The research and development of the (AH1 Cheyenne) began in April 2011. This was driven by the concerns of the Chinese build up of military power and its expansion in the South China Sea. I saw a future market in development.
The characteristics of the Cheyenne as a heavy armed twin engine all composite scout-gunship would provide advanced capabilities in the theater of operation. Having a low radar signature would provide a significant edge on the battlefield and could change the balance of power for those countries that deploy these technologies.
The all composite airframe construction offers a number of significant advantages to include a significantly lower life-cycle maintenance costs, a longer air frame life than conventional metal aircraft and most importantly it will have a lower radar signature, thus giving anyone deploying this technology a major advantage on the battlefield.
The helicopter (AH1-Cheyenne) design is a low radar design with all composite construction. Armament for this helicopter will be the M230 chain gun 30mm which is the same armament carried on the U.S. Army AH64 Apache. This gun is capable of defeating heavy armor including tanks. In addition, the helicopter will carry two mini guns of .338 caliber which is an ideal weapon for anti-personnel engagements and lightly armored vehicle engagement. The two guns, with a range in excess of 1500 meters, are capable of delivering 10,000+ RDS down range per minute. This aircraft, which could also carry an assortment of rockets and missiles, will have a broad range of capabilities including scout and combat operations against armored targets.
Once research reaches maturity, the next stage would be development for production.
China will become more military aggressive in the South China Sea as well as other regions in the South Pacific.