The US Army will decide within two months whether to pursue alternative fire control radar solutions for the Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche armed reconnaissance/attack helicopter, says programme manager Brig Gen Joe Bergantz.

It had been assumed that a smaller version of the Northrop Grumman/Lockheed Martin Longbow millimetre-wave radar used on the Boeing AH-46D Apache would be installed on the Comanche. A senior US Department of Defense official, however, decided earlier this year that Boeing Sikorsky should hold a competition for radar work worth as much as $250 million, Bergantz says.

"The radar represents a big chunk of the programme. It was justified to open it up for competition. We asked Boeing Sikorsky, the prime integrator, to figure out how to put a radar on Comanche. We are interested in any and all ideas," says Bergantz.

The radar frequency was not specified, but it must be compatible with the in-service RF Hellfire anti-tank missile.

Confirming that there were multiple responses to the request for information (RFI), Bergantz says only that the Longbow radar was proposed. It is also known that Raytheon has put in a proposal. Bergantz says there are no foreign bidders. The final decision on the feasibility of an alternative radar is expected to be made by the end of November. Schedule, cost and performance are expected to be the critical factors.

"Northrop Grumman should not assume a win, and I don't think they are," he adds.

Some internal company work has been accomplished towards developing a Longbow radar below the current 231kg (470 lb). The firms are working on a smaller radar for the planned Future Scout and Cavalry System (FSCS) and Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment Requirement (TRACER) combat vehiclse for the US Army and British Army, respectively.

Source: Flight International