Considerations for the Maneuver Commander: Could the Emergence of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Spell the Demise of the Army's RAH-66 Comanche in the Armed Reconnaissance Role?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
The U.S. Army finds itself at a crossroad in the development and fielding of both unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs and the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter to fulfill the armed reconnaissance role for its future Objective Force OF. Ever-increasing UAV capabilities, especially the ability to arm these platforms with Hellfire missiles, is forcing a blending of roles that were once solely the domain of manned platforms. This paper attempts to answer the thesis question posed above by using the OF characteristics of survivability, lethality, and responsiveness and comparing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Armys Class IV UAV systems Hunter TUAV, Shadow 200, the Extended Range Multi-Purpose ERMP, the Hummingbird 160 UCAR, and the Air Forces Predator A and B against similar capabilities found in the Comanche. The analysis also highlights what the maneuver commander should consider in employing these future combat systems. The author concludes, based on the above criteria, that future UAV capabilities up to the 2009 year timeframe should not preclude the need for the Army to field the Comanche.
- Military Aircraft Operations