I’ll be the first to say - that’s pretty ugly. But what do I know?
“According to the press release, the helicopter includes a MOSA state-of-the-art cockpit with a reconfigurable large area display and autonomous capabilities. The design doesn’t have lift sharing stub wings like other design participating in the competition. From what can be seen in the concept arts, the helicopter will have internal weapon bays, a turret for the 20 mm cannon coupled with a FLIR system and multiple sensors related to the Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS).”
Did the Navy drop a torpedo that the Army somehow found in the Potomac or something?
If I was naming it, Ferret . That’s the animal it resembles. It’s an American design so the Navy version ( they will never adopt that ugliness) would be called the Catfish. However US Army Hellos are named after Native American tribes. The Hideous people would maybe not mind if they got that named after them. The RH 68 Hideous … Rolls right off the tongue.
Yes, this will replace the OH-58 like the RAH-66 was meant to.
The Comanche was canceled because it cost too much for what the DoD was willing to pay. A stealthy recon helo was a nice concept but it cost a lot compared to an Apache. Plus the Cold War was over and Russia and China were not considered a threat in 2001 or 02.
The FARA had a much higher speed requirement, I think. That’s why the streamlining and pusher prop. This is a nice throwback to the helo that lost to the Apache almost 50 years ago, the AH-56 Cheyenne.
Don’t forget the Comanche was canceled in 2004. The whole War on Terror didn’t need stealthy lightly armed helos, it just needed more Apaches and troops.
Now it’s 15 years later, the Kiowas are all gone and the Army is finally like “using Apaches for this sucks”.
I don’t think it could cost more as this design isn’t stealthy so all the headaches that come with that won’t be necessary here. Originally it was going to be 650 units for $27 bn in 2002 dollars. That’s $41.5m per helo then, or $59.5m each today.
I don’t think they’re going to go for a helo that costs that much.
@JediMaster has it mostly right, but more nuanced was that Army Aviation was looking at the overall lifetime cost of the RAH-66, and while they could afford it, it would’ve left no money for modernization or updates for the rest of the fleet. Given the typical missions flown, the RAH-66 offered little to no advantages compared to the OH-58 and AH-64. Given the planned fleet wide upgrades like CMWS, common Apache/Black Hawk transmission/engine, Block II/III/E Apache, CH-47 upgrades (this is a big one), as well as other aircraft like the RC-12 (they use the hell out of these), the RAH-66 was too much for too little. It was the right decision given the teething problems that the Comanche was having at the time.
The OH-58F, before they canned it, would’ve been sufficient for the FARA requirements, and my take is that they’d be out ahead to roll with a xH-72 platform for the job since it’s already in inventory, but nobody ever said the DOD was cost conscious or smart.