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15 Most Advanced Attack Helicopters Around the World

[Estimated read time: 7 minutes]

The concept of Gunship emerged during the World War2, when the lack of full scale fighter and attack ships were causing greater losses to different important air-missions from rigorous ground attacks. Which later lead to the development of Bomber escorts and attack aircraft. Today, many military organizations primarily use attack helicopters, while fixed wing aircraft are mostly abandoned, or only in services to carry military personals and cargo. Here we accumulate some of the best advanced attack helicopter, including fighter fixed wing aircraft.

15. Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne

Lockheed’s AH-56 Cheynne was a brainchild of US Army’s Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) program to build its first attack dedicated helicopter. It featured a four-blade rigid-rotor structure and low-mounted wings with a tail-mounted thrusting propeller powered by a General Electric T64 turboshaft engine. Unfortunately, it never went into production and only 10 prototypes made, four of which still preserved in a museum.

14. Aérospatiale Gazelle

Gazelle SA 342M is a French indigenous light attack and scout helicopter which is jointly developed by various companies including Aerospatiale. Since its introduction in 1973, many countries have procured and operated Gazelle with great success. It has also engaged in many worldwide conflicts, including 1982’s Lebanon War, in the Rwandan Civil War of the 1990s, and especially by participants on both sides of the 1991 Gulf War.

13. Panha 2091

The Panha 2091, locally known as “Toufan” is an upgrade version of the Bell AH-1J SuperCobra attack helicopter purchased by the Iranian government before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The upgrade was performed by the Iranian Helicopter Support and Renewal Company (also known as Panha). The reported upgrades include better avionics and advanced cockpit design, etc. It is mounted with powerful 14 MK 40 rockets, 8 Zuni rockets and Aim 9 antiaircraft missiles.

12. Harbin Z-19

The Harbin Z-19, also known as WZ-19 is the newest class of Chinese attack helicopters produced by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation for its military and air forces. The Z-19 is actually based on Harbin Z-9 which is a licensed version of the Eurocopter Dauphin. The craft is also capable of Reconnaissance duties when called upon. In armament section, it can carry eight HJ-8 air-to-surface or anti-ship missiles, and eight or more TY-90 air-to-air missiles.

11. Apache AH MK1

The Apache AH Mk1 is a highly modified version of AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter which is produced by British helicopter manufacturing company AgustaWestland under license from Boeing. It is specially made for the specific needs of the British Army Air Corps, and is capable of conducting precision attacks, and provides CAS (close air support), and effective ground to air escort and deep operations.

Few noticeable changes from the standard Apache version include new Rolls-Royce Turbomeca engines instead of the original GE T700 power plants, a new electronic defensive system and a folding blade mechanism which allowed the Navy to operate it from warships. These helicopters were largely used in the Afghan and Libyan insurgencies.

10. CAIC Z-10

CAIC Z-10Picture credit: wikimedia

The Chinese CAIC Z-10 is manufactured by Changhe Aircraft Industries Co., though it was officially designed by Russian Kamov. Also known as WZ-10, Z-10 has a capacity for two crew members including the pilot. The helicopter is powered by two WZ-9 turboshaft engines. It carries a various range of guns and missiles, rockets, including HJ-10 air to surface missile and 14.5 Gatling gun.

9. Denel Rooivalk

Denel RooivalkImage source: wikimedia

Denel Rooivalk, previously known as AH-2 and CSH-2 is an attack helicopter developed in South Africa by Denel Co. It is designed for 2 crews: a pilot and a weapons operating officer. It is powered by 2 Turbomeca Makila 1K2 turboshaft engines. The Rooivalk carries 1 F2 20 mm cannon, 4 MBDA air-to-air missiles and 8-16 Mokopa ZT-6 anti-tank guided missiles.

8. Agusta A129 Mangusta

Agusta A129 MangustaImage credit: wikimedia

A129 Mangusta originated in Italy during the 1980s and produced by the manufacturer AgustaWestland. It has a maximum speed of 278 km/h with an operating range of 1,000 km. The Italian produced helicopter carries AGM-114 Hellfire and AIM-92 Stinger missiles with fixed 20mm M197 Gatling type cannon.

7. Mil Mi-24 (Hind)

Mil Mi-24 (Hind)Photo credit: wikimedia

Often called as Hind (NATO), the Mil Mi-24 is a huge, multi-purpose attack helicopter also used for carrying troops. It is first originated in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Mil Mi-24 uses a different, 2 Isotov TV3-117 turbine engine. This gunship has an outstanding capacity to carry loads of arms and ammunitions. It has a fixed twin barrel GSH-30K, a 12.7 mm Yakushev-Borzov gun, with 9M17 Phalanga or 9K114 Shturm anti-tank missile. Hind and its similar variants are in military services, serving more than 30 nations worldwide.

6. Bell AH-1 SuperCobra

Bell AH-1 SuperCobraPhoto credit: wikimedia

AH-1W SuperCobra is produced by Bell Helicopter based in the United States. The first AH-1 of the cobra family took its first flight during 1969, after its successful development in the early 1960s. The Bell AH-1 runs on powerful two T700-401 turboshaft engine producing 1,690 shaft horsepower. The recorded maximum speed of SuperCobra is 190knots (218mph). The SuperCobra has space for two crews. It is enabled with 20 mm Gatling cannon, hydra 70 missiles, AGM-114 Hellfire air to ground missile and AIM-9 Sidewinder air to air missiles.

5. Eurocopter Tiger

Eurocopter TigerImage source: wikimedia

The Eurocopter Tiger or simply “Tiger” is a product of collaboration between European countries France, Germany and Spain. The Tiger is manufactured by Eurocopter Company, the successor to Aerospatiale and Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG’s. It has a maximum speed of 290 km/h, powered by two MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce MTR390 turboshaft engines. The Gunship is also customized for carrying different types of arsenal, fulfilling the needs of armies in different situations.

4. Bell AH-1Z Viper

Bell AH-1Z ViperImage credit: wikimedia

The Bell AH-1Z viper is a twin turboshaft engine gunship produced in the United States by Bell Helicopter. This highly modified helicopter is based on previous AH-1W SuperCobra. It runs on General Electric, T700-GE-401C turboshaft engine which enables the aircraft to fly at a cruise speed of 160knots (184mph). The Viper is also capable to carry 20 mm M197 3-barreled Gatling cannon gun, a Hydra 70 or APKWS 2 rockets, with 2 AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile.

3. Mil Mi-28 (Havoc)

Mil Mi-28 (Havoc)Image credit: wikimedia

Designed and developed in Soviet Union/Russia, Mil Mi-28 designated as Havoc by NATO, is a non- transport, fully dedicated attack helicopter. It was designed not for carrying soldiers; instead it is equipped with heavily armored cockpits and a strong body to resist bullet penetration. Its compact size and two TV3-117 turboshaft engines provide the maximum speed of 201 mph. It is fitted with one chin mounted 30 mm Shipunov 2A42 cannon, S-8 and S-13 anti-tank missiles and Vympel R-73 air to air missiles.

2. Kamov Ka-50 “Black Shark”

Kamov Ka-50 “Black Shark”Image credit: wikimedia

The Kamov ka-50 was originated and still in service with the Russian Air Force. Designated by NATO as Hokum A, it is one seated, heavily armed attack helicopter, also being used for scouting operations. One of the distinctive features of Ka-50 is the coaxial rotor system mounted on the concentric shaft one below the main rotating blade. The aircraft carries one 2A42 30-mm gun and twelve laser-guided, Vikhr anti-tank missiles with extra capacity for the S-13 and S-8 rocket. The Kamov is powered by Russian manufactured Kilmov TV3-117 engine and has a combat radius of 470km.

Read: 15 Most Secret and Experimental Military Aircraft

1. Boeing AH-64 Apache

Boeing AH-64 ApacheImage source: wikimedia

The Boeing AH-64 commonly known as Apache is manufactured by Boeing D.S&S in the United States after the merger of Hughes and McDonnel Douglas into Boeing in 1997. It is a two seated Attack helicopter, with fully enabled detecting sensors for target acquisition and night vision system. The AH-64 attack helicopter is fitted with two T700-GE-701 (C-D) variant turboshaft engines. They can carry Hydra 70 , CRV7 rockets with AGM-114 Hellfire and AIM-92 Stinger, while having a fixed 30 mm M230 Chain Gun.

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