Procurement: August 23, 2002


: The US Army is marshalling its forces to protect the RAH-66 Comanche. This expensive program for a new combat helicopter is squarely in the sights of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who is looking for a major program to kill in order to raise money for modernization. The Comanche is a target because various program delays have embarrassed the program, and some ask why we need Comanche at all when the US already has the world's best combat helicopter in the AH-64D Apache. The Army insists that Comanche has two key advantages: stealth, and data-fusion technology that will allow it to process and use battlefield tactical information more efficiently. The Army is still reeling from the cancellation of Crusader, a decision that many regard as wrong. While Crusader was heavier than Paladin, it could do considerably more and fewer Crusaders could have done the same job as more Paladins, for a net saving in actual weight.--Stephen V Cole


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