Back Lockheed AH-56 "Cheyenne"

Lockheed AH-56

The Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne attack helicopter was created in response to the US Army's need for a fast, armoured and heavily armed helicopter to supplement the escort/attack role.

The Cheyenne featured a revolutionary compound helicopter configuration as well as a gyro-controlled rigid-rotor and three-bladed pusher tail propeller as well as a four-bladed anti-torque rotor. It had small wings attached to the side of the fuselage that could off-load the rotor during high speed flight. The helicopter was powered by a 4350shp General Electric T64-GE-16 gas turbine engine derated to 3925shp. The Cheyenne could accommodate a crew of two sitting in tandem in the enclosed cockpit with the gunner co-pilot in front of the pilot on a gun platform which could swivel 360°. A second gun system was housed in a nose turret. Six under-wing attachment points were used for missiles or rocket pods. The sophisticated weapon-sighting system included night-vision equipment and a helmet-gun sight.

The Cheyenne at first proved highly capable and in December 1967 the Army ordered a production batch of 375 Cheyennes. During further flight testing however there were three crashes. The helicopter proved unstable at high speeds in excess of 320km/h. After the third crash in 1969, when the main rotor collided with the fuselage, the production order was delayed. Further design modifications took place and by 1972 most of the Cheyennes' faults were cured but the program was cancelled due to budgetary problems. There were ten Cheyennes built.

Armed with a nose turret, with either a 7.62mm minigun or 30mm XM140 cannon, or a 40mm XM 129 grenade launcher, wing mounted TOW missiles or 2.75mm rocket pods, the Cheyenne could cruise at 388kmh with a max speed of 407km/h. It had a rate of climb in excess of 1025m/min and a range of 1970km.

P.Allen "The Helicopter", 1996

Lockheed AH-56

The ambitious AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter, with which Lockheed hoped to establish a foothold in the rotary wing sector, was in fact a resounding failure for the Californian company. It featured a rigid main and tail rotor, which Lockheed had been researching since 1959 — a rigid rotor enables helicopters to perform genuine aerobatic manoeuvres.

The AH-56A Cheyenne was driven by a General Electric T64 turbine delivering over 3400shp. It had a stub wing with an 8m span and an area of 24m2, attachment points for six underwing stores weighing 900kg each, a streamlined fuselage with a tandem cabin seating arrangement, retractable front landing gear units, a fixed tailwheel, a rigid four-blade anti-torque tail rotor and three-blade pusher propeller at the tip of the tail boom. However the Cheyenne was technically too complicated and US Army orders were cancelled and development suspended in 1972.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

Lockheed AH-56

Developed as Lockheed's entry in the Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition, the Cheyenne was a highly sophisticated compound rotorcraft whose design incorporated several features pioneered in Lockheed's earlier XH-51A. The Cheyenne was named winner of the AAFSS contest in March 1966, at which time Lockheed was awarded an Army contract for the production of ten YAH-56A prototypes. The first of these made its maiden flight in September 1967, and all ten aircraft (serials 66-8826 through -8835) had been delivered to the Army for flight testing by July 1968. In January of that year the Army had placed an initial order for 375 production machines, and the ten prototypes were subsequently redesignated AH-56A in early 1969.

The Cheyenne was, to say the least, a rather exotic-looking aircraft. The forward end of its long and narrow fuselage was dominated by an outsized segmented canopy covering a tandem, two-seat cockpit, while the tailboom supported a large ventral fin, a conventional anti-torque tail rotor, and a decidedly unconventional pusher propeller. A pair of small, low-set stub wings fixed to the fuselage sides contributed to the Cheyenne's hybrid look, as did its retractable, wheeled main landing gear. The AH-56A's ungainly appearance was deceptive, however, for in flight the craft was amazingly agile and extremely fast. The Cheyenne's impressive performance was the product of an innovative propulsion system built around a 3435shp General Electric shaft turbine engine. This powerplant drove a rigid, four-bladed, gyro-stabilized main rotor, the tail-mounted anti-torque rotor, and the pusher propeller at the extreme end of the tailboom. During vertical and hovering flight all power was applied to the main and anti-torque rotors, while during forward flight all but about 700shp was shafted to the pusher propeller. In forward flight lift was generated by the stub wings and windmilling main rotor, and in absolutely 'clean' configuration the AH-56A was capable of sea-level speeds in excess of 400kph.

The Army's AAFSS specifications had called for an aircraft capable of undertaking armed escort, long range interdiction, fire support, and anti-tank operations by day or night and in all weathers, and the Cheyenne had been armed and equipped accordingly. The AH-56A's armament consisted of a nose turret housing either an XM129 40mm automatic grenade launcher or XM134 7.62mm multi-barrelled minigun, a 30mm cannon mounted in a revolving belly turret, and an impressive number of TOW anti-tank missiles and/or pods of 2.75 inch unguided rockets carried on underwing hardpoints. The Cheyenne's day and night, all-weather flight capability was based on an extensive avionics suite which included automatic terrain-following radar, Doppler radar, an inertial navigation unit, and an automatic flight control system that allowed high-speed flight at altitudes as low as fifteen feet.

Despite its technological sophistication, or perhaps because of it, the AH-56A was fated never to enter regular Army service. The flight test programme revealed several significant problems with the aircraft's innovative propulsion system, problems which ultimately resulted in the fatal crash of one of the ten prototypes. In addition, by March 1979 significant cost overruns had increased the per-unit Cheyenne price by more than $500.000, an increase that was unacceptable in light of the Army's continued high expenditures in support of operations in Vietnam. And, finally, the USAF had become increasingly vocal in its opposition to the Army's acquisition of an aircraft as capable as the Cheyenne, and continued to push for the cancellation of the AH-56 project. The Army ultimately decided to develop a cheaper and less sophisicated helicopter in place of the Cheyenne, and in August 1972 formally terminated the AH-56 programme.

S.Harding "U.S.Army Aircraft since 1947", 1990

Photo Gallery 

An AH-56A with underwing stores and a 30mm antitank cannon in a turret under the fuselage

Technical data for AH-56A "Cheyenne"

Crew: 2, engine: 1 x General Electric T64-GE-16 rated at 2580kW, main rotor diameter: 15.36m, length: 18.30m, height: 4.10m, take-off weight: 13600kg, empty weight: 5320kg, max speed: 408km/h

Monterey, e-mail, 14.03.2016

Hi all,
My dad worked photography/filming documentation for the Cheyenne flight test program; I believe it was from the '69 to '71 time frame. I know part of his work included filming weapons testing; I'm not sure if he did any chase plane filming himself, but he's talked about the program using P-51 Mustangs outfitted with camera mounts for filming.
I can tell that working on the Cheyenne program was one of his most exciting and rewarding experiences. He gets that far away look and a gleam in his eye whenever he tells me stories...
At one point he had a few original photos from the program but they are long gone; lost before I was born. Does anyone have a high-quality collection of pictures they could send me, digitally or otherwise? I would love to show them to my dad and see if he was behind the camera for any of them!

Antonio Mariscal, e-mail, 15.12.2015


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Joe W..Duran, e-mail, 13.12.2015

I worked as a Spare Parts Analyst for Lockheed on the H-56, for a little over a year; it was a beautiful aircraft.
Something like dream with all the new innovations for that time.

NeoConShooter, e-mail, 12.12.2015

I was working for DoD some time ago when this chopper came up for discussion and we all agreed, with two decades of hind sight, that this chopper was too expensive, complicated and had too much of the wrong type of performance and not enough of the right kind. It's cancellation was well deserved. It was not as good as it could be flying NOE and all the excess performance added weight that precluded better NOE and drove the cost up. No mater how fast it was, that was speed you had a great deal of trouble using and it restricted the performance that you did need. Choppers are not fast enough to dodge missiles, they must avoid them by limiting exposure that is NOE!

Kelly, e-mail, 05.07.2014

My Dad was the pilot that got killed in the March 12, 1969 crash. I know there is a video out there was wondering if anyone knew anything about that. Also any information about other pilots and the Cheyenne program would be greatly appreciated.

Snake, e-mail, 18.07.2012

To put into perspective how much better an almost 50 year old design is than the AH64 Apache in performance alone:

AH56 Cheyenne
Maximum speed: 212 knots (244 mph, 393 km/h)
Cruise speed: 195 kn (225 mph, 362 km/h)
Range: 1,063 nmi (1,225 mi, 1,971 km)
Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
Rate of climb: 3,000 ft/min (15.23 m/s)

AH64 Apache
Maximum speed: 158 knots (182 mph, 293 km/h)
Cruise speed: 143 knots (165 mph, 265 km/h)
Range: 257 nmi (295 mi, 476 km) with Longbow radar mast
Service ceiling: 21,000 ft (6,400 m) minimum loaded
Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (12.7 m/s)

Bell Helicopter and the USAF killed the AH-56 Cheyenne. Lockheed exceeded the requirements of the contract and to this day would smoke an Apache in a one off competition. There were two losses related only to P-Hop, one off the coast of CA resulting only because the safety mechanism had been disabled for the test and the other in a wind tunnel test where it was overlooked that the functional testing required the aircraft to move not remain bolted in stationary frame. The resulting out of balance effect and oscillation literally tore the AH56 apart in the wind tunnel.

Lockheed was ahead of it's time but the underdog from the start.

Steven, 07.12.2011

I dont know, looks a little to big making it quite an easy to find target. Apache and Cobras are smaller and so are more difficult to spot from a distance to warn AA gunners or SAM sites.

shoes, e-mail, 11.06.2011

Another great effort ruined by politics.

bob, e-mail, 05.03.2011

theres one on display at ft campbell kentucky

Arthur Moss, e-mail, 09.10.2010

I helped write the Cheyene proposal, and wrote a portion of the L-286 Flight handBook. Another feature of the Cheyene was self-deployment(CA to Hawaii). I also was in the position at LAC to know the C5-B was supposed to get the bigger CF6-80's that are being installed now. The AF is still dumb, as the airlines use all 60K Lb thrust with little reduction in reliability. Brilliant AF & Congress (NOT). WE are spending millions of research $ trying to accomplish what exists, and has been proven.

LS BANTER, e-mail, 27.09.2010

The one at FORT RUCKER in ALABAMA is still thare. Under going restoration as of last year. Very good looking machine indeed!

Vic, e-mail, 16.09.2010

Virtually all electric and electronic systems were in boxes that were rack mounted and removable. The Crew Chief plugged in a test set and changed out the faulty box. Fast turn around but expensive spare parts management. Gunner in front was on a seat that spun 360 degrees to stay on target. Many pilots who tried the front seat, head buried in the sight, had air sickness problems. Non pilots did pretty good. Maybe Berch knows who gave me a dollar ride at Ft. Hood in probably 1970. I was an AMOC 64823 Commanding a DS company at the time.

BlueMax 39, e-mail, 29.07.2010

I had twin back to back tours flying Cobra's with the 1st Air Cavalry, RVN. Naturally all the Snake drivers were enthusiastic about this superb machine. Lockheed hit a home run with this aircraft...and Congress failed to field it. It is beyond shameful that politics took precedence over exceptional engineering! The Cheyenne would have upped the stakes with Soviet Union, thereby inspiring them to produce a higher-quality helicopter. In the long run this competitiveness would have benefitted the entire industry...Worldwide. MBB fielded their rigid rotor. It is in widespread use today, globally. Manoeuvrability is not the only beneficial aspect of this design. The Cheyenne would have been much more durable dealing with severe weather and operating out of difficult, sloped environments, than anything built to date. What’s up with that?

Samuel Montaño, e-mail, 17.07.2010

Es muy ineressante, pero podrían, talvez, tener algunas imágenes de los cohetes de 23.75mm. Desde Bolivia un cordial saludo

Sandy Magar-Speed, e-mail, 14.04.2010

My father, Claud R. Magar Jr. was with the Cheyenne program from the early 60's at Ft. Eustus, then on to Bell Helicopter in 1966-1967, to Vietnam with the 3rd AVN Co, and then 5 years at Yuma Proving Grounds, where he was often TDY to Lockheed in Van Nuys. I'd love to hear the stories of people who were with the program and knew him, or knew of the Cheyenne project. My mother, a former WAC was the first woman to fly in the Cheyenne. The guys flying them at Arlington, Tx Bell Helicopter put her in a flight suit and took her for a ride in 1966.

APHELY, e-mail, 24.03.2010

c'est un très belle appareille que vous avez chers amis américain.Mais es ce qu'il est plus fprt que l'appache? parce que contrairement a son cousin l'appache il n'est pas très médiatique

Jim Farrar, e-mail, 10.03.2010

I was at Ft.Rucker in 1971 and there was one in the museum.It had the cyclic stick mounted on the right side of the cocpit.It was complete except some instruments were missing from instrument panel.Yes,it was the best A/H ever built.

Bart Maham, e-mail, 14.01.2010

If you're on the way to Hampton Roads Virginia get off at Fort Eustis. Tell the gate guard you want to visit the Museum and you'll see a Cheyenne there. 30 minute detour if you can tear yourself away from this really cool museum. Have you ever seen a US Army Locomotive? An Army "flying saucer" Enjoy.

atphelo, e-mail, 18.12.2009

Well, it wasn't the Cheyenne that crashed at Farnborough, but the Sikorsky S-67, Sikorsky's competition to the Cheyenne. And it was 1974 (I should have remembered that because I was in ABu Dhabi in '74). So much for an old fart memories...

Atphelo, e-mail, 18.12.2009

I remember following the development of the Cheyenne after getting out of the army in 1970. The tactics we developed and used in Vietnam in '68 (advancing from the old "C" model into the AH-1G) where being changed rapidly while I was in Germany with NOE (nap or the earth) and the first NVG with the idea that someday, we would be trying to slow down the Russians in their push to the sea ( which never happened, thank God). But we were all watching the Cheyenne being developed and I was working for Bristow Helicopters, Abu Dhabi, in 1972 when word that the Cheyenne on demonstration at the Farnborough Air Show in England had crashed. It was doing a low level roll and simply flew into the ground, destroying the AC and killing the crew. It was shortly after that when we heard the Cheyenne program was dead. I'm sure there is archival video of the accident somewhere. I remember seeing it back then. Amazing machine for the time and, according to you young guys, sounds like a much needed machine for today's environment...

billyBA, e-mail, 16.11.2009

Whiskers is a $#@%ASS probably a guard of reserve guy!

Cobra, 08.10.2009

Oops, I meant Whiskers64

Cobra, 08.10.2009

To Manatee:

One of the things (but not the only one) that killed Cheyenne was when Army expanded its role from Chinook escort to CAS. Even thogh USAF was not equipped to do true CAS, it said that that mission belonged to them and lobbied against the vehicle. Then, Army made the political mistake of demonstrating that with the pusher prop in beta, AH-56 could dive bomb. AF went ballistic and really ramped up the lobbying. In fact, half of the reason AF stated developing A-10 was to kill Cheyenne. There were other factors in AH-56's demise as well, but that was a big one.

Whiskers64, e-mail, 09.09.2009

Flying Apaches in the mountains of Afghanistan, I realized the need for such an aircraft. We flew the Apaches at low level, high speed all the time and effectively engaged the enemy. An AH-56 would have given us the speed and legs needed to cover vast amounts of area in the mountains. With an AH-56 we would have alleviated the need for any other CAS in theatre. As a matter of fact, even with Apaches, we were called in before any other CAS when possible. I asked many times for the mini gun pods for the Apache (an easy retrofit). This request was met with rolling eyes and muted laughter at the old man for even asking such a question. The result would have been immediate. Fear and intimidation from an awesome weapon spitting fire is still the best in any war.

BERCH RICHARD, e-mail, 05.09.2009

I was one of the pilots on the Cheyenne program, based in Oxnard and Yuma Proving Grounds. The AH-56A that is located at Ft Polk has been loving restored, and is actually prettier than any we actually flew. It is located at the entrance to the Airfield, and is quite impressive. It was an incredible aircraft, and would have changed military aviation, and the passenger carrying version would have changed short-haul commercial aviation. Stopping the program was one of the worse decisions our military planners have made. Some of the other pilots were Don Segner(the boss)Ray Goudy, Chuck Hench, Chuck Tucker, Tony Wilcox, and Dave Beal.

SPC SUE, 31.07.2009

TO let people know there is one of these 9 aircrafts setting at the airfield at Fort Polk Louisiana

Anthony Tarbush, e-mail, 21.06.2009

I attended AIT school at Ft. Eustis Va. as a 68F10 with a Zulu tab as the prototype program for the now standard AH-64 Apache in 1984 ( May 1984 - Aug 1984 ). In my own time I retrofitted and made repairs to all avionics on Cheyenne at the Transportation School Museum . At end of repairs I was allowed to fire up electrically and see the fruits of my labor. My name was added to fuselage as a crewcheif even though at time I was not a 67N (Utility Helicopter repairman ) but evetually achieved this at FT. Rucker Al. in later service. Last week June 15 2009 I went to visit my Cheyenne and was disappointed on two fronts , 1 ) The museum was closed to visitors on Mondays but as an Officers meeting was being held their I was allowed inside only to find my Cheyenne missing. At a video demonstration I saw the Cheyenne on video on the grounds but after going outside not in sight , 2} I found the Cheyenne was moved to storage and not in public view due to consolidation with Ft. Monroe. I hope that the Cheyenne is placed back on view in the museum soon. Hope this may help some of you find a specimen to see up close and personal.

Al, e-mail, 27.05.2009

I was stationed at Yuma Proving Ground in 1967-1968 after returning from Viet Nam. I was part of the 3rd Aviation Company (Attack Helicopter) USAMC that was the first unit formed to support the Cheyenne. If anyone has any information on this unit please contact me. The unit, like the Cheyenne, seems to have disappeared from the history of the US Army.

Richard Baker, e-mail, 01.05.2009

As noted by others above, there is a Cheyenne at Ft. Campbell. Saw it in 1991 and was amazed at the large size of this aircraft! After seeing the size of the Cobra and Apache, this large gunship would have carried one hellacious weapons payload!

Richard Baker, e-mail, 01.05.2009

As noted by others above, there is a Cheyenne at Ft. Campbell. Saw it in 1991 and was amazed at the large size of this aircraft! After seeing the size of the Cobra and Apache, this large gunship would have carried one hellacious weapons payload!

Tiger 15, e-mail, 01.04.2009

Another great effort ruined by politics.

Andrew Small, e-mail, 24.02.2009

I know the whereabouts of two Cheyennes, they're empty hulls though. One is at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker. Last time I was there they'd moved it next door in a fenced area with a winged-chinook. The other I last saw in 1989 at Fort Campbell, KY at the museum there. It was outside too, but I haven't been up there since, it may be gone.

Dave Roby, e-mail, 15.01.2009

I was an aircraft systems engineer promoted into the AAFSS (Advanced Aerial Fire Support System) Army Program
Management Office in October 1967. I eventually became the Chief Systems Engineer on the APACHE. However, I take the most pride in having been identified as one of the "six Cheyenne biased bastards" in a statement I understand was attributed to Mr. Resor, the then Secretary of the Army.
While the Cheyenne Program was ultimately killed/massacred by a host of external forces (Air Force concerns with it's A-10 program, Bell Helicopterand Sikorsky business practices, Lockheeds own "failures" on UH-1 depot maintenance contracts, shipbuilding schedule problems, C-5A contract 'Golden Handshake Clause"--a clause in the C-5A contract, with which Congress took issue, that allowed Lockheed to recoup any financial loss on the contract for the first 25 on any subsequent reorder (after all the s---settled the Air Force continued with at least two additional buys of C-5's) and finally the various development problems with the most advanced helicopter ever conceived--please note at this juncture the final test report from Edwards Air Force Base issued just after the Cheyenne Program termination which in the report identified the Cheyenne Helicopter 'as the finest 'aircraft'' they had ever tested.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with an APACHE pilot at an Air Show at Scott Air Force Base who had recently returned from Afganistan. He confirmed the uselessness of the AH-64D at altitude.
The Cheyenne aircraft, at a design gross weight of 18,995 and max alternate gross weight of 29,995, equipped with the APACHE's mission equipment package, would truely be any pilot's wet dream.

Steve, e-mail, 23.11.2008

My father, Bud Alne, was the program manager for the Cheyenne in Yuma. My brother and I would ride our minibikes in the dessert and watch it blow up old cars. I sat in the gunners seat and wore the helmet that would aim the guns as it moved. The politics is what killed it. Just as it got ready for serious production the requirements for an advanced attack helicopter added all weather attack ability which was never in the requirements for the Cheyenne.

Mark Motley, e-mail, 13.11.2008

I had a chance to talk to an Engineer at Lockheed during this period: C5 galaxy,C-130, and he mentioned the "politics" going on and making things tough to get things done right.

grunthog-FOL 3, e-mail, 07.11.2008

As an MP at Ft Knox, KTY in ’72, I believe I saw this A/H there. Silver in color, it was just flying around. We were told initially that it was not part of our ‘problem’ and to ignore it, but within minutes we were told to consider it as active and hostile. I started to observe and evade/hide the A/C more and he did several low –low passes on our -113, and disappeared. I was driving the GAVIN and suddenly was face-face with him on a small rise. BANG; I broke right and hit a low-cut pine stump and kissed the drivers turret-ring hard and was out cold. He broke right and is probably still laughing.

A wonderful beast, killed off by in play power developments and its own complexities and Army / Air Force air-space rivalries, and it was possibly the most beautiful CAS machine ever, even if I am and old ‘pig farmer’ FOL 3/ GLO/NORTHAG, if you know what I mean.

Mike Gray, e-mail, 23.09.2008

I would spend hours at the coffee shop on the Van Nuys airport watching the Cheyenne fly from the Lockheed facility that maintained them in 1968. The reason I became an Army pilot rather than Air Force was to fly this aircraft. One (of many) technologies mothballed by inter-service rivalries. Imagine the aircraft we would have today, with the Cheyenne and 30+ years of development. I ended up in a Charley model and the early AH-1G’s (crummy ship at night because of reflection inside the green tint canopy). A 1960’s design, with 60’s avionics, that had a performance envelope beyond that of an Apache, before wide use of graphic composites and modern elastomeric. The Army has finally purchased a rigid-rotor airframe; they bought it from MBB/Eurocopter, an excellent aircraft I’ve had the fortune to fly in several countries.

micky leighton, e-mail, 10.09.2008

I remember seeing this aircraft as it flew over Yuma proving grounds,in 1969.As a boy of 10 with a dad that was part of the original test group being around this beast was awesome.I've seen it do things that no helicopter had ever done back then.Loop da loops,barrel rolls,split esses, and the firepower was scarry,3000 rounds of 30 mike-mike at night in the desert will or could convince anyone this is or was the next aircraft to fly and protect our guys in Nam. My father saved and gave me some pieces of the main rotor blade of the last one to crash in testing at Yuma just before it was to be canceled. Its a Damn shame the Army didnt keep this bird,Speed, firepower,long before the Cobra.

Gerasld Stephenson, e-mail, 30.08.2008

One of the remaining Ah-56A's is in fort Polk, La. In so-so shape; hanger mounts from wings not installed; pretty well picked clean. but it is still there!

Sid E. Schneider, e-mail, 27.08.2008

When I first saw the AH 64 Cheyenne. I fell in love with it. Got a model that I have sense lost. But polities seem to have been the main blame. As the XB-70, Boeing's SST(any SST would have the same the time), plus. I may first seen it in the newspaper or on TV. But an aunt did work for L.

hughes, e-mail, 10.08.2008

i always like cheyenne gunship because of its design,it has an extra propeller on its tail to move faster.well its totally a unique and avery well designed helicopter.

Lukas Farber, e-mail, 30.07.2008

I have been doing some very extensive research on this airframe while at fort rucker for flight school. We are talking about 2.5 hours on station with 30 minutes transit time and a top speed of 240 knots (holy crap)I have not been to the "sandbox" yet however from what I understand this acft is exactly what we need over there. Once I get out of flight school I will try my hardest to get at least a test bed of one or two acft up and flying. I am going to contact Lockheed and see how much it would cost to get an updated model (touchscreen panels similiar to the Apache, fully digital fire control system, 4275 hp T64-GE-716 engine, AMCS, and all other final improvements made to the Cheyenne). There were a total of 11 cheyennes made (one static test article) 4 are still intact. If anyone can direct me to some people who can help restore the cheyenne to operational (in the process of contacting Dn Segner) or if you have experience in the field and can point out the Apache's shortcoming please email me at (if you have an AKO account you can email me that way also)-Wo1 Luke, William M.

Migz, e-mail, 16.06.2008

I first saw this incredible machine as a kid my uncles house. He had cable and I was awe struck. I later found a hold helicopter book with it and it's specs I was impressed it was fast heavily armed. I feel if they had built it there would be no AH-64 the would have just upgraded the Cheyenne. Could you image it with 16 hellfire missiles and the fact that it could use it's 30mm cannon for heavy targets and a 7.62mm mini-gun for softer targets. To bad it didn't set any records due to symantecs aerodyne vs helio. I think the reason it was canceled had to do more with the Air Force crying foul for developing a helicopter that was too bad. As far number I'm not to sure how many were actually produced I know 1 crashed for sure. A 2nd may have to. I think 2 made it to a museum. 10 were suppose to be built for evaluation that means 2 down 2 in a museum but where are the other 6?

steve, e-mail, 22.05.2008

Another air force forced cancellation this when fully developed would have been the ultimate A H until the Apache and the Apache would be a better design

DODSWORTH, e-mail, 19.05.2008

This helicopter gunship of 1950's is very well designed.Truly cheyenne is great.

cocknuckle, e-mail, 31.03.2008

I agree with whiskers. I just returned from Afghanistan flying AH64D Longbones... and they were nearly useless. We had better technology in 1968!

Unkldave, e-mail, 07.02.2008

I flew one of these fine aircraft in 1978 from Fort Hood Tx to the airfield at Fort Eustis Va. where it was to be decommissioned and put into the museum on static display. That is not to say that I didn't have some fun on the flight over. Verrrrry fast and boy did that thing handle!It was very odd to have the main rotor so close overhead?

whiskers, e-mail, 30.12.2007

Yeah, this aircraft would have been perfect for the Afghanistan AO. We routinely flew behind 47s and 60s, all the time asking them to slow down since we couldn't keep up. But we keep on relying on the Air Force for CAS. Don't ask the Canucks how they feel about A-10s delivering CAS. They were too busy ducking for cover.

Charles Migot, e-mail, 14.12.2007

Where are the remaining 9 aircraft?

CannonFodder, 18.11.2007

Ummm...yeah, just look at the last line of the text.
"The Army ultimately decided to develop a cheaper and less sophisicated helicopter in place of the Cheyenne, and in August 1972 formally terminated the AH-56 programme."

Sgt.KAR98, 07.10.2007


"STINGRAY", e-mail, 26.11.2006


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© Since the Cheyenne project, Lockheed has not put a military or civil helicopter into production.

© Power of the T64 engine was increased to 3,922hp during testing.

© Cancellation, in May 1969, came just six months before production began.

© In common with other US Army helicopters, the Cheyenne was named after a native American tribe.

© The highly manoeuvrable AH-56 was found to be a stable weapons platform.

© The other short-listed AAFSS prototype was the Sikorsky S-66.

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