Boeing Sikorsky, the prime integrator for the US Army's RAH-66 Comanche armed reconnaissance/attack helicopter, is to retain the Lockheed Martin/ Northrop Grumman Longbow millimetre-wave radar after failing to find a viable alternative.

The search for another fire control radar solution for the RAH-66 was directed by senior US Department of Defense officials, who decided last year that the joint venture should hold a competition for radar work worth as much as $250 million. Long-term planning had assumed eventual use of a smaller version of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow's radar.

Bids were sought from 16 US and foreign radar manufacturers. Ten US companies answered the request for information, but eight later dropped out of the competition, leaving only the scanning millimetre wave Longbow radar and a Raytheon millimetre wave radar.

Criteria for an alternative radar included schedule, cost, performance, supportability and compatibility with the in-service Hellfire missile, says Bergantz.

Work is under way to reduce the weight of the Longbow radar system from 160kg (350lb) to 80kg. The radar team is also working on a lighter derivative for the Future Scout and Cavalry System and Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment combat vehicle requirement for the US Army and British Army, respectively.

Source: Flight International