Guide to Military Helicopters
Military helicopters perform many different roles within the Armed Services. They are used to transport troops and supplies as well as assist in search and rescue operations. They have many advantages over other types of aircraft because of their ability to land in places where larger aircraft cannot. They also have the ability to take off vertically, which makes them perfect for areas where there is no runway.
Most of the helicopters in use by the military have modular design, which means they can be modified in a very short time to accommodate different types of cargo and for different missions. The majority of them contain weapons, especially when they are used in areas where warfare is taking place. The areas of the helicopter that contain the most armour are the cockpit and the areas where the fuel tanks are located. Some of the helicopters that have two engines, such as the Blackhawk, can also fly on only one engine, just in case one becomes disabled in flight.
All military helicopters contain electronic communication systems, such as radar and navigation aids. Those used in special missions also have equipment unique to the needs of each mission.
Like other types of military aircraft, there are different types of helicopters. These include:
• Attack helicopters
• Transport helicopters
• Observation helicopters
• Utility helicopters, and
• Maritime helicopters
Attach helicopters contain sensors which allow them to zero in on their targets and drop bombs in specific locations. They are mainly used to provide close air support during fierce fighting.
Transport helicopters are used to carry troops and supplies to areas where larger aircraft cannot maneuver. This is because they can land almost anywhere and the take off is simple because the helicopter just rises straight up. There are three types of these helicopters – assault, medium and heavy. The assault helicopters are the smallest of the three used to move soldiers and their equipment from place to place. They usually have door gunners who watch for enemy approach and provide protection for the helicopter and its passengers. Medium transport helicopters can carry a platoon of soldiers and light infantry equipment. The heavy helicopters can carry up to 80 people and mainly operate in the tactical area.
At one time, the observation helicopters relied on the eyes of the pilot and passenger. Today they use highly specialized equipment, such as lasers, to locate specific objects and targets. The utility helicopter is used for many different purposes anti-tank, anti-submarine and search and rescue, as well as transporting troops. Maritime helicopters are those that take off from ships at sea and therefore have enhanced protection to keep them from corrosion caused by salt water.