Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Arrow Left Previous Page
Page / 2
Posted: 2/23/2006 10:41:06 PM EDT
March 2006

Urban Conflicts Shape New Recon Helicopter

By STEW MAGNUSON


Col. Mark Hayes and Lt. Col. Neil Thurgood are brimming with confidence while facing a Herculean task. Their mission is to develop and deploy a new, armed reconnaissance helicopter within four years.

They admit that there are many who don’t believe they can pull it off.

“Even the people who were skeptical have moved mountains to keep this program on track,” said Hayes, who serves as system manager of the Army’s reconnaissance/attack training and doctrine command at Fort Rucker, Ala.

“There are a lot of skeptics out there,” said Thurgood, product manager of the armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

“We will not get another chance at this. This program must be successful.”

Thurgood vowed that the new aircraft’s first flight will take place March 22. The goal is to have the first unit equipped with 30 aircraft and eight trainers by September 2008. He expressed little doubt that they will hit these marks. “Every second counts,” he said at an aviation conference sponsored by the Association of the United States Army.

“It’s important that we measure what we’re doing every minute of every day,” Thurgood said. “If you just kind of wave your hand and say we’re going to get there eventually, you probably will get there eventually, but we just don’t know when eventually is.”

The ARH will replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, which has served since 1991. The need is acute. The Army requires 368 Kiowas, but fewer than 350 remain. When one goes down, there are none left in the inventory to replace them. In one recent incident, a Kiowa crashed near Mosul, Iraq, killing both pilots.

The Kiowa has given the Army one of the greatest returns on investment of any aviation program, Hayes said.

“We’ve been asking this airplane to do a lot of hard things for a long time well beyond its service life and well beyond the capability we designed,” he added.

The need for an armed reconnaissance helicopter in urban battlefields remains strong, although there are always challenges to operating in such environments, Hayes said. The four-year development track the Army has laid out for the ARH will take place within the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts, barring no unforeseen troop withdrawals before 2008.

In a 2005 annual report, David Duma, the Defense Department’s operational test and evaluation director, noted that the ARH schedule is “aggressive.” He cautioned against temptations to add new mission requirements during the development phase.

Army Capt. Jeff Kalil, a reservist who flew while on active duty in Baghdad from March to December 2003, told National Defense that the urban landscape poses many obstacles to Kiowa operators. He described a typical scenario as being similar to police operations when officers track suspects down alleyways or streets in coordination with forces on the ground. Just like U.S. police, if a target flees into a building, the helicopter stands by as personnel on the ground attempt to flush him out into the open.

Complications arise when pilots must keep track of the buildings, which vary in height, as they change speed and altitude to avoid ground fire. The two-pilot crew must do all this while maintaining radio contact with ground forces, often on different radio systems.

The two theaters have influenced the new aircraft’s design, Hayes said, and it should be able to serve in all environments.

“Somebody has to go to the cave and root out the dragon.” Scout aircraft need to be responsive to the ground maneuver commander and provide information about the battle space. It also has to offer adequate protection for the crew.

To fulfill these requirements, and deliver the aircraft on time, the two managers are purposely avoiding any unproven or experimental technologies. Commercial off-the-shelf solutions, or systems already deployed on other military aircraft, are key.

“This program is not about inventing new processes and new technologies,” Thurgood said. The two central criteria are technologies that work and that pilots truly need, he said.

The ARH, like the Kiowa, will be based on the commercial Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. 407. Its engine will be the relatively new Honeywell International HTS900, a derivative of the LTS-101, which has more than 8.5 million operating hours. The cockpit computer system will have little in the way of new software. Of the 880,000 lines of code needed, 845,000 have already been written.

The ARH’s updated engine will provide more speed and power than the Kiowa. Combatant commanders have indicated that they want the new scout’s systems to be equal to or better than the Kiowa’s. As a reconnaissance aircraft, the new helicopter is designed to be agile. Its base weight will be 3,882 pounds with a 223-mile range with the ability to remain airborne for 2.3 hours within a 62.1-mile radius, according to Bell.

Kalil said such long-range missions are rare. Shorter patrols along roads are common, and his unit was often asked to fly in an area just to maintain a “presence.” Standoff sensors were used to locate black marketers setting up shop. If they spotted someone selling weapons by the side of the road, they would call in the location for ground forces to investigate. Their orders were to not engage enemies, but to report and withdraw.

Hayes said the ARH will be able to fly down streets and alleys to support ground forces moving from building to building to root out insurgents. Armaments will be similar to the Kiowa, which has 2.75-inch rockets, a .50-caliber machine gun, and Hellfire missiles.

A specific sensor package hasn’t been chosen either, but it will include a forward-looking infrared sensor, magnification capabilities for daytime operations with stand-off range to see in complex terrain.

“Helicopters are a tough business in the urban fight,” Hayes added.

Since pilot safety is the number one concern, the ARH will include armor to deflect small arms fire, as well as a standard aircraft survivability suite to help defeat infrared and radar threats. However, the increased speed and maneuverability, allowing pilots to escape hairy situations, will make the ARH more survivable than the Kiowa, Hayes noted.

The ARH design has been directly influenced by lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hayes said, although it will be designed to operate in any terrain.

Kalil said the increased engine power will be effective, but he didn’t agree with the “evolutionary versus revolutionary approach” the Army is taking.

“What would be revolutionary would be something that would enhance the safety, enhance the efficiency, reduce the maintenance time and reduce the cost per hour of flying the aircraft,” Kalil said.

At the top of his list would be an airbag that would deploy in the event of a crash. “They put in them cars. The thought is ‘why not put them in a helicopter?’”

He would like to see better optics, more dependable weapons and a reliable computer system that manages not only avionics and systems, but efficiently manages communications.

“When you really start getting busy, the last thing you need is some clunky radio shorting out on you or dropping the secure channel,” Kalil said.

To ensure they are delivering what the war fighters need, pilots, maintenance and logistics personnel are working alongside Thurgood at Redstone Arsenal during the development process. The pilots who are taking part in the development and flight tests are the very ones who will be assigned to the first unit.

Kiowa personnel are also in the office “so we don’t have to relearn the lessons of the past,” Thurgood said. “As we make decisions, we can make them quickly because all the key players are co-located with us.”

It is the user from the start designing this aircraft, “not industry saying ‘we think we know what you want,’” Hayes said. “We don’t make a decision until it flies with pilots who have flown in combat.”

As the 2008 date approaches, more pilots will join the process. The “first unit equipped” standard will include the 30 aircraft, all of the support equipment, and personnel and everything needed to complete training and go to combat, Hayes said. The Army requested $141 million for fiscal year 2007 to buy eight aircraft.

Logistics concerns have also been factored into the aircraft’s development. It is designed to be self-sustaining.

“We can’t have a huge logistics tail spread out over the battlefield,” Hayes said.

Two ARHs should fit on a C-130 and be mission ready within 15 minutes of arrival, according to Bell.

Hayes joked that the accelerated timetable has caused his hair to turn gray and Thurgood’s to fall out. Nevertheless, neither wavered from their assertion that the milestones will be met.

“Speed matters,” Thurgood said. “We’re managing on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute status.”

NDM
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 10:55:48 PM EDT
why are they using such an old platform?
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 11:03:44 PM EDT
Too similar to a police aircraft to spark any interest from me. Looks like a updated 58 A/C model.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 11:08:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/23/2006 11:10:15 PM EDT by Sub-MOA]
I look at that and lhink that the AH-6 would be a better platform...

<edit>
oops was I ever wrong!

Check out this link.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 11:08:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/23/2006 11:09:08 PM EDT by Disco_Stu_TX]

Originally Posted By gaspain:
why are they using such an old platform?



+1, we have this nice Commanche platform laying around, one 7.62 round and its game over for that thing.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 11:18:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/23/2006 11:18:53 PM EDT by Tomislav]

Originally Posted By gaspain:
why are they using such an old platform?



Because it works, and works well?

Marines are still buying updated Hueys, and they seem pretty happy with them.

Some Bell Helicopters porn:





Link Posted: 2/24/2006 12:39:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Disco_Stu_TX:

Originally Posted By gaspain:
why are they using such an old platform?



+1, we have this nice Commanche platform laying around, one 7.62 round and its game over for that thing.



We just don't have the money laying around for that gold-plated Commanche.
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 12:50:25 AM EDT
Sure would hate to be in that if I had a PKM trained on me.
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 1:23:51 AM EDT
The Army requested $141 million for fiscal year 2007 to buy eight aircraft

You gotta be shitting me, I hope thats development costs too, cause a 17 Million dollar Kiowa+ is one hell of a ripoff. They could buy brand spanking new Blackhawks for that kind of loot. Looks like a nice enough little scooter, wouldn't want to fly one myself though, it looks a little "thin skinned" to be scooting around RPGville.
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 1:36:59 AM EDT
It's now the RAH-70. Don't know the Indian tribe yet.

It's mostly off-the shelf. Almost NO development risk in that the price quoted is the price the Army is likey to pay. It's cheap to buy, fly, maintain and easier to transport. I hate to say it like this, but it's easier to replace losses as well.

Alot of what we need to do nowdays can be done with simple.

It has some survivability issues. I'm still not sold on single engine for any combat aircraft. I wasn't too fond of the "6" for the role either. I still think there are better out there, but the bottom line IS cost really. The Iraq war is costing us alot of money, and there comes a time where you have to make that choice to have a risk associated with a capability, or not have that capability.

Link Posted: 2/24/2006 4:55:38 AM EDT
There’s only room in my heart for one Scout Helicopter.


Link Posted: 2/24/2006 8:56:30 AM EDT
Still think it needs a door gunner/observer... 240 on a bungee.
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 4:23:03 PM EDT
bump
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:36:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 5:39:22 PM EDT by COLE-CARBINE]
After looking at the pic I just realized how much glass is on the helicopter. Assuming it's armored what is the purpose, not visiblity and armored glass is pretty heavy so what's the point? Thoughts.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 7:56:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
After looking at the pic I just realized how much glass is on the helicopter. Assuming it's armored what is the purpose, not visiblity and armored glass is pretty heavy so what's the point? Thoughts.



I don't think the production models will have as much glaqss. I think they took a commercial 'copter and outfitted it as a demo model.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 10:16:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Czexybeast:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
After looking at the pic I just realized how much glass is on the helicopter. Assuming it's armored what is the purpose, not visiblity and armored glass is pretty heavy so what's the point? Thoughts.



I don't think the production models will have as much glaqss. I think they took a commercial 'copter and outfitted it as a demo model.



The one pictured above is indeed a demonstrator, the landing gear is completely different on the production model. The windows are the same though.

There is no armored glass used. It's just glass for the windshield IIRC, and plexi everywere else.

The purpose of the windows is to see out. It is a scout afterall. There's no point in reducing visibility in an aircraft unless you have a reason. Visibility in an aircraft is a good thing.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 10:37:29 PM EDT


Hell yes, make my recon chopper the Zulu Snake.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 10:39:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 10:41:45 PM EDT by CAAAwarfighter]
At least it's some sort of upgrade. Though the new mod AH-1 above would be my choice.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:02:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CAAAwarfighter:
At least it's some sort of upgrade. Though the new mod AH-1 above would be my choice.




While the Zulu is a great gun, it'd be a poor choice for this mission.

The nose pod on both aircraft is the same, so the recon capabilty (which IS the mission) is actually the same between the two aircraft. The Zulu has a bigger signature (size, radar, heat, noise), so it brings nothing to the mission itself and is easier to spot. NOT a benifit.

Additionally, the Zulu costs twice as much to fly per hour. Requires more man-hours per flight hour. Requries more parts per flight hour. Requires twice as much fuel per hour, so it needs to FAARP more and will be in the FAARP longer. Be down for maintenance for about 10% longer, so it won't be in the air as much to begin with. Not as deployable as the RAH-70. Purchase cost of the Zulu is WAY higher than the RAH-70, remember the USMC has airframes that can be used to upgrade. The Army would have to buy brand new. That would make each airframe cost nearly four times as much for the Army to buy. That doesn't cout training and tool costs. Most of the OH-58D stuff will be usable on the RAH-70, as will the pilot training. The Army hasn't any Cobras, and hasn't had any for quite some time, so you'd have to reintroduce an entire new line of logistic support, whereas with the RAH-70, most of the airframe and mechanical (i.e. the non-avionics) can be used over from the OH-58D line.

All that additional cost, and the Zulu doesn't do recon any better and is easier to detect.

Good for gunship stuff, but just not the right bird for this mission.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:15:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:21:44 AM EDT
I know I've said it before, and I know its been explained to me why it isnt/cant be done, but I'd like to see a '58 in the classic scout configuration. A "torque" rear right with an M-60 and 2,000 rounds of ammo(and whatever else he wants), a pilot front right, and an observer front left with an M-4 in one hand and a Willy Peter in the other hand.

"Hit my smoke!"


Where is a Bell OH-13S(47D) when you need one?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:36:05 AM EDT
Huh. The army is running out of OH58's.

Prior to 9/11, the govt. was GIVING them away to police departments. Last time I looked, Pasadena, CA PD was flying a couple of them...


.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:36:29 AM EDT
Sigh. Observation and strike, all in one neat-o aircraft...

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:40:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Sigh. Observation and strike, all in one neat-o aircraft...

img150.imageshack.us/img150/2401/ov10d20bronco2020er0920202020m.jpg



Is that a Bronco?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:41:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By smallmonkey:

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Sigh. Observation and strike, all in one neat-o aircraft...

img150.imageshack.us/img150/2401/ov10d20bronco2020er0920202020m.jpg



Is that a Bronco?



Yessir.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:45:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 12:46:29 AM EDT by Chairborne]

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Killer Egg is a far better bird for the job...

www.ballisticaddonstudios.com/images/oldsite/Aircraft/mh-6/littlebird_ah6.jpg



I agree, tried and tested in ALL the shitholes of the world too. My brother is in the 160th SOAR, used to be with the little birds, and now is with the -47Gs. He said the little birds crash really cleanly, the rotor blades and tail boom seperate and the thing just rolls across the field. The J model is quite a nice little chopper, the extra blade and upgraded engine make it better at altitude. I think McBoeing pitched that stupid ass NOTAR against the Bell, and lost.


ETA: Thats the Light Utility Helicopter contract, not the ARH one. Yet to be awarded.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:12:23 AM EDT
Hey Vito, do the Brits have Gazelles in Iraq? If so, how are they holding up?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:15:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Hey Vito, do the Brits have Gazelles in Iraq? If so, how are they holding up?



Why would they fly French choppers when they have the worlds fastest (Lynx), America's finest (AH-64) and the most versatile (EH-101 and CH-47) in their inventory?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:24:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Chairborne:

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Hey Vito, do the Brits have Gazelles in Iraq? If so, how are they holding up?



Why would they fly French choppers when they have the worlds fastest (Lynx), America's finest (AH-64) and the most versatile (EH-101 and CH-47) in their inventory?



That's like saying, 'Why use OH-58s, when we have Blackhawks, Apaches, and Chinooks?' Different roles for different helos. Regardless, the Gazelle was a joint Aerospatiale/Westland venture, and it's pretty damned fast and nimble.

I'm just curious as to how they are enduring field conditions, if they are deployed in numbers, etc.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:51:42 AM EDT
maybe it's not all about .mil using it.

maybe it's final use will be stateside in our cities.
now where did I put the tifoil smilie, and I need to watch Blue Thunder again, it had naked chicks in it
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 2:15:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Killer Egg is a far better bird for the job...

www.ballisticaddonstudios.com/images/oldsite/Aircraft/mh-6/littlebird_ah6.jpg



Fast too!

HPD uses 500D's and E's. They used to have 5 or 6 i think but they only have 3 or 4 now
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:15:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bmick325:

Originally Posted By Disco_Stu_TX:

Originally Posted By gaspain:
why are they using such an old platform?



+1, we have this nice Commanche platform laying around, one 7.62 round and its game over for that thing.



We just don't have the money laying around for that gold-plated Commanche.



They've got plenty for just about everything else non-essential...
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:22:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lem:
Huh. The army is running out of OH58's.

Prior to 9/11, the govt. was GIVING them away to police departments. Last time I looked, Pasadena, CA PD was flying a couple of them...


.



They were giving away all the A/C models because the Army quit using them for much of anything. There were a couple kept around in the GSAC IIRC, but those are ash and trash helos. The D models are what the Cav's air troops fly. They are just being attrited in combat, to be replaced by the RAH-70. So there's fewer 58D's than the Army needs, but it doesn't make any sense to do much about it as they'll just transfer aircraft between units that need them and make do until 2008. They'll just have to live with being short for a couple years.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 8:03:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:

Originally Posted By Czexybeast:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
After looking at the pic I just realized how much glass is on the helicopter. Assuming it's armored what is the purpose, not visiblity and armored glass is pretty heavy so what's the point? Thoughts.



I don't think the production models will have as much glaqss. I think they took a commercial 'copter and outfitted it as a demo model.



The one pictured above is indeed a demonstrator, the landing gear is completely different on the production model. The windows are the same though.

There is no armored glass used. It's just glass for the windshield IIRC, and plexi everywere else.

I was mostly thinking of the big hunk o'glass toward the rear of the helicopter, that just seemed to me with all the stuff a pilot has to do that would be the last direction he would be looking. I'm really surprised too that it's not armored.

The purpose of the windows is to see out. It is a scout afterall. There's no point in reducing visibility in an aircraft unless you have a reason. Visibility in an aircraft is a good thing.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 8:11:36 AM EDT
Didnt they JUST shitcan an almost ready to go light recon/strike helo?



remember that thing?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 8:12:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Killer Egg is a far better bird for the job...

www.ballisticaddonstudios.com/images/oldsite/Aircraft/mh-6/littlebird_ah6.jpg



Yep.

The Kiowa platform stinks.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 12:35:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:27:55 PM EDT
They should've stuck with this one -

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 2:47:31 PM EDT

I still find it odd that the rear compartment has the glass window, I saw Ross' post earlier but that seems like a pretty extreme angle for a pilot to look through...is it just a crew of 2?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 2:48:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:
Didnt they JUST shitcan an almost ready to go light recon/strike helo?

i37.photobucket.com/albums/e86/ibdmentd/RAH-66Comanche.jpg

remember that thing?



Yes, because it was too expensive.

However, just because you cancel a bloated program doesn't make the mission go away.

Since the mission was still there, they bought the RAH-70's to fill it.

"If all you need is a Ford, then why pay for a Benz" kinda deal.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 2:53:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:
Didnt they JUST shitcan an almost ready to go light recon/strike helo?

i37.photobucket.com/albums/e86/ibdmentd/RAH-66Comanche.jpg

remember that thing?



Yes, because it was too expensive.

However, just because you cancel a bloated program doesn't make the mission go away.

Since the mission was still there, they bought the RAH-70's to fill it.

"If all you need is a Ford, then why pay for a Benz" kinda deal.



In your opinion why do you think Bell got the contract instead of the Boeing/MD MH-6? I figured the MH-6 was a shoe-in due to the 160th SOAR connection. I know MD was having problems, was that a factor?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:00:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:

Originally Posted By CAAAwarfighter:
At least it's some sort of upgrade. Though the new mod AH-1 above would be my choice.




While the Zulu is a great gun, it'd be a poor choice for this mission.

The nose pod on both aircraft is the same, so the recon capabilty (which IS the mission) is actually the same between the two aircraft. The Zulu has a bigger signature (size, radar, heat, noise), so it brings nothing to the mission itself and is easier to spot. NOT a benifit.

Additionally, the Zulu costs twice as much to fly per hour. Requires more man-hours per flight hour. Requries more parts per flight hour. Requires twice as much fuel per hour, so it needs to FAARP more and will be in the FAARP longer. Be down for maintenance for about 10% longer, so it won't be in the air as much to begin with. Not as deployable as the RAH-70. Purchase cost of the Zulu is WAY higher than the RAH-70, remember the USMC has airframes that can be used to upgrade. The Army would have to buy brand new. That would make each airframe cost nearly four times as much for the Army to buy. That doesn't cout training and tool costs. Most of the OH-58D stuff will be usable on the RAH-70, as will the pilot training. The Army hasn't any Cobras, and hasn't had any for quite some time, so you'd have to reintroduce an entire new line of logistic support, whereas with the RAH-70, most of the airframe and mechanical (i.e. the non-avionics) can be used over from the OH-58D line.

All that additional cost, and the Zulu doesn't do recon any better and is easier to detect.

Good for gunship stuff, but just not the right bird for this mission.



Ross, you're pissing on their parade....
Don't confuse real facts with internet facts...
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:03:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
www.aviationnews.com.au/images/ARH8(cropped).jpg
I still find it odd that the rear compartment has the glass window, I saw Ross' post earlier but that seems like a pretty extreme angle for a pilot to look through...is it just a crew of 2?



It's just a door. It's cheaper to use the production line doors than have a specific "Army" door that would be the exact same unit, except with an aluminum sheet covering the hole. The hole for the window is still going to be made on the door production line because they just make generic doors.

Why have a special order part?

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:08:41 PM EDT


I think they should take another look at the AH-56A Cheyenne.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:15:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 3:15:56 PM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:17:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
www.aviationnews.com.au/images/ARH8(cropped).jpg
I still find it odd that the rear compartment has the glass window, I saw Ross' post earlier but that seems like a pretty extreme angle for a pilot to look through...is it just a crew of 2?



It's just a door. It's cheaper to use the production line doors than have a specific "Army" door that would be the exact same unit, except with an aluminum sheet covering the hole. The hole for the window is still going to be made on the door production line because they just make generic doors.

Why have a special order part?




Thanks Ross,
It's more "off-the-shelf" than I thought.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 2:26:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:

Originally Posted By Ross:

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:
Didnt they JUST shitcan an almost ready to go light recon/strike helo?

i37.photobucket.com/albums/e86/ibdmentd/RAH-66Comanche.jpg

remember that thing?



Yes, because it was too expensive.

However, just because you cancel a bloated program doesn't make the mission go away.

Since the mission was still there, they bought the RAH-70's to fill it.

"If all you need is a Ford, then why pay for a Benz" kinda deal.



In your opinion why do you think Bell got the contract instead of the Boeing/MD MH-6? I figured the MH-6 was a shoe-in due to the 160th SOAR connection. I know MD was having problems, was that a factor?



My guess is fielding speed and cost.

The 58D itself is actually a fine aircraft, and very maneuverable. It's nothing like the 58A/Cs. I wasn't a fan of it when it came out (and I was in on the fielding), but it won me over in proving what it could do in real life. It's flying the misison right now, and doing so better than anyone could have hoped for. I still don't like the single engine deal, but....

The Bell 407 (ARH) is basically a streatched OH-58D. So you only need to change a couple things in the maintenance schoolhouse to train the mechanics. You only need to change a couple things to train the pilots at the flight schoolhouse. Your senior NCOs that have been working on 58Ds won't need to really know anything new. Since the powertrain is the same, the OH-58D supply parts lines are already in inventory, and already capable of rebuilding at the various stages of maintenance including Depot at CCAD are already in place. You don't need to introduce as many new parts. Since the two aircraft share so much, some of the same special tools already owned by the Cav's air troops, and the AVIM backing them up are useable.

The Army also is comfortable with what the airframe can do in the mission, since it's doing the mission right now in "stubby" form. All of the lessons learned on the OH-58D are almost directly transferrable to the RAH-70. The Army already knows what it's getting and it's the absolute lowest development risk option. The Army also has a very long track record of the similar airframe in "green Army" use, which is a different enviroment than the SOAR.

With the AH-6J, you got a good aircraft, but it wasn't really that much better than this one. Yeah, alot of people love the mistique of it because it's only used by the 160th, so it has to be the best, yada, yada, but the reality is they were both about equal in what they could do. You actually have more room in the RAH-70, which gives some options open to you that you wouldn't have with the H-6.

With the AH-6J, you'd need to buy all new special tools, all new parts, all new training for your mechanincs and pilots. You would have a totally different schoolhouse. That's a huge chunk of change. The ability to maintain the AH6J isn't proven in the "green Army" like the Bell is. Just because a special ops unit, with big funds and the best people can keep something running, doesn't mean it's the best for the rest of the Army with no funds and possibly less capable troops. That's not to say the AH-6J would have failed, but the Army has a "comfort zone" with the Bell. It KNOWS the deal with the Bell. With the AH-6J being an all new and unique aircraft, it would have probably taken longer to field and that's a big issue both in cost and in timing to replace the 58Ds in a war.

I think in the end it wasn't so much the RAH-70 "beating" the AH-6J as much as the speed of getting the aircraft out to combat, the overall cost and complexity (and time required for changes) of the program, and going with the "sure thing". It's hard not to go with an improved version of what you're already using successfully in the mission. The OH-58D is doing the mission now, and doing well at it. What few problems exist are corrected with the 70. Still wish it had two engines though...

It's sort of like going from the M48 to the M60. No great leap, just an improvement.

Link Posted: 2/28/2006 2:29:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:
www.swissmustangs.ch/mediac/400_0/media/AH-56A~Edwards~07-1968.jpg

I think they should take another look at the AH-56A Cheyenne.



THAT should be what the USMC should look at to escort the V-22.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 2:36:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:

Originally Posted By KA3B:
www.swissmustangs.ch/mediac/400_0/media/AH-56A~Edwards~07-1968.jpg

I think they should take another look at the AH-56A Cheyenne.



THAT should be what the USMC should look at to escort the V-22.



If you enjoy railing against the V-22 as a deahtrop you would love the AH-56.

Some decent info on compound helicopters here.

New materials and technology could go a long way to correcting the problems with the 56, but there is still a tradeoff between speed/range and hover performance (especially at altitude) with compound helos.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 3:26:50 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 3:37:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bmick325:

Originally Posted By Disco_Stu_TX:

Originally Posted By gaspain:
why are they using such an old platform?



+1, we have this nice Commanche platform laying around, one 7.62 round and its game over for that thing.



We just don't have the money laying around for that gold-plated Commanche.



The four blade Bell rotor system is sweet. The aircraft can loop and roll and the pilots report it is the smoothes system out there. The Bell 430 is the sexiest civilian helo on the planet. A militarized 407 would work out fine for light observation.
Arrow Left Previous Page
Page / 2
Top Top