Warplanes: February 23, 2002


The Army is rescheduling the RAH-66 Comanche armed recon helicopter, delaying it a year while spending $1.7 billion on more development to fix its problems. This will reduce the problem of "concurrency" (scheduling to buy too many weapons at the same time). Production will start in 2004 and a Troop of six Comanches will be available for combat in 2006. Prototypes that were scheduled to be retired will be flown for another year to continue the testing. The biggest problem is weight, and the improved T800-801 engine is not going to solve all of the Comanche's power-to-weight ratio problems. --Stephen V Cole


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