Golden Age Weaponsmiths RAH-66C+ Comanche:

In the beginning part of the Twenty First Century, these helicopters replaced the AH-64 Apache in United States Army service and while considered obsolete, many were still around before the coming of the Rifts. It also replaced the AH-1 Viper in Marine Corp service. The Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche program was canceled initially but the design was resurrected with the coming of super strong alloys and composites. The design is surprisingly similar to the original design with few changes. In addition to being a stealth design with a very low radar cross signature and extremely quiet, the RAH-66 is slightly faster than the AH-64 Apache it replaced in the Army.

Later, a more advanced version of the Comanche known as the "Super Comanche" was developed powered by a fusion reactor for virtually unlimited range. It is also slightly faster than the original Comanche and later versions replaced the 20 mm Gatling Gun with a rail gun mount. Ordnance payload was also increased on the Super Comanche. Slowly, the conventional Comanches were retired although the "Super Comanche" was retained until the coming of the Rifts. Even though the AH-75 Striker was introduced after the Super Comanche, it was considered too large for many roles and had not radar reduction.

Considered still valuable assets, the conventional RAH-66 Comanche were carefully stored for further service when the Super Comanche began entering service in large numbers. Even so, it was not towards the end of the Twenty-First Century before all were retired. Being constructed of high strength composites and alloys meant that they were also virtually immune to corrosion. As a result, when they were discovered, it was relatively easy to restore these helicopters to operating service.

Their low radar cross signature makes them extremely popular. Only a comparatively small number have been recovered. The Coalition and Free Quebec had purchased a small number of these helicopters to study them. Those that did not wind up in the hands of the Coalition have found their way into the hands of smaller governments and mercenary companies. The Coalition is very cautious of the RAH-66 in other parties hands and seems to have adopted the policy of shooting them down whenever they can get away with it.

Golden Age Weaponsmiths material science is comparatively primitive. As such, the company cannot effectively duplicated low radar cross signature materials. As a result, it is not likely that the company will copy the RAH-66 Comanche. Instead, they will probably copy either the AH-1Z Viper or AH-65 Apache for new attack helicopter airframes. There is however a rumor that Free Quebec has been working on an advanced helicopter design with many of the features of the RAH-66 included RAM material. It will likely be fusion powered however and likely will be in many ways similar to the Super Comanche.

While the Comanche is not as fast as Iron Eagle attack helicopter, the low radar cross signature it fairly unique, and is designed to be very quiet for a helicopter and is far quieter than an AH-1Z Viper or AH-64 Apache. The effects of the stealth features are not as effective as that of many stealth fighters but is still quite effective in a battle field but is still very effective and the Comanche is far quieter than virtually any ski cycle .

Other features include that the Comanche had fitted with passive long-range high-resolution sensors, triple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control, and simple remove-and-replace components for maintenance. In many ways this made restoring the Comanche far easier than it otherwise might have been. In most cases, the older electronic systems were replaced by the standard systems for rifts robots. This includes radar systems and the communication suite.

Since they were already constructed from high strength composites, the armor of the RAH-66 Comanche did not have to be replaced to survive in the combat environment. Still, the weapon systems needed to be replaced and upgraded in many cases. The 20 mm XM-301 Gatling Gun uses the same ammunition as the M61 Vulcan cannon carried on the F-16, F-15, and many other fighters. As such, the ammunition already developed for those aircraft could simply be used on the Comanche. In addition, the missile launchers and ordnance bays are modified to carry standard post Rifts missiles. While the RAH-66 can carry two stub wings when on an attack or air superiority mission, usually for armed reconnaissance the helicopter does not mount the stub wings so to keep the radar cross signature low.

Model Number: RAH-66C+
Vehicle Type: Attack Helicopter
Crew: Two (Pilot and Co-Pilot / Gunner)

M.D.C. by Location:

General Dynamics XM-301 Gatling Gun (Under Nose)20
Missile Bays (2):20 each
Stub wings for additional ordnance (2):25 each
[1] Main Rotor (5 Blades):40
[1] Tail (Enclosed Rotor):50
Landing Gear (3):5 each
Reinforced Cockpit:80
[2] Main Body:140

[1] Destroying the rear rotor or one of the main blades will cause the helicopter to fly at ½ speed, wobble and is -6 to parry, -3 to strike, and -40% on piloting skill/maneuvers. Smart pilots will land as soon as possible. Destroying the main top rotor will knock the helicopter out of the sky! Roll under the piloting skill -30% for a successful crash landing (due to the reinforced nature of the Comanche, crew takes only 1/2 damage from an impact.
[2] Destroying the main body knocks the helicopter out of the sky and renders it completely useless. Damage to the main body will also reduce the aircrafts stealth, for every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the aircrafts stealth by 10% of its total.

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing. Helicopter can land and take off from primitive air fields.
Flying: Hover to 184 mph (296 kph / 175 knots) with a ceiling of 16,400 feet (5,000 meters). Cruising speed is 189.9 mph (305.4 kph/ 165 knots). The helicopter has great maneuverability and vertical take off and landing capabilities.
Range: Has a cruise range of 300 miles (260 nautical miles / 483 kilometers) with no external ordnance load and with no external fuel tanks. The Comanche can carry a 378 liter fuel tank inside of ordnance bay (in place of ordnance) that can extend the Comanches range by 100 miles (86.9 nautical miles / 160.9 kilometers.) Also can also carry up to four 870 liter fuel tanks on hard points in place of ordnance. Each fuel tank extended range by 225 miles (195.5 nautical miles / 362 kilometers) each but they reduce the aircraft's stealth abilities when fuel tanks are carried..
Reduce helicopters range by 20% if external wings are loaded down with ordnance but the aircrafts range reduction from ordnance in internal bays is negligible
The helicopter cannot be refueled in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: 11 feet 1 inches (3.4 meters)
Rotor Width: 39 feet (11.9 meters)
Length: 43 feet 4 inches (13.2 meters)
Weight: 8,690 pounds (3941.7 kg) empty and typical mission weight is 10,597 pounds (4806.7 kg)
Power System: Conventional, Two T800-LHTEC-801 turboshafts with 1,432 shaft horsepower (1,165 kW) each.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points and ordnance bays
Black Market Cost: 2.5 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double to triple that price)

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) General Dynamics XM-301 Gatling Gun: This is the original Pre-Rifts cannon and is mounted under the chin of the helicopter. It is controlled by the copilot of the Comanche. Three barrel version of the M61 Vulcan. The mount itself had 120 degrees of movement in azimuth, with 15 degrees of elevation and 45 degrees of depression. They have replaced the standard ammo with mega damage, armor piercing ramjet ammunition produced by Wellington Industries which allows the helicopter to hold it own against other Rifts aircraft.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 m).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a burst of 30 round, 2D4 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 500 rounds (16 bursts)
  2. Two (2) Ordnance Bays: The helicopter has two ordnance bays under the helicopter. Only medium range missiles, short range missiles, and mini-missiles can be carried in these ordnance bays. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of eight mini missiles or two short range missile for one medium range missile. Missiles can be mixed and matched but normally the bay carries all the same type of missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies by missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired one at a time or in volleys of two (2), or four (4) but must be the same size (all mini missiles, short range missiles, or medium range missiles).
    Payload: Twenty-four (24) mini-missiles, Six (6) short range missile, or three (3) medium range missiles in ordnance bay.
  3. Four (4) Ordnance Hard Points: The helicopter has a total of two hard points on each detachable stub wing. The helicopter can carry either four short range missiles, two medium range missiles, or one mini missile pod on each hard point.
    1. Short or Medium Range Missiles: The only restriction is that a hard point must carry all the same type of missile and missile. One medium range missile may be substituted for two short range missiles.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by short or medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by short or medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired one at a time per hard point. Multiple hard points can be linked as one attack but must all be same range missiles.
      Payload: Four (4) short range missiles or two (2) medium range missiles per hard point (for a maximum of 16 short range or 8 medium range missiles)
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. These pods are not carried on the body of the aircraft but are only carried on the wings. The Aircraft normally carries missile pods for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Each pod can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all.) and can be linked with other mini missile pods for greater number of missiles (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley.)
      Payload: Each pod carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles.
  4. Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (1): Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 20 chaff, 40 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment:
The equipment of the Comanche has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the helicopter. Consider the helicopter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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