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.

Despite its cancellation, the RAH-66 Comanche remains a fascinating example of advanced military technology and engineering. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Comanche, exploring its design, capabilities, and the reasons behind its cancellation.

Design and Development

The RAH-66 Comanche was designed to be a true stealth helicopter, incorporating a number of advanced features to reduce its radar, infrared, and acoustic signatures. Its sleek, angular fuselage was made of composite materials that helped to absorb radar waves, while its rotor blades were designed to minimize noise and vibration.

The Comanche was also equipped with a variety of sensors and avionics, including a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, a laser rangefinder, and a radar warning receiver. These systems allowed the Comanche to operate in all weather conditions and to engage targets with precision.


The RAH-66 Comanche was designed to be a highly versatile helicopter, capable of performing a wide range of missions, including armed reconnaissance, attack, and special operations. It was armed with a 20mm cannon, Hellfire missiles, and Hydra 70 rockets, and it could also carry a variety of other weapons and equipment.

The Comanche’s stealth capabilities gave it a significant advantage over traditional helicopters, allowing it to penetrate enemy airspace undetected and to engage targets with surprise. Its high speed and maneuverability also made it a difficult target for enemy fire.


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

  • Cost overruns: The Comanche program was plagued by cost overruns, with the total cost of the program estimated to be nearly $7 billion.
  • Technical challenges: The Comanche was a highly complex aircraft, and there were a number of technical challenges that needed to be overcome before it could be mass-produced.
  • Changing priorities: The US Army’s priorities changed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the Comanche was no longer seen as a top priority.

The cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche program was a major disappointment for the US Army and for the defense industry. However, the lessons learned from the program have been applied to other projects, and the Comanche’s legacy continues to influence the development of future military aircraft.


The RAH-66 Comanche was a cutting-edge stealth helicopter that represented the pinnacle of American military technology. Although its cancellation was a setback, the Comanche’s legacy continues to inspire engineers and designers around the world.