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Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne and derivatives

Triton

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Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne photo description sheets found on eBay

URL:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/LOCKHEED-AH-56A-CHEYENNE-HELICOPTER-PHOTO-DESCRIPTION-SHEETS/331071070141?_trksid=p2045573.m2102&_trkparms=aid%3D555012%26algo%3DPW.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D18580%26meid%3D2895820313242344323%26pid%3D100034%26prg%3D8476%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D231101110630%26
 

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Colonial-Marine

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I hope this hasn't been posted before but there is some good footage of the AH-56 in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csGWV541yjw#t=430

There was a mention that the 30mm cannon was able to consistently hit a 10 inch target with the first shot from 2 miles, that's damn impressive for that era.
 

Hot Breath

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What was it that stopped the Cheyenne entering service?

Cost?
Change in combat profile/weapons?
Lack of durability?

I've heard various reasons over the years but never a definitive one.
 

Grey Havoc

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Politics basically. The USAF would not suffer any trespassers on 'their' turf, and to hell and hades with what the US Army needed.
 

sferrin

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Grey Havoc said:
Politics basically. The USAF would not suffer any trespassers on 'their' turf, and to hell and hades with what the US Army needed.
The USAF did not kill the Cheyenne.

Granted, it's Wiki but:

"The Air Force asserted that the Cheyenne would infringe on the Air Force's CAS mission in support of the Army, which had been mandated with the Key West Agreement of 1948.[37] The Department of Defense (DOD) conducted a study that concluded that Air Force's A-X program, the Marine Corps' Harrier, and the Cheyenne were significantly different that they did not constitute a duplication of capabilities.[4] On 22 October 1971, the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on Tactical Air Power conducted hearings to evaluate the CAS mission and the pending programs. The most damaging testimony for the Army's program came from the commander of the Air Force's Tactical Air Command, General William W. Momyer, who cited helicopter casualty statistics of Operation Lam Son 719.[38]

The Army convened a special task force under General Marks in January 1972, to reevaluate the requirements for an attack helicopter. The purpose of the Marks Board was to develop an "updated and defensible" material needs document.[4] The task force conducted flight evaluations of the AH-56, along with two industry alternatives for comparison: the Bell 309 King Cobra and Sikorsky S-67 Blackhawk. Analysis of the three helicopters determined that the Bell and Sikorsky helicopters could not fulfill the Army's requirements.[4][8][39]"

...

"The Cheyenne program was canceled by the Secretary of the Army on 9 August 1972.[4][41] The helicopter's large size and inadequate night/all-weather capability were reasons stated by the Army for the cancellation. The Cheyenne's analog and mechanical weapons systems were becoming out of date as new digital systems that were more accurate, faster, and lighter were being developed. The Cheyenne's unit cost had increased and was likely to increase further if new avionics were incorporated.[41][nb 5]"
 

Colonial-Marine

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Seems to me that the AH-56's death was primarily just due to bad timing. By the time the bugs were ironed out and it was almost ready for production, America was out of Vietnam. All of the services had their own programs they were fighting for in a time of budgetary cutbacks and some of them would inevitably not survive.

The AH-56 also came before major improvements to avionics, sensors, and weapon systems that would emerge during the 1970s. It could have been upgraded with such capabilities but that wouldn't have been a popular argument. Critics would say "it doesn't have the systems it needs and will only get more expensive once it does" etc. I'm guessing that rapid improvements to Soviet air defense systems were also used to argue against the AH-56.

Speed while always good to have wasn't as crucial against the Soviet threat everybody was focused on. The Army wanted night and all-weather capability while nobody wanted high costs.

The AH-64 has proven a very capable attack helicopter but it was unfortunate that the US Army lost out on some of the AH-56's capabilities.
 

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The AH-56 has always been one of my favorite helo's. In my model collection I had the full set. the compound with the Jet engines (mine was shown in another post) the Air Force, Navy. Marine, and Army versions. Par Tool made a lot of the models (plastic base), but also Lockheed (wood base L upright) and model maker Rick Southwick all had produced many as well. For this who don't know, Rick was associated with the Convair model shop (always tell his stuff... wood wings and fiberglass fuselage), then Par. He finally retired to Shafter Field near Bakersfield where he had a shop in a hanger where he built a lot of NASA models. It was always fun to fly in and visit and I was forever finding "goodies" that went into the collection. As an aside I remember way (way way way) back when I visited the lobby at Lockheed in Burbank. They had a magnificent cut away 6 foot model of the Cheyenne that had all of the drive systems shown in order to articulate the tail rotor, the pusher prop, as well as the main rotor. It was as still is the one that got away. God I wanted that model and were it not so big I surely would have contemplated a little larceny. I was fortunate to see the actual aircraft fly with its T-28 chase twice when a youngster in Riverside. It was flying possibly towards Edwards via the Cajon pass, but that is purely speculation on my part. As a pilot, knowing that this was the lowest elevation to transit the mountains makes sense. What a sound it made, the pusher was very distinct. Anyone have pictures of this model in their archives? If so please share.
 

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We used to see the Cheyenne on test flights as we surfed near Point Mugu. It was an amazing sight as the aircraft and its chase plane flew pretty low over us.
 

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The thing that surprised me about the Cheyenne was it being single engine, I would have thought that survivability would have mandated a twin engine design?

Regards.
 

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The Cheynne is one of my favourite flying machine of all time, I even build a LEGO Cheyenne a while back (based on my mom attic, it was destroyed in a cat fight)

my 15 years-old memories of Le Fana de l'aviation (July - August 2000 issues)
What killed the Cheyenne was the U.S Army didn't really knew its real needs. The Apache ended way over budget, too. There is also the story that, in July 1972 during a combat demonstration including top US Army brass, the Cheynne fired a host of TOW missiles but a couple of them missed their targets, and people jumped on that to help killing the program.
Jack Real said (bitterly, even after some decades) "the Army behaved like a child in a chocolate shop" (roughly translated from French)
and indeed in the early 70's they had all kind of cool combat helicopter prototypes (the Cheyenne, but also the Sikorsky S-67 blackhawk, and upgraded AH-1 Cobras) but instead started the AH-63 / AH-64 program and flyoff.
 

kaiserd

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Archibald said:
The Cheynne is one of my favourite flying machine of all time, I even build a LEGO Cheyenne a while back (based on my mom attic, it was destroyed in a cat fight)

my 15 years-old memories of Le Fana de l'aviation (July - August 2000 issues)
What killed the Cheyenne was the U.S Army didn't really knew its real needs. The Apache ended way over budget, too. There is also the story that, in July 1972 during a combat demonstration including top US Army brass, the Cheynne fired a host of TOW missiles but a couple of them missed their targets, and people jumped on that to help killing the program.
Jack Real said (bitterly, even after some decades) "the Army behaved like a child in a chocolate shop" (roughly translated from French)
and indeed in the early 70's they had all kind of cool combat helicopter prototypes (the Cheyenne, but also the Sikorsky S-67 blackhawk, and upgraded AH-1 Cobras) but instead started the AH-63 / AH-64 program and flyoff.
In fairness and in retrospect given the continuing success and capability of the Apache the US Army definitely made the right decision.
 

yasotay

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kaiserd said:
Archibald said:
The Cheynne is one of my favourite flying machine of all time, I even build a LEGO Cheyenne a while back (based on my mom attic, it was destroyed in a cat fight)

my 15 years-old memories of Le Fana de l'aviation (July - August 2000 issues)
What killed the Cheyenne was the U.S Army didn't really knew its real needs. The Apache ended way over budget, too. There is also the story that, in July 1972 during a combat demonstration including top US Army brass, the Cheynne fired a host of TOW missiles but a couple of them missed their targets, and people jumped on that to help killing the program.
Jack Real said (bitterly, even after some decades) "the Army behaved like a child in a chocolate shop" (roughly translated from French)
and indeed in the early 70's they had all kind of cool combat helicopter prototypes (the Cheyenne, but also the Sikorsky S-67 blackhawk, and upgraded AH-1 Cobras) but instead started the AH-63 / AH-64 program and flyoff.
In fairness and in retrospect given the continuing success and capability of the Apache the US Army definitely made the right decision.
Indeed the Apache has been worth the investment, but it was a challenging start. I know I was in the second Squadron (1/6 CAV, 6CBAC) to be formed. Lots of "controlled substitution" in the hangar to make sure we had few long term maintenance issues. Lots of visits from Congressional people concerned with cost. In other words; a normal new aircraft.

I am of the view that the Title 10 politics technical challenges and changing threat environment all conspired to end the program. The Army's ineptitude with aircraft acquisition no doubt helped as well.

Interesting that the Army is once again looking at AH-56-like requirements, because the environment has changed again.
 

Triton

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Contractor model of Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne Marines found on eBay.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-AH-56-LOCKHEED-CHEYENNE-PROTOTYPE-HELICOPTER-DESK-MODEL-/291805744879?hash=item43f0fa4eef:g:-ZIAAOSw-KFXcuCD
 

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Triton

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Model of the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne Navy found on eBay in broken condition.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1960s-FACTORY-MODEL-NAVY-HELICOPTER-TOPPING-Type-Precise-/132127613074?hash=item1ec36b6092:g:-A8AAOSw4A5Yyc7y
 

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allysonca

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For the record there were 5 variations of the AH-64. Army, Air Force Silver, Navy Dark Blue, Marine Green, and White Airforce with the Jet engines. Circle 5 had a picture of mine a ways back in this forum. Par Tool made them and Rick Southwick was involved. You can trace his history back to the Convair model shops where he built a lot of the in-house aircraft. You can tell his work when there were fiberglass fuselage's and wood wings. He retired to Madera CA where he had a small shop in a hanger doing NASA work and where we were able to get a lot of goodies he had left over. Ahhhhh, the good old days!
 

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isayyo2

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Reconnaissance variant animated film in Vietnam: I've certainly never heard of a dedicated recon variant of the Cheyenne nor seen this animated film posted elsewhere; the video shows a modified AH-56 with the nose Gatling gun replaced with a sensor ball, a radar with MTI, various data links for photography and meteorological sensors and SIGINT capabilities. In addition, we see the aircrew serving as an artillery spotter, FAC for other Cheyennes and using the 30mm for self defense.

Check it out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmQ3g5r1wjg
 

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Truly amazin. Thanks for posting isayyo2 :)
 

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Now we know what the people who made Jonny Quest did on weekends.
 

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Triton said:
https://youtu.be/ycXEgIRWGqs
That rigid rotor system from Lockheed was amazing, 300mph and stable with large Cg changes. even by today's standards. There was the oscillation problems in the Cheyenne but was fixed and improved gyros.
Was only political reasons why this simple stable system not used on every new helicopter at the time (and to this day) any examples of it being used on other helicopters?

Was so simple and stable a mechanic was able to fly one of the test helicopters back to save time rather than tow the helicopter out of the desert.

Its a shame because the performance levels match or exceed what is being proposed today (Sikorsky Raider?) using a very simple system.
 

sferrin

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At speed this had a wing to unload the rotor. X-2 tech does not have a wing but uses the counter rotating rotor to avoid roll off. (Because the faster you go the less lift the retreating rotor provides.)
 

Archibald

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The Army and Air Force were two spoiled childs. within the span of a decade they created and flight tested the AH-1, AH-56, YA-9, A-10, S-67 Black Hawk, Bell 301, only to reject most of them and create the YAH-63 and YAH-64 and finally, pickup the later as the Apache. Later the A-10 was criticized as too slow, daylight only, and single seater, so the A-7F, A-16 and A-10B were compared.

Total 11 machines for the CAS role !

Yet the A-10 is still there, and the F-35 is unable to replace it. :(
 

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While I will not say that the Army is not myopic, there were other circumstances that confirmed the Army's myopia. First the budget was shrinking and things were being cut. AH-56A was perceived as being an expensive troubled program. Second after Lam Song 719 there was very real concern over helicopter survivability in a highly contested environment and Europe was becoming the focus with a very large and capable Army looking west across the IGB. The Army did studies that showed very low flying helicopters, sniping at the enemy from long distances seemed to survive longer than those conducting high speed attack runs. Bell of course highlighted that by putting the TOW missile system on the AH-1 you could get what was needed without all of the expense and logistics of a new airframe. So, (perceived) lame duck expense in a tight budget with a less expensive solution readily available... well.

Unfortunately, there are no winged compound rotorcraft in the Army's Joint Multi-Role program at the moment. Once the requirements for the Future Vertical Lift are put out on the street we will see if any show up. Lockheed of course has embraced X2, so there is very little likelihood of "Son of Cheyenne" from them.

There are many in the Army who love to sigh over beer at what might have been.
 

Triton

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Archibald said:
The Army and Air Force were two spoiled childs. within the span of a decade they created and flight tested the AH-1, AH-56, YA-9, A-10, S-67 Black Hawk, Bell 301, only to reject most of them and create the YAH-63 and YAH-64 and finally, pickup the later as the Apache. Later the A-10 was criticized as too slow, daylight only, and single seater, so the A-7F, A-16 and A-10B were compared.

Total 11 machines for the CAS role !

Yet the A-10 is still there, and the F-35 is unable to replace it. :(
You forgot to mention the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II that provides all-weather CAS to the United States Marine Corps, which the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lighting II is intended to replace.
 

Triton

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yasotay said:
While I will not say that the Army is not myopic, there were other circumstances that confirmed the Army's myopia. First the budget was shrinking and things were being cut. AH-56A was perceived as being an expensive troubled program. Second after Lam Song 719 there was very real concern over helicopter survivability in a highly contested environment and Europe was becoming the focus with a very large and capable Army looking west across the IGB. The Army did studies that showed very low flying helicopters, sniping at the enemy from long distances seemed to survive longer than those conducting high speed attack runs. Bell of course highlighted that by putting the TOW missile system on the AH-1 you could get what was needed without all of the expense and logistics of a new airframe. So, (perceived) lame duck expense in a tight budget with a less expensive solution readily available... well.

Unfortunately, there are no winged compound rotorcraft in the Army's Joint Multi-Role program at the moment. Once the requirements for the Future Vertical Lift are put out on the street we will see if any show up. Lockheed of course has embraced X2, so there is very little likelihood of "Son of Cheyenne" from them.

There are many in the Army who love to sigh over beer at what might have been.
Does an X2 compound rotorcraft have an advantage over tilt-rotor when flying in contested environments?
 

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Triton said:
yasotay said:
While I will not say that the Army is not myopic, there were other circumstances that confirmed the Army's myopia. First the budget was shrinking and things were being cut. AH-56A was perceived as being an expensive troubled program. Second after Lam Song 719 there was very real concern over helicopter survivability in a highly contested environment and Europe was becoming the focus with a very large and capable Army looking west across the IGB. The Army did studies that showed very low flying helicopters, sniping at the enemy from long distances seemed to survive longer than those conducting high speed attack runs. Bell of course highlighted that by putting the TOW missile system on the AH-1 you could get what was needed without all of the expense and logistics of a new airframe. So, (perceived) lame duck expense in a tight budget with a less expensive solution readily available... well.

Unfortunately, there are no winged compound rotorcraft in the Army's Joint Multi-Role program at the moment. Once the requirements for the Future Vertical Lift are put out on the street we will see if any show up. Lockheed of course has embraced X2, so there is very little likelihood of "Son of Cheyenne" from them.

There are many in the Army who love to sigh over beer at what might have been.
Does an X2 compound rotorcraft have an advantage over tilt-rotor when flying in contested environments?
Speaking overall, and not in every single possible scenario, if you are Bell, or a Tilt-Rotor devotee such as I, you would say, "No". If you were an X2 aficionado and had faith that eventually it would start making rapid progress, you'd say, "Yes".

Hopefully, JMR and FVL (if it doesn't get abandoned) will give us some answers. BTW, Lockheed is also on the Tilt-Rotor team.
 

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Triton said:
Does an X2 compound rotorcraft have an advantage over tilt-rotor when flying in contested environments?
I can only think of two.
[list type=decimal]
[*]The X2 doesn't have a translation time for the rotors to go from vertical to horizontal. I don't know how fast the tiltrotors can convert or if there are maneuvering restrictions during translation, but in the abstract I'd consider that a disadvantage.

[*]The X2, if equipped with door gunners, doesn't have as much firing arc restriction as a tiltrotor would have while flying in airplane mode. Or, for that matter, in helicopter mode, since the TR's rotor disc spans out much wider than the X2.
[/list]
 

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If the rumor and innuendo are to be believed, the JMR efforts, on paper and simulation, appear to be very competitive. Once the SB>1 Defiant gets in the air and real flying things can be tested we ought get some information how they compare. We have to remember that JMR is not FVL. The requirements for FVL have not been finalized yet and the teams will have to compete for the actual program.
 

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Jeb said:
Triton said:
Does an X2 compound rotorcraft have an advantage over tilt-rotor when flying in contested environments?
I can only think of two.
[list type=decimal]
[*]The X2 doesn't have a translation time for the rotors to go from vertical to horizontal. I don't know how fast the tiltrotors can convert or if there are maneuvering restrictions during translation, but in the abstract I'd consider that a disadvantage.

[*]The X2, if equipped with door gunners, doesn't have as much firing arc restriction as a tiltrotor would have while flying in airplane mode. Or, for that matter, in helicopter mode, since the TR's rotor disc spans out much wider than the X2.
[/list]
In the RFI, the Army mission profiles all have what appears to be a 20mm (based on ammo weight) cannon
modeled on the XM301 (based on gun weight) in addition to two pintle-mounted M240s.

The "near-360 degree coverage" (mentioned elsewhere in the RFI) probably implies a turret.
 

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