Another interesting air to air helicopter study was conducted in 1978 when the USAF's 20th SOS flew UH-1's and CH-53's (painted in Eastern Bloc paint schemes) as Aggressor (Red Force) aircraft against US Army AH-1 and OH-58 helicopters. The second phase included helicopter versus fighter jet aircraft.
I know it's not my place to question the geniuses running things down in DC but perhaps Army aviation could have used some addition funding in 2004 that would have allowed for production of the RAH-66 while keeping upgrade plans for the CH-47, UH-60, and AH-64. Going through all that effort just to cancel it because of fears that it's going to eat the budget seems incredibly wasteful.
Going back even further I think axing the light utility helicopter from LHX was a mistake too. That could have had a lot of potential on the export markets even.
Could the RAH-66 return? I don't see why not if there is a willingness to accept that it is still going to cost a large sum of money to update the design and establish the chain of production. If you're looking for a survivable reconnaissance helicopter I think picking up where they left off might be smarter than starting with a clean sheet of paper.
FARA is a bit different though because of the focus on speed and I don't see a way you could achieve the sort of signature reduction the RAH-66 did while using a compound helicopter or tilt-rotor configuration. Although I don't think a tilt-rotor is in consideration for FARA anymore now that Bell said their offering will be derived from the Bell 525 instead of the V-280 Valor.
So I'd say if whatever Sikorsky offers based on the S-97 for FARA doesn't work out it should return. I suppose I shouldn't rule out the other contenders but Bell's offering of what is probably going to be a conventional design without extensive signature reduction doesn't seem like a great choice to me when there are other options on the table.
I am a scale modeller, been doing that since childhood, and ever since I am in love with the design of this helicopter.
Right now I am building one in 1/72 scale by modifying Revell's kit, which will be followed by 1/48th Italeri kit.
Is there any chance someone has more detailed photos of the rotor hub cover from the Ft Rucker bird?
Also I am interested in any photo/drawing of the open panels of the starboard side.
I had a chance to see it in 2016 but due to not having a Credit card I couldn't rent a car.....next time I will go straight there.