Comanche Chopper Cancelled

By Deane Barker on February 23, 2004

Army ends 20-year helicopter program: Well, that’s kind of a bummer.

With about $8 billion already invested in the program, and the production line not yet started, the cancellation is one of the largest in the history of the Army. It follows the Pentagon’s decision in 2002 to cancel the Crusader artillery program — against the wishes of Army leaders.

The Comanche was a gee-whiz tech platform that dreams are made ff.

…the Comanche has been tailored to the role of armed scout. It is smaller and lighter than the Apache — 43 feet long and 7,700 pounds compared with 51 feet and 11,400 pounds — and its composite airframe incorporates stealth technology to evade detection. The Comanche’s very sophisticated detection and navigation systems would allow it to operate at night and in bad weather […] the Army has designed the Comanche so that it can fit more easily than the Apache into transport aircraft or onto transport ships to be deployed to hot spots quickly. If transport assets were not available, the Comanche’s range of 1,260 nautical miles would even allow it to fly to battlefields overseas on its own.



  1. I’m pretty sorry to hear about this. The Comanche was going to be a pretty great tool for airborne units like my little brother’s, and would have (hopefully) saved a lot of lives, since they’re sneakier and easier to maneuver than the Apache.

    Quite a few Apaches crash due to pilot error, because helicopters are inherently hard to fly and the Apache’s role requires it to operate nap-of-the-earth a lot of the time. The Comanche supposedly included a lot of control enhancements, and would even remain stable flying sideways at 80 knots.

  2. So what – the Comanche was a big waste of money anyway. Yeah, ok, it’s stealthy and radar absorbent but when our enemies are using heat-seeking missiles and heavy machine-guns, the edge is lost. There are no shortcomings in either the Apache, Kiowa, or Blackhawk, in terms of the threats we face today. Not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan. All of the chops that got shot down were mostly by ground fire, and I think one fell to a heat-seeking SAM. The Comanche would not have given us any kind of an edge in any modern battlefield. I know it”s repetitve, but this is how I fel. That’s why I hope the Osprey gets axed as well.

  3. The Comanche’s stealth system wasn’t solely based on absorbing/reflecting radar. A reduced heat signature was also part of the plan. Better early warning systems and jammers were also included.

    The problem is the OH-58 Kiowa which would have been replaced by the Comanche. The Army has aready stated that it wants proposals for a new armed scout.

  4. The point of the Comanche was to create an advanced chopper which could of eased anti-armour battles. Nowadays it is more of a weapon of terror (fear striking), MAD, and pinning down the enemy. Not really a usefull weapon by todays standards.

    The osprey was designed to allow ships to insert marines at high speed from longer distances. Allowing ships to launch high speed VTOL craft from distances too far for conventional artillary to reach. The advance of stealth subs (the probably current future) and anti ship missles have made some of these weapons useless, however.

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