 25, 2004 4:00 am

How about the EC Tiger??

No dont start to shout the US Coverment would never buy any EADS Copter just look at the US Coast Guard and Border Patrol . EC has also a Mississippi Facility were parts of the AS350, EC130, AS355 are build and im sure if they would get an Order for the Tiger from the US a final assembly line could be add

So would the EC Tiger be a Alternative for the canceld Comance ?? how they match in performance and Misson Profile??
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:30 am

Uh, Ray, the thing about JSTARS is that, as far as I understand, you've got blips on a screen. It doesn't really tell you about the disposition of the forces, what they've necessarily got, as can be discerned with 2 eyes. Not only that, keep in mind that JSTARS support isn't available for every engagement in every conflict. That was the beauty of the RAH-66 - she could have visually identified targets, transmitted the imagery to a battlefield commander in near-real time, then coordinate an attack.

Further, your comments about PGMs only addresses one side of a land war - battlefield preparation. B-2s, B-1s, and other heavy bombers dropping PGMs can do a great job in battlefield prep, but would do a lousy job in a CAS/recon mission.

As for your view of warfare by 2010, call me old fashioned but I pray I never see that day come to pass. Taking the human element out of the cockpit seems to me like a recipe for disaster, not only that, it removes all reluctance to enter into war out of the equation. No longer would leaders have to fully weigh out the human cost of war, and I truly believe we'd see an increase in war-fighting as leaders choose to send expendable, easily replaceable robotic units to the front lines. No, thank you. Give me that zoomie sitting in the cockpit of his F-15E any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Regarding using the Tiger, I think the Combat Support variant of the Tiger that the French are going to be using would be a similar enough fit to the RAH-66 in terms of performance (Tiger has better maximum rate of climb, better endurance, a comparable dash speed, and a comparable endurance), but I don't know if it has the datalinking capabilties of the RAH-66. Otherwise, I'd say c'est possible to it.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
Lt-AWACS
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:45 pm

No Ray you'll be seeing AWACS controlling the planes (more likely the MC2A and/or E-10), not J-STARS. As someone who could fly on both, (I only have one flight on the JSTARS though) I can tell you a bit about the controller aspect on both. Yes J-STARS talks to fighters, but not often in a CAS roll. I controlled CAS on 5 combat missions over Iraq, and the big thing is working the kill box, checking ordinance then getting to the guy on the ground for the final talk on. J-STARS can do this, be often does not and is not trained on it, and without the air radar, it is procedural control. Their SAR/MTI radar obviously looks down, and they have links to talk to the army, and work ground support, and look for 'movers'. They have no air to air radar, and use the E-3, GTACS, or E-2 air link via J-TIDS for any air picture, and of course we use theirs for ground look. J-STARS do not direct Vipers or Strike Eagles on a daily basis.
While we did fly with Marines on some flights in OIF, the J-STARS has two Army officers full time on the crew, that 'speak army' and can coordinate the ground to go after movers, then on a Command and control type of network the E-3 sends in CAS usually F-16CGs and A-10s, and Marine F-18s. Not to digress. Air Forces Monthly has some good articles on our interoperability from OIF, even some good pics from PSAB.

As for the Comanche, I don't think we can say 'It would have been a success' yet. We just don't know. It seems some folks in the Army didn't think so. Maybe this is a message to contractors out there. Much like the Osprey the money was flying down the toilet, and I work with Boeing contractors daily, and can tell you the way some of these long term contracts are written, is comical.

Tiger is possible, but I think a US final assembly facility would have to happen for an order as large as the Army would want. It is possible. The HH-65 and others listed above show that can happen. And if it is the best, go for it.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Texas-It's bigger than France
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MD-90
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Thu Feb 26, 2004 12:38 pm

The Eurocopter factory is being built very close to my school, Mississippi State. Only about 12 miles away, actually.

We need to get some good Bell vs Eurocopter wars going on here.  Big grin B vs E instead of the tired old A vs B.

Boeing is infamous in Huntsville for taking your money and then never doing any work, unfortunately.
 
NWAir757
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Thu Feb 26, 2004 2:58 pm

Also replying to Rackos post there is also another unsung Helicopter that Army will one day have to face on the battlefield and that is the Mi-24 Hind. The reason this helicopter has not been portrayed as much is the economic turmoil the Russian government has been suffering through. But in past years Russia has come to rebuild and people are starting to take notice of this fantastic machine.




[Edited 2004-02-26 07:02:50]
The experience of flying is like no other.
 
greaser
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:22 pm

Once again..let me stress the US government's position...
As much as many of you would love to have Eurocopter take over sales from American companies, this won't happen...ever
The coast guard and border patrols do have ec's...but this is bcoz the government consides them non-essential in times of war..THE ARMY IS.
You can't depend on foreign countries for your essentials, esp. in the case of America..and new world war involving our dear friends who are our suppliers could mean a halt in parts, servicing...etc.
No matter whether the factory is in the country or not.
Congress will not pass/The Pentagon will not allow any foreign company to have a huge stake in the defence contracts such that any halt in compliance could mean armed forces disablity.
You just can't trust anyone..
Now you're really flying
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Thu Feb 26, 2004 9:39 pm

Then it may come as a shock to you, Greaser, but the military buys platforms off other nations too. The best examples I can think of after waking up for my 8 AM class is the M93A1 Fox NBC reconnaisance system, which the Army bought from the Germans. In another case, rather than develop the M1 Abrams, many in both the Army and Congress were interested in purchasing Leopards off the Germans. Aviation-related, as most of us know, the B-57 Canberra was simply an American-built version of the English Electric Canberra flying for the RAF, while the current T-45 Goshawk is a further development of the BAe Hawk. Oh, and last of all, *cough Harrier cough*.

[Edited 2004-02-26 13:40:58]
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Army Kills Comanche

Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:39 am

Hate to reply after I just posted, but people are JUST now knowing about the Hind? Considering the Mi-24 has been in service since '76 and is seen as the signature weapon of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, I'd say it's definitely achieved notoriety. I'd be more worried now about the replacements for the Hind (assuming they get put into full production) - the Ka-50 and the Mi-28.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.

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