It was going to make the Cobra and the Apache obsolete. The new breed of close air support and attack helicopter was a marvel to behold. This was to be the greatest helicopter ever built. Sleek stealth design and internal weapons bay gave the AH-66 an edge against aerial and ground targets. It outperformed the Apache and Cobra helicopters in the area of maximum speed, and its radar cross section was extremely smaller than both older generation helicopters. It didn't have as much room as the Apache or the Cobra for weapons with its internal bays, but what it lacked in weapons it made up for in stealth and speed.However, the program was canceled right before mass production began on the next generation helicopter in 2004.The helicopter made a brief and heroic appearance in the computer game Command and Conquer: Generals, where it wreaked havoc on terrorists and other "enemies" of America. It would not see mass production as the U.S. Army elected to spend the money needed for the fleet of new attack helicopters on updating technology on current airframes.Was it a mistake? After roughly seven billion dollars had been invested into the program, one can't help but wonder why we didn't at least get a fraction of the helicopters instead of the full complement. A stealth helicopter that could sneak up on the enemy surface to air defenses and neutralize them, giving our fighters free reign over the skies? Would the combination of the F-22, F-35, and RAH-66 be a powerful three-punch combination against future adversaries?
Unfortunately, we'll never know because the greatest helicopter to ever be built, never was. But don't get down. If anything this shows how far ahead we are of everyone else. We canceled a stealth helicopter because the money was supposedly better spent elsewhere.What new helicopter will we see in this lifetime with all the new emerging technology?