Comanche to get $220 million upgrade

Northrop Grumman has today received a $220 million award to expand the integrated communications, navigation and identification functions of the US Army’s RAH-66 Comanche helicopter.

Northrop Grumman has today received a $220 million award to expand the integrated communications, navigation and identification (CNI) functions of the US Army’s RAH-66 Comanche armed reconnaissance helicopter.

The award increases the Comanche development contract to $428 million for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector. The sector’s San Diego-based Radio Systems will develop and incorporate three additional communications capabilities for the Comanche’s integrated CNI avionics suite.

‘This award will allow us to extend our development of Comanche avionics to support enhanced situational awareness and synchronised operations of all forces,’ said Dave Vandervoet, vice president, Radio Systems. ‘It also leverages our work on the F/A-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to further reduce the size and weight of the Comanche integrated CNI avionics.’

Additional capabilities destined for the Comanche’s integrated CNI avionics include an Enhanced Position Locating Reporting System via the Tactical Internet; Link 16, a joint-service digital data link for interconnecting a variety of platforms; and satellite communications, enabling long-range, beyond-line-of-sight communication.

Northrop Grumman’s integrated CNI avionics are said to feature modular, software-programmable radios that simultaneously carry out numerous tasks and dynamically reconfigure functions in the Comanche. Northrop Grumman Space Technology’s Comanche package will comprise advanced capabilities such as friend-or-foe identification of approaching aircraft, and secure multiwave, multiband, multimode wireless communications.

The RAH-66 Comanche, the Army’s 21st century armed reconnaissance helicopter, is being developed by US Army Aviation and a team of leading aerospace companies headed by Boeing and Sikorsky.