Looks like I’m not the only one in the market for work: The Army is canceling the Comanche helicopter program.
The Comanche decision reflects a growing realization in the Pentagon that the military has more big-ticket weapons projects in the works than it can afford, even after seeing the Pentagon budget grow by tens of billions of dollars since 2001. And it the reflects the rising popularity of unmanned aircraft, for surveillance as well as attack missions, in recent years.
The RAH-66 Comanche helicopter project was launched in 1983 and was eventually to cost $38 billion. The Army said it needed a stealthier, more capable armed reconnaissance helicopter to not only collect and distribute battlefield intelligence but also to destroy enemy forces.
I’m afraid the program was the victim of the incredibly long R&D to production cycle. In 1983, I was still in high school, Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president, and nobody had heard of Mikhail Gorbachev. While this will likely cost quite a few folks at Boeing-Sikorsky their jobs, not to mention the taxpayers another $2 billion just to cancel it, it’s likely the right move.
Hat tip: Sean Hackbarth