The RAH-66 Comanche: A Look at the Stealth Helicopter

The RAH-66 Comanche: A Look at the Stealth Helicopter

The United States has long been a leader in stealth technology, and for a time, it seemed as though the country’s love of all things low-observable would extend all the way into rotorcraft like the RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter.

The Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche was the US Army’s stealth armed reconnaissance and attack helicopter designed specifically for the United States Army. After decades of development, the RAH-66 program was unfortunately canceled in 2004 before mass production could begin. By that point, nearly $7 billion had already been invested into the program.

Design and Development

The RAH-66 Comanche was designed to be a true stealth helicopter, incorporating a number of features to reduce its radar cross-section (RCS). These features included a sleek, angular fuselage, composite materials, and radar-absorbent coatings. The helicopter was also designed to be agile and maneuverable, with a top speed of over 200 miles per hour and the ability to hover at high altitudes.


The RAH-66 Comanche was armed with a variety of weapons, including a 20mm cannon, Hellfire missiles, and Hydra 70 rockets. The helicopter also had a nose-mounted sensor turret that housed a variety of sensors, including a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera, a laser rangefinder, and a target designator.


Despite its impressive design and capabilities, the RAH-66 Comanche program was canceled in 2004 due to a number of factors, including:

  • Cost overruns: The RAH-66 program was plagued by cost overruns, with the total cost of the program estimated to be nearly $7 billion.
  • Technical problems: The RAH-66 Comanche experienced a number of technical problems, including issues with its engines, flight control system, and weapons systems.
  • Changing requirements: The US Army’s requirements for the RAH-66 Comanche changed over time, making it difficult for the program to keep up.


Despite its cancellation, the RAH-66 Comanche program left a lasting legacy. The helicopter’s design and technology influenced the development of other stealth aircraft, including the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. The RAH-66 Comanche also helped to raise awareness of the importance of stealth technology in modern warfare.


The RAH-66 Comanche was a ambitious and innovative helicopter program that ultimately fell victim to cost overruns, technical problems, and changing requirements. However, the helicopter’s legacy lives on in the form of the stealth aircraft that followed it.