17 Best Attack Helicopters in the World

best Attack Helicopters
Photo by Lawrence Hookham

There are many different types of helicopters in the World. Some have particular uses that make them unique among their peers.

Attack helicopters are explicitly made to attack the enemy. There are weapons such as rockets, machine guns, and missiles attached.

Here’s a list of the top 17 best attack helicopters in the World!

Table of Contents

  1. Bell AH-1G Cobra
  2. Bell UH-1 Iroquois
  3. Bell H-13 Sioux
  4. Kaman SH-2 Seasprite/H-2 Tomahawk
  5. Agusta/Westland A129 Mangusta (Italy)
  6. Cheyenne Attack Helicopter AH-56
  7. AH-64 Apache
  8. TOS-1 Buratino
  9. Mi-28 Havoc
  10. Eurocopter Tiger
  11. Bell AH-1 SuperCobra
  12. Mi-24 Hind
  13. AH-6 Little Bird
  14. Black Hawk Utility Helicopter UH/HH-60
  15. Ka-50 Hokum
  16. Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow
  17. Mil Mi-28 Havoc

Bell AH-1G Cobra

The first on the list of best attack helicopters is the Bell AH-1G Cobra. It is an American attack helicopter. It first flew as a prototype in 1967. It was introduced to U.S. Army service in 1971 during the Vietnam War. 

The United States Marine Corps has about 100 Cobras. They used it to support amphibious operations during Operation Desert Storm from Southwest Asia and Africa. They functioned as tank-killers against armored vehicles such as armored personnel carriers and tanks.

In addition, it was also used to help defend U.S. bases of operation. And also other friendly units against ground attack by Iraqi infantry units supported by armor. Today, most Cobras serve with training units within U.S. military services.

Bell UH-1 Iroquois

She is perhaps better known as its nickname, Huey, Bell’s Huey Iroquois. It remains one of the most widely used and best attack helicopters ever.

The versatile helicopter has been used for everything and used for transporting troops, dropping bombs, and performing air rescues. Also, Huey helicopters are scheduled to remain active until 2023.

Bell H-13 Sioux

Bell H-13 Sioux is a three-seat, tandem-rotor helicopter. Bell Aircraft Corporation developed this brAnd. The Sioux first flew on November 6, 1947, and deliveries began in 1948.

It was retired from military service starting in 1956. Over 800 of these helicopters were produced, making it one of Bell’s most successful models during its early years.

The H-13C is one of many variants produced by Bell for different purposes throughout its history. This includes use as a crop duster and a luxury passenger aircraft. 

At its peak, around 300 H-13 Sioux helicopters were operational across all branches of U.S. armed forces between 1954 and 1962, when it went out of service for good. This makes it one of today’s most popular and best attack helicopters

Kaman SH-2 Seasprite/H-2 Tomahawk

The Kaman SH-2 Seasprite/H-2 Tomahawk was a single or two-seat anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. Kaman Aircraft Corporation developed it based on a larger three-seat shipboard helicopter. It was one of a family of aircraft that included both helicopters and fixed-winged versions.

Also developed for use on small warships of displacement, such as frigates and Corvette’s. It would only be used operationally by the U.S. Navy’s Swift class patrol boats.

The Seasprite is regarded as one of the best attack helicopters. Soldiers used it on all American nuclear submarines during their operational life.

Agusta/Westland A129 Mangusta (Italy)

Augusta is often confused with its American counterpart. The A129 is among the very capable and best attack helicopters.

It carries eight air-to-surface missiles on four hardpoints under its stub wings. This allows it to attack any hostile ground target with various weapons for different situations.

Its primary air-to-air weapon is a Mauser BK27 revolver cannon. It can load up to 150 rounds of ammunition. The A129 Mangusta entered service with Italian Army aviation in 1994.

It is used primarily as an anti-tank/scout helicopter supporting army operations against low-intensity conflicts (LIC) scenarios. Scenarios such as counterinsurgency or peacekeeping operations.

Cheyenne Attack Helicopter AH-56

American aviation company McDonnell Douglas, formerly Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, made this helicopter. Two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines power it. One of the best attack helicopters is equipped with a 7.62mm M134 minigun mounted on its nose.  

Furthermore, it can fire approximately 2,000 rounds per minute and a single six-barreled 20mm M197 cannon mounted under its chin.

Its AH-56 designation stands for Attack/Heavy armed Helo/Defense: Rotorcraft Longbow (RBL)/Alliant Hughes Missile Electronics (AIM).

The Cheyenne can reach a top speed of 300mph and has an operational range of 600 miles. And can hover as low as five feet off of the ground.

AH-64 Apache

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter. This helicopter has a tail wheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a two-person crew. 

It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. Apache is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun. And carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage.

Also, it has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing towers above the landing gear. This feature makes it one of today’s most popular and best attack helicopters.

TOS-1 Buratino

The Cheyenne AH-56 attack helicopter has been a long time coming. After years of development, Alenia Aermacchi finally produced it.

It was one of the recognized and best attack helicopters. It came with 60 on order for U.S. Army forces and an additional 80 ordered by Qatar. 

The design incorporates unusual features, including two central rotor systems (for redundancy) and tandem seating. This allows increased survivability if one crew member is disabled or killed. 

In addition, its weapon system (currently a Hellfire missile) also includes advanced countermeasures—measures such as infrared jammers and radar warning receivers. The first production unit is expected to be completed by 2017.

Mi-28 Havoc

Bell created the Mi-28 Havoc for use in Vietnam. The SuperCobra was used as one of the best attack helicopters to escort helicopters and transport passengers. In Vietnam, it was nicknamed Cobra after its close resemblance to a snake of the same name.

In addition, It can be equipped with up to 6 .50-caliber machine guns, two rocket pods, and 4 Sidewinder missiles.

Later versions of Cobras were even outfitted with Longbow radar. This is for increased accuracy when shooting air-to-air missiles. 

According to some reports, these helicopters are still being used by Pakistan and Greece against terrorist groups like al Qaeda. In 2012, one Pakistani pilot described it as extremely capable, despite outdated electronics.

Eurocopter Tiger

The next on the list of best attack helicopters is the Tiger attack helicopter. A consortium of European companies, led by EADS (the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company), developed it.

The Tiger is used for ground support and armed reconnaissance. Its large fuel tanks can remain aloft for more than seven hours.

It’s considered to be one of Europe’s best attack helicopters. It has been put into service with Italy, Germany, Spain, and Singapore.

Bell AH-1 SuperCobra

Bell Helicopter manufactured the Bell AH-1 SuperCobra, a single-engine attack helicopter. This one of the multiple and best attack helicopters was first fielded for combat operations during Operation Desert Storm (ODS).

Since then, it featured heavily in multiple theaters of operation such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The most advanced production version of Cobra is commonly referred to as Cobra Mk. III. It came with new turboshaft engines, avionics upgrades, and other improvements over earlier variants.

However, many SuperCobras have been modernized through refurbishment programs. This is to keep them serviceable well into the 2020s.

Production numbers are uncertain, but it’s believed that more than 1,200 Cobras have rolled off Bell assembly lines since 1970.

Mi-24 Hind

Developers designed the Soviet Union’s workhorse Hind attack helicopter as a troop-carrying assault chopper.

This helicopter saw its first combat during Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. Although it was too big and slow to perform well over land, Hinds ruled above nine feet of snow. 

This hulking brute is also famous for its appearances in Apocalypse Now and Rambo III. Many countries have begun switching out their aging Mi-24s for newer models like Ukraine’s Mi-35.

But still today, it remains one of only two best attack helicopters on active duty. It is involved with any military force around the globe—the other being its successor, Mi-28N Night Hunter.

AH-6 Little Bird

The AH-6 Little Bird is a small, lightweight helicopter built for quick missions. In military applications. It is often used as a scout or escort due to its high speed and agility. On regular assignments, though, it’s more commonly used for light transport. 

Hughes Helicopters developed the little bird and first flew it in September 1975. It remained in production until 2000.

Boeing took over the production of military and civilian helicopters from McDonnell Douglas (also known as M.D. Helicopters).

The little attack chopper saw action with U.S. forces during Operation Desert Storm. There are several dozen on active duty throughout various branches of the U.S. Military.

This includes the Army Aviation Support Facility at Fort Hood, which trains pilots on how to fly Little Birds.

Black Hawk Utility Helicopter UH/HH-60

The HH-60 Pave Hawk is a UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter variant. Sikorsky Aircraft manufactured this one of the best attack helicopters. The Pave Hawk was developed in 1978. 

Also, it entered service with the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) in 1983. It is used for combat search and rescue (CSAR), electronic warfare (E.W.), special operations, disaster relief, and troop transport.

Some variants are equipped with mounted machine guns or cannons for short-range engagements. NASA also used them from 1990 to 2002 as high-speed transport between facilities. It has since been replaced by other helicopters of similar function, such as the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.

Ka-50 Hokum

The Ka-50 Hokum (Russian for Hokum-Bumblebee) is a two-seat Russian attack helicopter developed by Kamov, hence its nickname. The Ka-50 was designed primarily as an anti-tank helicopter. It also has surface and air targets capability. 

The Ka-50 made its first flight in September 1995. It can reach a top speed of 300 km/h (180 mph) and has an operational range of about 510 kilometers (310 miles).

A fully loaded Hokum can carry 2,800 kilograms (6,200 pounds) of payload, including guided missiles and rockets. 

There are eight machines in service with Russia’s Army Aviation branch; more than 60 have been built so far.

Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow

The Longbow Apache entered service with U.S. Army attack helicopters in 1994. It remains one of the most advanced and best attack helicopters ever built. Longbow Apache can achieve a maximum speed of 173 miles per hour with its twin turbine engines. 

Also, its 30mm chain gun—the same size used on armored vehicles—can destroy targets 2 miles away. The Apache can also hold up to 16 Hellfire missiles at a time.

Each is capable of taking out tanks or fortified enemy positions. This attack helicopter has been exported to 19 countries, including Australia, Egypt, and Israel.

Mil Mi-28 Havoc

This attack helicopter is Russian manufactured. It is designed for front-line support of ground forces. It possesses good maneuverability, speed, altitude, and weapons payload.

In addition, its maximum speed is 320 km/h (199 mph), its service ceiling is 5000 meters (16,400 feet), and its range is 1,100 km (684 miles).

This multipurpose and part of the best attack helicopters has four hardpoints. This hardpoint is for carrying missiles or bombs and anti-tank guided missiles on two underwing hardpoints. 

In addition to that, it also has an internal gun that a pilot or gunner can operate. This allows it to keep up a high rate of fire even while firing.

Its aerial provides enhanced firepower support to ground troops while they advance against enemy positions or engage targets out of direct sight from launch aircraft.

Conclusion

As you can see, attack helicopters are some of the most powerful vehicles. They’re capable of many things and perform essential roles for militaries all over the World.

The top best attack helicopters have unique capabilities that make them highly versatile. This allows them to fulfill a variety of missions. They’re often used for troop movement and transportation.

Also, they are vital weapons against enemy armor, including tanks. The six Russian-made helicopters on our list can operate day or night. Moreover, their multi-barrel gun turrets are equipped with high-explosive rockets and 12.7 mm machine guns.

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