First appearing over the battlefield during the Korean War, helicopters revolutionized military tactics. Today, rotary-wing aircraft confidently occupy their niche in the arsenal of modern armies and civil services, performing tasks of transporting people and cargo, fire support, and taking part in search and rescue operations and reconnaissance missions.
To earn the right to be called the best, cars must show what they are capable of. In the harshest climatic conditions, loaded to capacity, under enemy fire and at the limit of their capabilities.
We bring to your attention the ten best helicopters in the world according to the Military Channel. As always, the selection criteria will be the technical excellence of designs, production volumes, legendary history and the main and impartial judge - the experience of use in military conflicts.
All 10 helicopters presented in the review have their own remarkable features, they all went through the school of survival in hot spots and received funny slang names.
Like any show on the Military Channel, this rating is not without bias. Another controversial point - how can you compare transport and attack helicopters? According to the creators of the rating, there are few highly specialized designs, most of the helicopters are multipurpose. For example, the transport Mi-8 can successfully support ground troops with fire, not to mention its assault modification Mi-8AMTSh "Terminator".
All the necessary comments have been made, now I propose to get acquainted with the technique.
10th place - Cow
Mi-26 - heavy transport helicopter
First flight - 1977
Built 310 units
Carrying capacity - 20 tons of cargo or 80 paratroopers
The rotorcraft heavyweight has become the world's largest helicopter. The unique capabilities required special technical solutions. Eight-bladed main rotor, multi-threaded power transmission, three video cameras for monitoring the condition of the cargo on the external sling - these are just some of the features of this machine.
Work to eliminate the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant became a serious test for the Mi-26. Overloaded with lead radiation shielding, the Mi-26s were engaged in complex assembly operations on the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. In order not to raise clouds of radioactive dust, they had to work with an elongated external suspension, which required remarkable courage and skill from the crews. All Mi-26s that took part in this operation were buried in the Exclusion Zone.
9th place - Lynx (Lynx)
Westland Lynx - British multipurpose helicopter
First flight - 1971
Built 400 units
Combat load - 750 kg, including 10 troops and suspended weapons: 4 anti-ship missiles in the naval version or 20 mm cannons, 70 mm Hydra rockets and up to 8 TOW anti-tank missiles in the land version.
The appearance of the Lynx is not impressive: there is no aggressiveness of the American Apache or Mi-24 in it. Despite its typically civilian appearance, the Combat Lynx is one of the most widely used shipborne helicopters in the world. Lynx took part in the Falklands War, a cycle of naval battles that became the largest naval conflict since World War II. The combat debut turned out to be successful - the Lynx of the Royal Navy sank an Argentine patrol ship with the Sea Scua anti-ship missiles. During its forty-year history, the Lynxes were noted in the war zone in the Balkans, where they secured the blockade of the coast of Yugoslavia and Iraq in the winter of 1991, destroying the T-43 minesweeper, 4 border boats, a landing ship and a missile boat.
But what makes Westland Lynx truly unique? Incredibly, this unprepossessing machine holds the world speed record among serial helicopters - in 1986, Lynx accelerated to 400 km / h.
8th place - Flying wagon
Boeing CH-47 "Chinook" - longitudinal heavy military transport helicopter
First flight - 1961
Built 1179 units
Carrying capacity: 12 tons of cargo or up to 55 people
An important property of a modern army is its mobility. If on a global scale the transfer of troops is provided by transport aircraft, then directly on the battlefield this is the task of helicopters.
This problem was especially acute for the American army in Vietnam - mountainous terrain, sharp weather changes, lack of maps and roads, an ubiquitous and numerous enemy - all this required a special air vehicle. This is where the Chinook heavy transport helicopter, built according to an unusual longitudinal scheme with two main rotors, came in handy. During his long service, many funny stories have accumulated. For example, one of the loading options sounded like this: you can stuff 33 Americans or … 55 Vietnamese into the Chinook. Once, during the evacuation of Vietnamese refugees, a record was recorded: 147 people were taken on board.
Flying wagons tried to stay away from the battlefield, specializing in the transfer of cargo from ships to supply bases. Although more exotic applications are known: as bombers, smoke detectors, tear gas sprayers, artillery "tractors." They looked especially impressive in raids on Destroyed Aircraft Evacuations: In the first year of hostilities, the Chinooki evacuated 100 emergency landing aircraft and helicopters, evacuating 1,000 aircraft worth $ 3 billion during the Vietnam War!
The helicopter remains in service to this day, taking part in operations around the world.
7th place - Cobra
Bell AH-1 "Cobra" - attack helicopter
First flight - 1965
1116 Cobra units and 1271 Super Cobra units were built
Built-in armament: a remotely controlled installation with two six-barreled "Miniguns" + 4 suspension points on which containers with machine guns, air-to-air missiles, 70 mm NURSs, anti-tank guided missiles TOW can be placed.
Scary helicopter. As if Death itself descended from heaven in the guise of a narrow ominous silhouette of the "Cobra". The bow machine gun turret continued to fire even if the helicopter was already flying in the other direction. Bloody Vietnam, the Middle East, where Cobras unexpectedly turned into tank hunters, a meat grinder in Waziristan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq - this is the incomplete Cobra's track record …
The AH-1 became the world's first specially designed attack helicopter. Pilot cockpits and side projections are protected by NORAC composite armor. "Cobra" received a powerful sighting system that allows it to work on targets in any weather conditions.
Today, the modernized "Cobra" is in service with the US Marine Corps. The lightweight compact helicopter has excellent characteristics for deployment on multi-purpose amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers.
6th place - Crocodile
Mi-24 - transport and combat helicopter
NATO codename - Hind ("Doe")
First flight - 1969
More than 2000 units built
Built-in armament: four-barreled machine gun of 12, 7 mm caliber on a mobile installation; suspended armament: free-fall bombs, NURS caliber from 57 to 240 mm, anti-tank missile system "Falanga", suspended cannon containers, as well as up to 8 people in the troop compartment.
American experts delivered a stunning verdict: Mi-24 is not a helicopter! Like this. No more and no less.
The Mi-24 looks like a helicopter, it is used as a helicopter, but from a technical point of view, it is a hybrid of an airplane and a helicopter. Indeed, the Mi-24 cannot hover in one place or take off from a "patch" - it needs a runway (under normal load, the takeoff run is 100 … 150 meters). What's the secret? Visually, the Mi-24 has disproportionately large pylons (in fact, these are decent-sized wings). Experts of the US Air Force, conducting tests of the Crocodile that fell into their hands, determined that at least a quarter of the lift it creates with the help of the wings, and, at high speeds, the value can reach 40%.
The piloting technique of the Mi-24 is also unusual - with a decrease in lift, the pilot slightly lowers the nose - the car accelerates and lift occurs on the wings. Like on an airplane.
What are the advantages of this outlandish hybrid? Firstly, the Mi-24 was created according to the concept of a "flying infantry fighting vehicle", which required non-standard technical solutions from the designers - heavy armoring, an amphibious compartment and a powerful armament complex did not fit into a standard helicopter design. Secondly, due to its "airplane" qualities, the heavy "Crocodile" is one of the fastest combat helicopters in the world (maximum speed - 320 km / h).
"Crocodile" fought in the gorges of the Caucasus and the Pamir Mountains, in the sultry Asian deserts and tropical forests of Equatorial Africa. But military glory came to him in Afghanistan. The unique rotary-wing attack aircraft became a symbol of that war.
According to the Iraqi government newspaper Baghdad Observer, in 1982, during the Iran-Iraq War, a Mi-24 shot down an Iranian F-4 Phantom supersonic fighter jet. Unfortunately, the exact details of that fight remain unclear. But it is known for certain that Hussein's pilots shot down two dozen Iranian helicopters on the Mi-24. On this occasion - black humor from the creators of the rating: "Never smile at the crocodile!" (Never joke with a crocodile).
But the best thing about Crocodile was said by an Afghan mujahid in an interview with an American news channel: We are not afraid of the Russians, but we are afraid of their helicopters.
5th place - Stallion
Sikorsky CH-53E "Super Stallion" - heavy transport helicopter
First flight - 1974
Built - 115 units
Carrying capacity - 13 tons of payload in the cargo compartment or up to 14.5 tons on the external sling; or 55 paratroopers
The giant flying boat CH-53E is a deep modernization of the famous CH-53 "Sea Stellen" helicopter, created in 1964 specifically for the needs of the Navy, the Marine Corps and the US Coast Guard. The specialists of the Sikorsky company mounted a third engine and a seven-bladed main rotor on the original structure, for which the sailors called the modernized helicopter “Hurricane Maker” (literally - “the creator of the hurricane”), such a powerful vortex of water spray and elastic air jets is created by the power plant CH- 53E.
What else is famous for "Stallion" (and this is how Stallion is translated)? On this huge machine, a "dead loop" was demonstrated!
The CH-53 and CH-53E naval careers were not limited to standard transport missions. Rotary-wing flying boats were used as minesweepers (modification MH-53) and took part in search and rescue operations (modification HH-53). The in-flight refueling system installed on the helicopter allows you to stay in the air day and night.
"Stallion" took root on land - the military liked the powerful transport helicopter. In Iraq and Afghanistan, CH-53 and CH-53E were used as Hanships, supporting ground forces with fire. In total, the CH-53 family includes 522 built helicopters.
4th place - Huey (Iroquois)
Bell UH-1 - multipurpose military helicopter
First flight - 1956
Built - over 16,000 units
Carrying capacity: 1.5 tons or 12-14 soldiers.
This private "air cavalry", along with napalm, became the symbol of the Vietnam War. Veterans recall that the Huey became their home - helicopters delivered them to the position, brought them equipment, provided them with provisions and ammunition, covered them from the air, and in case of injury they were evacuated from the battlefield. Despite the huge losses (3,000 vehicles did not return to base), the combat use of the Huey is recognized as successful. According to dry statistics, over 11 years of war, helicopters made 36 million sorties, i.e. one irretrievable loss accounted for 18,000 sorties - a completely unique result! And this despite the fact that the "Huey" had no reservation at all.
Before the advent of specialized Cobras, Huey had to carry out shock operations - a pair of 12.7 mm machine guns and 48 unguided rockets on a suspension turned the UH-1 into a hellish machine. The fire of the tactical combat group "Eagle Flight" (Flight of the Eagles - American tactics of using helicopters) of 10 … 12 vehicles was equal to the fire of two infantry battalions.
The Huey is the favorite helicopter of Hollywood scriptwriters. No action movie is complete without a UH-1 flight scene. As expected, the heroes sit in the cockpit open on both sides, carelessly dangling their legs overboard.
Huey holds another record - so many of them were produced that by the end of the 1960s, the American troops in Indochina had more helicopters than all other armies in the world combined. Military and civilian versions of "Huey" were supplied to 70 countries of the world (almost like a Kalashnikov assault rifle).
3rd place - Mi-8
First flight - 1961
Built - over 17,000 units
Carrying capacity: 3 tons or 24 people
Combat load of shock modifications: 2-3 machine guns and up to 1.5 tons of weapons on 6 hardpoints, including 57 mm unguided missiles, free-fall bombs and the Falanga anti-tank complex.
The helicopter created 50 years ago turned out to be so successful that it still receives orders from all over the world. Has three dozen civilian and military modifications. It is used as a transport and assault helicopter, used for reconnaissance, as a command post, mine layer, tanker and ambulance helicopter. Civilian versions serve passenger airlines, are used in agriculture and in the elimination of the consequences of natural and man-made disasters.
The helicopter is simple, reliable, and can be operated in any conditions - from the hot Sahara to the Far North. He passed all military conflicts, including Afghanistan, Chechnya and the Middle East. And he will not find a replacement in the near future.
2nd place - Apache
Boeing AH-64 "Apache" - attack helicopter
First flight - 1975
Built - 1174 units
Built-in armament - 30 mm automatic cannon. Suspended armament - 16 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, 76 70 mm NURS or Stinger missile systems for air combat.
The Apache is a cult aircraft that has become the prototype for a whole class of modern combat helicopters. He gained fame during Desert Storm, where, according to NATO representatives, he successfully fought against tanks. Regularly used by the Israel Defense Forces Air Force.
Only one helicopter - the Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter - was able to openly challenge the Apache during the Indian tender for the supply of combat helicopters in the fall of 2011. But the old soldier turned out to be more cunning and agile than the young recruit - the electronics "brought" during numerous conflicts allowed the modern modification of the AH-64D "Apache Longbow" to operate more effectively in the dark. Nevertheless, Indian experts noted that the Apache design had exhausted reserves for modernization, and its flight performance characteristics (static and dynamic ceiling) were inferior to the Russian helicopter, which was just beginning its combat path.
Quite recently, in 2002, the Mi-35 (export version of the Mi-24 with modern avionics) of the DPRK Air Force "slammed" the South Korean Apache from an ambush. South Korea acknowledged the loss and demanded that the United States carry out a free (!) Modernization of its entire fleet of Apaches to the Longbow version. They are still suing.
1st place - Black Hawk Down
Sikorsky UH-60 "Black Hawk" - multipurpose helicopter
First flight - 1974
Built - 3000 units
Carrying capacity: 1500 kg of cargo and various equipment inside the cargo compartment or up to 4 tons on the external sling. The landing version takes on board 14 soldiers.
Combat load of percussion vehicles: 2 machine guns, 4 suspension points. Standard armament complex - NURS, anti-tank "Hellfires", containers with 30 mm cannons. Marine versions are armed with 324 mm torpedoes and AGM-119 "Penguin" anti-ship missiles.
Without any exaggeration, the Black Hawk Down is a 21st century helicopter, despite the fact that it was created 40 years ago. The multipurpose army helicopter was intended to replace the Iroquois, while its naval version, the Sea Hawk, was being developed. The result is a universal platform for all branches of the armed forces, and in terms of the totality of characteristics - the best helicopter in the world.
In addition to the basic ground version of the UH-60, there are 2 anti-submarine versions SH-60B “Sea Hawk” and SH-60F “Ocean Hawk” (equipped with a magnetometer and a lowered hydroacoustic station), the HH-60 “Rescue Hawk” helicopter for conducting combat search and rescue operations. and special operations, as well as the MH-60 "Knighthawk" line of models, including deck helicopters, fire support helicopters, special operations vehicles, ambulance versions, jammers, etc. Sometimes they are used as staff helicopters for high-ranking officials and generals. They are actively exported.
The Black Hawk Down is filled to the limit with high-tech equipment, which places high demands on the maintenance personnel and does not allow it to be stored outside the hangar for a long time.
The military plans to make the MN-60 a single type of helicopter for all branches of the armed forces and the navy, which should radically reduce costs and simplify maintenance. With his appearance, he replaced the army "Iroquois" and the sea "SeaSprite". Now "Black Hawk Down" successfully duplicates the tasks of transport helicopters and fire support helicopters, replaces sea minesweepers MH-53 and heavy helicopters SH-3 "Sea King".
The top ten fits exactly 10 places. But why didn't the iconic Ka-50 Black Shark helicopter make it to the rating? Are American experts not even aware of the existence of this machine? Despite the excellent flight characteristics and unsurpassed maneuverability, only 15 Sharks were produced, the Ka-50 never went beyond the experimental vehicle. The American AH-56 "Cheyenne" - a hellish rotorcraft, in comparison with which all existing "Cobras" and "Apaches" are ugly ducklings, did not get into the rating either. On tests, the car showed a speed of over 400 km / h! Alas, only 10 Cheyenne were fired and the helicopter never hit the troops.
It only remains to summarize - the advanced design and remarkable flight performance characteristics still do not make the car the best. Much more important is its massive appearance in the troops (which allows you to quickly test the car in all modes and cure "childhood diseases" that any design suffers) and the correct tactics of use.