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.

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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.
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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) bays.

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 other helicopters.

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.

Display: Bi-Occular, FOV 53° x 30° CRT High resolution tester 1023 line rate.

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.

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.

The helicopter countermeasures suite includes an AN/AVR-2A(V) Advanced Laser Warning Receiver from Goodrich Electro-Optical Systems (formerly Raytheon) of Danbury, Connecticut and the ITT AN/ALQ-211 SIRCM (Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures) suite, as well as infrared jammers.

The Comanche is equipped with a suite of passive sensors and a computer-aided Northrop Grumman mission planning system, which carries out sensor data fusion, high-speed analysis and correlation of the sensor data. Northrop Grumman TASS (Target Acquisition System Software) functions include automatic target tracking and target threat management. The analysed data is presented to the crew in the cockpit displays or transmitted to other elements of the force, providing direct relay of near real time intelligence.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has developed the EOSS (Electro-Optics Sensor System) which comprises: EOTADS target acquisition and designation system, including solid-state TV sensor, two-colour laser rangefinder/designator and second-generation focal plane array long-wave FLIR (forward-looking infrared); and NVPS Night Vision Pilotage System with a second FLIR. The first complete EOSS system was delivered in June 2003.

The Comanche will be fitted with a fire control radar (based on the Longbow millimetre wave radar on the AH-64D Apache helicopter) being developed by Northrop Grumman Land Combat Systems and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control.

The helicopter has a global positioning system, a radar altimeter and an attitude heading reference system (AHRS) from Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton).

It is equipped with an identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator and a dual jam resistant VHF-FM / UHF-AM Have Quick tactical communications system.

ENGINES

The Comanche is equipped with two T-800-LHT-801 turboshaft engines from LHTec with a maximum rated power of 1,563 shaft horsepower each. The internal fuel capacity of the helicopter is 1,142 litres.

AirForceWorld.com

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