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All 18 American Military Helicopters

Robert Sullivan / Public Domain / Flickr

For decades, helicopters have played a pivotal role in modern U.S. military operations, offering vital air support, troop and equipment transport, and fulfilling diverse functions on the battlefield. (See, this country has the most attack helicopters.)

To identify all of the helicopters in active service in the U.S. military, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the 2023 report, World Air Forces, from FlightGlobal, an aviation and aerospace industry website. We ranked helicopters by the number of units in active service. We included all variants of each helicopter in the count and excluded all helicopters from the Coast Guard. Supplemental data regarding the type of helicopter, how many are in active service, and how many are on order came from FlightGlobal. Data on each helicopter’s first flight and variants came from various military and historical sources.

The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, a variation of the S-70, is currently used by multiple militaries around the world taking multiple variants. This helicopter has been involved in numerous high-profile military operations over the years, including one with a blockbuster Hollywood movie named after it “Black Hawk Down.” It is even said that a stealth version of the Black Hawk was used in the operation that took out Osama bin Laden, according to NPR.

Noticeably, towards the top of this list, the helicopters represented play a variety of different roles via their unique variants. Militaries tend to stick with what works, then repurpose and outfit when operational needs change. One example is the Black Hawk, which has been in service for nearly half a century and has more variants than any other helicopter on this list as it serves a multitude of roles, including: search & rescue, medium-lift operations, and even as a gunship, across military branches. 

Repurposing helicopters in part explains why many of the helicopters on the list have been in the service for decades. This list is populated by helicopters first flown in the mid-1950s all the way to last decade.

Throughout the U.S. Armed Forces, the Army has the most helicopters of any other branch. The Black Hawk, Apache, and Chinook make up a majority of Army helicopters. Each of these rotor-based aircraft is used to transport troops in and out of combat zones among various other roles. (Also see, every plane and helicopter in the U.S. Marines.)

Military helicopters play a crucial role in modern military operations and those in active service in the U.S. military are some of the most advanced in the world. Here is a look at all of the helicopters in active service in the U.S. military.

Click here to see every helicopter in the US military.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

18. Airbus H125
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Variants: H125, AS350
> Active in military: 1 (tied)
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: June 1974

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Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. Mil Mi-24 Hind
> Type: Trainer
> Active in military: 1 (tied)
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: September 1969

16. Bell 407
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Active in military: 5 (tied)
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: June 1995

Source: Courtesy of Boeing

15. MH-139 Grey Wolf
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Active in military: 5 (tied)
> On order for the military: 75
> First flight: February /2001

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Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

14. Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Active in military: 7
> On order for the military: 197
> First flight: October 2015

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

13. Mi-8/17 Hip
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Variants: Mi-8, Mi-17
> Active in military: 10
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: July 1961

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12. Leonardo AW119 Koala
> Type: Trainer
> Active in military: 13
> On order for the military: 117
> First flight: February 1995

Source: Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images via Getty Images

11. MH-53E Sea Dragon
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Active in military: 28
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: October 1964

10. MH-6 Little Bird
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Variants: MD500 (AH/MH-6)
> Active in military: 47
> On order for the military: 74
> First flight: February 1963

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

9. TH-57 Sea Ranger
> Type: Trainer
> Active in military: 115
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: 1961

Source: Robert Sullivan / Public Domain / Flickr

8. Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Active in military: 140
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: March 1974

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Source: Robert Sullivan / Public Domain / Flickr

7. Bell AH-1Z Viper
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Active in military: 159
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: September 2010

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

6. Bell UH-1
> Type: Combat helicopter, trainer
> Variants: OH-58 Kiowa, UH-1 Iroquois, UH-1N Twin Huey, UH-1Y Venom
> Active in military: 234
> On order for the military: 0
> First flight: October 1956

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

5. Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Variants: CV-22, MV-22
> Active in military: 360
> On order for the military: 77
> First flight: March 1989

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4. Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota
> Type: Combat helicopter, trainer
> Variants: H145 (UH-72A/B)
> Active in military: 475
> On order for the military: 38
> First flight: June 2006

3. Boeing CH-47 Chinook
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Variants: CH-47D/F/MH-47G
> Active in military: 513
> On order for the military: 30
> First flight: September 1961

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2. Boeing AH-64 Apache
> Type: Combat helicopter
> Variants: AH-64D/E
> Active in military: 824
> On order for the military: 15
> First flight: September 1975

Source: fikretozk / iStock via Getty Images

1. S-70 Black Hawk
> Type: Combat helicopter, trainer
> Variants: HH-60G, U, W, MH-60G, EH, MH, UH-60, MH-60R/S, UH-60A/L
> Active in military: 2,912
> On order for the military: 401
> First flight: October 1974

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