posted on Jun, 13 2005 @ 07:54 AM
Military planners seldom choose a weapons system based on its looks (although I am convinced one of the reasons Boeing lost the JSF procurement was
the hideousness of its entrant versus that of the Lockmart F-35).
But I don't think any of the reasons quoted above were the sole reason the Comanche was cancelled. It was originally designed to supplement the
AH-64A Apache, being lighter, cheaper, somewhat more stealthy (you can't do much about the main rotor blade, no matter how much you'd like
to), and would have a much more modern and capable C4I2 suite.
Ironically, when I was working at MD back in 1990 I worked on the losing MD-Bell proposal for, as it was called back then, AHX; we offered a NOTAR
configuration and were beaten by the Bad Guys at Boeing-Sikorsky. When Boeing and MD merged, it suddenly became "our"airplane.
But by then, the Army had decided to go ahead with converting the AH-64As to the D-model configuration (with or without the Lockmart Longbow fire
control radar). This conversion cost more than the original A-model itself, but resulted in an airplane many times more lethal. As a result, one of
the big rationales (C4I2 capability) went away, and, since the Comanche was still fighting a weight problem and was behind schedule and over budget,
the Army killed it.
Of course, at its death there was the usual blathering about how the Comanche's technology would live again, and some of it has; but the only new
Army manned rotary wing procurement, the ARH (which is still in procurement) will probably end up with older and smaller aircraft (MD 530
little birds and Bell JetRangers) with some upgraded avionics and C4I2 packages.
[edit on 13-6-2005 by Off_The_Street]