The Biggest and Baddest Military Helicopters
There is no doubt that our US military have a tough job. It is job that would be much more difficult without the amazing technology and battle-gear created to make their missions successful. Some of the most incredible tech can be found in the military’s extensive fleet of helicopters. From special ops, rescue, attack, troop deployment, and even unmanned, the US military teams have it down when it comes to leveraging the right helicopter for the job. Let’s take a look at the top military birds used today.
For civilians, one of the most easily recognized helicopters is the Apache. Touted as one of the most advanced combat birds today, the Apache is a flying tank. Designed to withstand heavy fire, this chopper can also deliver the “goods” to enemy aircraft. The Apache has the capacity for up to 1200 rounds of ammunition. It can also be armed with air-to-air missiles. Its ability to hone in on specific targets, fly in horrific weather, and still maintain incredible agility and precision make it a military favorite.
Another easily recognized helicopter is the Blackhawk. Made popular among civilians by the movie, Blackhawk Down, this vehicle is not an attack unit. The Blackhawk is a utility bird. It can carry 11 troops with equipment, lift 2,600 pounds of cargo internally or 9,000 pounds of cargo with an external sling. Due to this flexible, utilitarian functionality, many countries have adopted Blackhawks for their military fleet. Their missions run the gamut of troop insertion, medical evacuation to cargo transport. A few Blackhawks have also been adapted for extremely special missions. The May 2011 raid on Bin Laden was executed with a custom Blackhawk built with sound-dampened rotors and stealth-paint coatings. It is rumored that the only two known to exist where destroyed shortly after that mission.
The Little Bird is another top military flier. Not as large as the Apache, the Little Bird is also considered an attack helicopter. However, it is much, much smaller in size compared to the Apache. This highly tactical bird is primarily used on specialty missions where military teams need smaller, more nimble units to get in and out of situations fast. This helicopter is a top choice across nearly all US Armed Forces special operation units.
With its easy to spot tandem-rotor silhouette, the Chinook is one of the US military’s most massive cargo machines. The Chinook can easily carry more than double the cargo, troops and supplies of the Blackhawk. The specifications for the Chinook’s carrying capacity are 33 to 45 fully-equipped troops, up to 24 medical stretchers, and cargo hauling abilities of up to 28,000 pounds. The size of the Chinook makes it an ideal helicopter for troop deployment, weapon movement, and resupply missions. Few know that the Chinook is also relatively quick for its size. Due to the importance and utilitarianism of its missions, speed is critical in ensuring supplies, cargo and troops are delivered in a quick and efficient manner.
There are many, many US Armed Forces helicopters in service today. And there are also several versions of many, each more awesome than the next. This short list only represents some of the most utilized and recognized today. For more information about the US military’s helicopter fleet and their years of operation, visit: http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/military-helicopters.asp
Written by Brook Appelbaum