Helicopter is known to be the best source for war, logistics and rescue operations. After the first use in World War II, helicopters have also played great role in Vietnam War as well as the modern days to transform the battlefield. Attack helicopters are highly advanced for rescue operations and quick strikes.
For their mobility, armies invest a lot of money in their manufacturing, development and upgrades. No country can win a war without having a set of arsenal, attack helicopters are the best choice to keep attack unpredictable and mobile. This is why the strongest countries in the world spend so much on maintaining and developing a huge amount of these attack helicopters.
Here are the top ten attack helicopters which are rated on their agility, avionics, firepower and speed.
10. CAIC Z-10
Also known as WZ-10, the CAIC Z-10 is an attack helicopter designed for anti-tank warfare operations by the People’s Republic of China. It also features air-to-air secondary capability. Under the agreement with Chinese government, it was basically designed by Kamov Design Bureau of Russia. It was further tested and developed under Wu Ximing by the 602nd Research Institute and built by the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC).
9. Mil Mi-24 Hind
It is a large attack and gunship helicopter with capacity of 8 passengers as low-capacity troop transporter. It has been in operation since 1972 by the successors of Soviet Air Force and around 30 other countries and it is manufactured by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. The export variants, Mi-25 and Mi-35, in NATO circles are described with suffix “Hind E” and “Hind D”. Mi-24 is also called as the “flying tank” by Soviet pilots, the term used with the well known II-2 Shturmovik, World War II Soviet ground attack armored aircraft. Thanks to the flat glass plates around the cockpits of earlier Mi-24 variants and its camouflage scheme, some of the basic unofficial names are “Drinking Glass” and “Crocodile” respectively.
8. Denel Rooivalk
Officially named as CSH-2 and AH-2, the Denel Rooivalk is an attack helicopter made in South Africa by Denel Aviation. The development of this type started by Atlas Aircraft Corporation in 1984 and its development is connected closely to the Atlas Oryx transport aircraft. Both of these are based on Aerospatiale Puma and started its development consequently. Its development was protracted because of impact of limited budgets in 1990s and need to produce very advanced attack helicopters. Around 12 Rooivalks are ordered by the South African Air Force (SAAF) and SAAF service designated them as Rooivalk Mk 1, first helicopter was handed over officially in April 2011. 16 Squadron flew the helicopters. Though it seems like a whole new machine, it is based on reverse engineering of Aerospatiale Puma, having main rotor and same engines.
7. Bell AH-1 SuperCobra
It is a twin-engine helicopter which is based on single engine AH-1 Cobra used by United Stated Army. It is the part of Huey family as well as twin Cobra family, including AH-1T Improved SeaCobra, AH-1J SeaCobra and AH-1W SuperCobra. AH-1W was once the backbone of the attack helicopter fleet of the United State Marine Corps. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is replacing it.
AH-1 Cobra was developed in the mid of 1960s as an interim gunship for use in Vietnam War by the US Army. The Cobra got rotor system, great transformation as well as T53 turbo-shaft engine. The first AH-1GF HueyCobras was delivered in June 1967. Around 1100 AH-1Gs were built by Bell for US Army from 1967 to 1973 and Cobras took around 1 million hours in operation in Vietnam.
6. Agusta A129 Mangusta
It is yet another attack helicopter designed and produced originally by Agusta in Italy. For being produced and designed in Western Europe, it was the first attack helicopter. AgustaWestland/TAI T-129 ATAK is derivative variant of A129 and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is responsible for its development and AgustaWestland is the main partner.
5. Bell AH-1Z Viper
It is a multi-mission helicopter which is both capable and flexible and is ultimate among other attack helicopters. The AH-1Z Viper is based on AH-1W SuperCobra and a twin-engine helicopter ordered by the US Marine Corps. It features bearing-less, 4-blade composite rotor system, new target sighting system and up-rated transmission. AH-1Z is known to be the part of H-1 upgrade program. It is also known as Zulu Cobra with reference to its variant.
4. Eurocopter Tiger
Manufactured by Eurocopter, the Eurocopter Tiger is an attack helicopter. It is called as Tiger in Germany and Tigre in Spain and France. It is powered by the two MTR390 (MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce) turbo-shaft engine.
3. Mil MI-28H Havoc
The official name of Mil Mi-28 is Havoc which is an all-weather, day and night, military tandem, Russian anti-armor, two seater attack helicopter. It is an attack helicopter dedicated without any intended capability of secondary transport but it is better optimized as compared to Mi-24 for its role. It carries external loads on pylons under stub wings as well as single gun in under-nose barbette.
2. Kamov KA-50 “Black Shark”/KA-52
The KA-50 Kamov Black Shark is Russian single-seater attack helicopter with the unique coaxial rotor system from Kamov design bureau. Designed in 1980s, Kamov KA-50 was adopted in 1995 in the Russian Army for service. It is designed well to be fast, agile and small to improve fatality rate and survivability. It is built for single pilot only among the gunships for minimal size and weight and maximum agility and speed.
The Russian attack helicopter KA-50 Hokum can carry 24 Vikhr missiles, four pods of 20-round rocket or both. It can also load R-73/AA-11 Archer air to air missiles. This way, Hokum can be very capable to be the threat against the approaching attack helicopter. On Hokum, the 30mm 2A 42 is also loaded, despite more than a fighter canon. Its top speed is whopping 350km per hour with around 250km of combat radius.
1. AH-64D Apache Long Bow
Boeing AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter was supposed to be the most powerful and preeminent anti-armor weapon machine used in the Gulf War. It is designed well to perform day and night combat missions and also in extreme weather conditions. Apache was designed well to meet the strict needs of the Advanced Attack Helicopter Plan of the US Army. The Apache is well equipped with world-class fire control systems and electronic technology. It is known to have great firepower and loaded with 76 folding-fin 70mm aerial rockets, sixteen AGM-24 Hellfire Missiles or both, along with 1200 rounds (30mm) for its automatic cannon.