The AH-72 Commanchero Heavy Attack Helicopter was an attack helicopter of that played a crucial role in various combat zones during during the Global War. A personnel transport variant also existed for the Robotech Defense Force.
The Commanchero was begun by MBB because the previous European attack helicopters were shown in the Global War to be too light. MBB therefore designed the heavy Commanchero helicopter, drawing its inspiration from earlier Russian helocopters rather than from Western gunships. This design was very popular among the Western militaries, and was licensed to a number of manufacturers, including Bellcom and Sivorky in the U.S.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
This helicopter was the first ever to mount four turboshaft engines, which gave the heavy vehicle a very impressive performance. Also impressive was the sensor suite, with both a nose- and a mast-mounted sight system. The armor was equally impressive, capable of withstanding 30mm strikes at vital spots. As additional survival features, the Commanchero was equipped with ejection seats and explosive bolts to sever the rotors. The armament was terrifyingly effective, with a triple 12.7mm machinegun for anti-personnel use, a fixed 32mm cannon for use against personnel carriers and the vulnerable sides of tanks, and six hardpoints under the wing for a normal load of 24 Hellfire missiles, or 16 Hellfires and 72 unguided rockets. If necessary, fuel tanks or gun pods could be mounted as well.The Commanchero was extensively used in the Global War, first by unificationist factions and later by the Anti-Unification League's as well, after an entire self-sufficient Commanchero factory complex fell into their hands. The Commanchero was picked by the UNDF after the GCW as the premier close-combat vehicle. This was done because, apart from mecha, a helicopter was the only craft that could approach alien mecha characteristics. The Commanchero was thus equipped with the standard radar and electronic warfare systems of the UNDF, and the hardpoints were wired for pods with no less than 10 short range Brimstone missiles. This gave the Commanchero no less than 60 missiles at full load. In addition, the 32mm cannon was replaced with a newer one that fired the same ammunition as the weapon in the Spartan's TZ-IV gun cluster. With the speed and mobility of a helicopter, the Commanchero was as powerful as could possiblly be achieved with Terran technologies.
The skin of the Commanchero was composed of treated steel plate. The armored skin stopped all small arms fire, provided good protection against heavier infantry weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and fair resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round.
The Commanchero saw some use following the First Robotech War, particularly during the Malcontent Uprisings. It was was adopted by the Southern Cross' Tactical Corps, but was later mothballed in favor of more advanced units.