Military helicopters carry out special operations designated by the military. The best military helicopter should have special features that enable it to carry out special operations.
For instance, observation helicopters feature optical sensors for clearer visibility of the area it covers.
However, while some carry out these special tasks, others function like basic helicopters, carrying out simpler tasks.
Over time, there’s been a lot of military helicopters that perform special functions. In this article, we shall look at some of them, and their special features.
1. Boeing AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is notably one of the best military helicopters in the military. It originated from the United States and had its first flight on the 30th of September, 1975.
The flight features a weaponry system; thus, it is best for attack purposes and military conflicts.
Popular countries that use the AH-64 for operations include the Royal Netherlands, the US, Israel, and Egypt.
Today, there are over 2400 AH-64 planes used around the globe.
Features of the Boeing AH-64 Apache;
- Comfortably sits 2 crew pilots
- Has maximum speed of 293km/h
- It has a combat range of 480km
- Features an Area Weapon Subsystem containing its guns
- It contains rockets and missiles as well
2. Eurocopter Tiger
Airbus, notably one of the best plane creators, crafted each of these helicopters to perform several purposes.
These range from attack to ground escort, fire support, and anti-tank warfare. Therefore, it is common in Germany, Spain, Australia, and France.
Airbus officially introduced the flight in 2003; however, the helicopter made its first flight on April 27th 1991.
Since its flight, it has served in military deployments to Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, and the Central African Republic.
Features of the Eurocopter Tiger;
- Carries several weapons
- Features a comfortable space for 2 crew members which are the weapon officer and the pilot
- Has a maximum speed of 290km/h
- Features a glass cockpit layout
- Has LCD displays to display data and information
- It contains a twin engine that is easily maintainable
3. CAIC Z-10
CAIC Z-10 is a special helicopter developed for the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force. The project started with the Kamov group who officially launched it on April 29, 2003.
Unfortunately, Kamov could not complete the project due to a disagreement between its holders. As a result, Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) completed the project.
Its primary function is to serve as an anti-tank warfare copter, but it can also engage in combat. This is a result of the variety of weaponry implemented in its design.
Unlike Chinese helicopters, the CAIC Z-10 has all its controls integrated into its systems, making it easier to navigate.
Features of CAIC Z-10;
- Comprises of several modern times technology and warfare package
- Features a crew space for 2
- Has a speed of 270km/h
- It is equipped with rockets and missiles
- Includes secondary air-to-air combat abilities
4. Bell UH-1 Iroquois
Bell UH-1 Iroquois is a part of the United States military helicopter and the first of the well-known Huey family.
Unlike other military helicopters, the UH-1’s primary duty was to serve as a medical evacuation and utility plane.
The plane gained its popularity for its service in the Vietnam War. It first came into the military in the mid-1950s; however, has undergone several modifications over the years.
Features of Bell UH-1 Iroquois;
- Can comfortably seat 1-4 crew members
- Has a maximum speed of 204km/h
- Serves medical purposes
- It remains the first turbine-powered helicopter made for the USA military
5. Kamov Ka-50
Popularly called the black shark, Ka-59 is a Russian attack craft that features a unique rotor system. Kamov Helicopters developed, each to be the best military helicopter for combat.
One of its distinctive features is the single-seat configuration, a rare attribute of attack helicopters. The shark also features an impressive weaponry system with a 30mm cannon mounted on it.
Currently, there are 32 of these helicopters in the Russian service. There have also been newer modifications with special designs that can withstand tropical temperatures.
Features of Kamov Ka-50;
- It contains a single seat for 1 crew member only
- Can run at the maximum speed of 315 km/h
- It is armed with guns, rockets, missiles, and bombs
6. Mil Mi-28
Mil developed the Mil Mi-28 as an advancement from its predecessor, Mil Mi-24. Though not suitable for transportation, it has better features for war attacks.
With less room for passengers, the Mil Mi-28 is faster, deadlier, and easier to control. With a single gun and extra loads of pylons, Mil Mi-28 is the best military helicopter for an attack.
Mil first released it on November 10, 1982, and it has since operated primarily in Russia, Iraq, and Algeria.
Features of Mil Mi-28;
- The plane has a single gun beneath the nose of the plane
- It is equipped with pylons that carry external loads on the wings
- The crew space is ideal for only two individuals
- It has a whopping speed of 320 km/h
7. Agusta A129 Mangusta
The A129 Mangusta was the first attack helicopter built in Europe. It took off as a co-operation between Italy and West Germany.
However, with time, the venture fell through, but the craft still emerged successfully.
Agusta developed the aircraft with inspirations drawn from the Agusta A109 civilian helicopter. Its first flight was on 11th September 1983, but, it remains in service to date.
Features of Agusta A129 Mangusta;
- It has an anti-armor effect that aids it when pulling out of a tight mission
- They are capable of fire support and ground attack
- It has a space of 2 crew members
- A129 moves at a maximum speed of 298km/h
- It is equipped with guns, rockets, and missiles
8. Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
This craft stands out differently from the common helicopter makeup.
This is a result of combining features from a helicopter with those from a turboprop aircraft. Its features make it the best military helicopter for all combat situations.
Today, it is one of the largest VTOL Aircraft with capabilities many other helicopters are totally incapable of.
Bell and Boeing produced the Helicopters in 1989 after landing the contract in 1983.
Features of Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey;
- The flight can land on several surfaces, either smooth or rough
- It flies at a speed of 500km/h
- Combines its speed with being able to lift a significant amount of load
- It has a crew provision for 3-4 officers
- It can take up to 24 troops when they are seated and up to 32 when floor loaded
9. Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion
The creators of CH-53K are yet to release it as it is presently undergoing construction. However, it took its first flight on 27th October 2015.
It serves as a heavy-lift cargo copter with its predecessor being Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion.
Sikorsky Aircraft produced the helicopter for the United States Marine Corps with better modifications. Thus, it is generally faster and more lucrative than its predecessor.
It also features an engine remake with a better cockpit layout. Currently, it is the largest and heaviest helicopter used by the USA military.
Features of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion;
- It features a crew space for four individuals
- The flight moves at a speed of 310km/h
10. Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft, this plane is a four-blade medium-lift utility helicopter. One remarkable thing about this plane is the way it came into being.
The plane got approval after its design won the Utility Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) contest in 1972.
Though designed for the US army, it serves Japan, Colombia, and Korean forces. Since its first flight on 17th October 1974, its operators have produced several of its kind.
Features of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk;
- Can seat 4 crew members
- Has a maximum speed of 294km/h
- Well equipped with guns, rockets, missiles, and bombs
From this write-up, it’s easy to identify that the best military helicopters are attack helicopters. Well, since the military majorly entails warfare, there’s more focus on the best military helicopter for attacks.
Beyond these ten Aircraft, there are other good military helicopters that serve special military purposes. However, many are either canceled projects or are out of service.
This post comprehensively details the helicopters active till this present day.