Military

The Fastest Gunship Helicopters of the Modern Era

viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Gunship helicopters began their ascent to prominence during the Vietnam War. Originally modified from transport helicopters, these aircraft were armed with machine guns and rockets to support ground troops, further evolving into an integral piece of military strategy. Today’s gunships are engineered to deliver firepower and precision, in service of their combat and support roles. (These are the 25 helicopters of the Vietnam War.)

Helicopter gunships differentiate from dedicated attack helicopters in that they are also capable of carrying troops, ordnance, and sometimes vehicles while protecting their package with a series of armaments. Some have equated gunship types of helicopters to flying tanks with their firepower.

To identify the fastest gunship helicopters of the modern era, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of military helicopters from Military Factory, an online database of arms, vehicles, and aircraft used by militaries worldwide. We ranked these helicopters according to top speed and included supplemental information from Military Factory regarding the type of helicopter, year introduced, country of origin, manufacturer, top speed, and armament.

The UH-60 Black Hawk is by far one of the most popular and prolific military helicopters in the world. It plays a variety of roles, including that of a gunship. Sikorsky Aircraft introduced these helicopters in 1979, and the Black Hawk continues to serve as a staple of the U.S. Army and many other militaries around the world.

On the Russian side, the Mil Mi-24 Hind from Russia ranks near the top of the list, reaching speeds of over 200 mph. This helicopter is designed to perform in all weather conditions, featuring advanced radar that enhances its capability to detect and destroy enemy targets efficiently. (These are the future military helicopters of the world.)

Here is a look at the fastest gunship helicopters of the modern era:

Why Are We Covering This?

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Source: curraheeshutter / Shutterstock.com

Gunship helicopters are important due to their ability to deliver direct and immediate firepower, provide close air support to ground troops, and execute anti-armor operations. Their ability to hover, maneuver in tight spaces, and deliver precise attacks makes them uniquely effective in modern warfare. Their development and deployment reflect an ongoing evolution in tactical military engagements where speed, agility, and accuracy are paramount. These helicopters continue to play critical roles in conflict zones worldwide, underscoring their importance in contemporary military strategy.

41. UH-1B/C Huey Cobra / Frog

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 95 mph
  • Type: Gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1962
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: .30 caliber machine guns, miniguns, rocket pods, 40mm automatic grenade launcher

40. H-19 Chickasaw

  • Top speed: 101 mph
  • Type: Multirole transport utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1950
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
  • Armament: 7.62mm medium machine guns, 12.7mm heavy machine guns, rocket pods

39. MH-60L DAP

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Top speed: 103 mph
  • Type: Special Forces gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1990
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
  • Armament: 30mm M230 chain gun, Hydra rocket pods, GAU-19 gun pods, M134 minigun pods, Hellfire missiles, Stinger missiles

38. Model 207 (Sioux Scout)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 109 mph
  • Type: Light armed scout helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1963
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: 7.62mm M60 machine guns, SS 10 anti-tank guided missiles, rocket pods

37. Mil Mi-4 (Hound)

  • Top speed: 115 mph
  • Type: Multirole utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1953
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
  • Armament: Rocket pods, conventional drop bombs

36. Alouette II

  • Top speed: 115 mph
  • Type: Light utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1957
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
  • Armament: Anti-tank guided missiles, anti-ship missiles, torpedoes

35. Mil Mi-2 (Hoplite)

  • Top speed: 124 mph
  • Type: Light utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1965
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mil Helicopter Plant
  • Armament: 23mm automatic cannons, rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles

34. H-21 Workhorse

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Top speed: 127 mph
  • Type: Tandem-rotor transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1953
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Piasecki Helicopter / Boeing
  • Armament: 12.7mm machine guns, 7.62mm machine guns

33. Alouette III

  • Top speed: 130 mph
  • Type: Light multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1960
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
  • Armament: 20mm cannon, 7.62mm machine gun, AS.11 anti-tank missiles, Mk 44 torpedoes

32. Z-5

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Top speed: 130 mph
  • Type: Transport / utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1965
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Harbin
  • Armament: Machine guns, rocket pods, machine gun pods

31. UH-1 Iroquois (Huey)

Source: cak757 / Flickr
  • Top speed: 137 mph
  • Type: Multirole / utility / attack / transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1959
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, Mk 44/46 torpedoes, rocket pods, various air-to-surface missiles, various anti-tank missiles, automatic cannons, 12.7mm GAU miniguns

30. Model 212

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 140 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift utility / transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1968
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, rocket pods

29. Bo 105 (MBB)

  • Top speed: 152 mph
  • Type: Light utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1970
  • Country of origin: Germany
  • Manufacturer: Airbus Helicopters
  • Armament: HOT / HOT2 anti-tank missiles, TOW anti-tank missiles

28. H125 Fennec (AS550)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 152 mph
  • Type: Light utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1990
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale / Airbus Helicopters
  • Armament: 20mm GIAT M621 automatic cannon, 12.7mm machine gun pods, 7.62mm machine gun pods, rocket pods, TOW anti-tank missiles

27. AW159 (Lynx / Super Lynx)

Source: Alan Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 158 mph
  • Type: Multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1978
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Manufacturer: Leonardo-Finmeccanica
  • Armament: TOW anti-tank guided missiles, rocket pods, 20mm automatic cannon, anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, 7.62mm general purpose machine guns

26. Mil Mi-17 (Hip-H)

  • Top speed: 158 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift transport / gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1981
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant / Russian Helicopters
  • Armament: 23mm cannon pods, 7.62mm machine gun pods, rocket pods, Shturm-V missiles

25. Mil Mi-8 (Hip)

  • Top speed: 162 mph
  • Type: Multirole medium-lift helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1967
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant / Russian Helicopters
  • Armament: Rocket pods, Swatter missiles, Sagger missiles, Phalanga missiles, 12.7mm machine gun, cannon pods

24. PZL W-3 Sokol

  • Top speed: 162 mph
  • Type: Multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1985
  • Country of origin: Poland
  • Manufacturer: PZL-Swidnik
  • Armament: 23mm autocannon, rocket pods, missiles, cannon pods, 12.7mm machine guns

23. CH-146 Griffon

  • Top speed: 162 mph
  • Type: Multirole utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1995
  • Country of origin: Canada
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: 7.62mm C6 machine guns, 7.62mm Dillon Aero M134D miniguns

22. KUH-1 Surion

  • Top speed: 162 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2013
  • Country of origin: South Korea
  • Manufacturer: Korea Aerospace Industries
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, TOW anti-tank guided missiles, rocket pods

21. SA342 Gazelle

Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Top speed: 165 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1973
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
  • Armament: HOT anti-tank missiles, Mastra Mistal missiles, rocket pods, 7.62mm machine guns, 20mm GIAT autocannon

20. SH-3 Sea King

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Top speed: 166 mph
  • Type: Anti-submarine warfare helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1961
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
  • Armament: Mk 44 / 46 torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, depth charges, 7.62mm machine guns

19. SA 330 Puma

  • Top speed: 170 mph
  • Type: Medium transport / assault helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1969
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
  • Armament: Machine gun pods, cannon pods

18. AS532 (Super Puma / Cougar)

Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

  • Top speed: 170 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1982
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale / Airbus Helicopters
  • Armament: 7.62mm gun pods, rocket pods, AM 39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, air-to-surface missiles

17. Z-20

  • Top speed: 171 mph
  • Type: Multi-mission military helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2018
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Harbin
  • Armament: General purpose machine guns

16. H-34 / CH-34 Choctaw

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Type: Close-support / transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1954
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
  • Armament: 7.62mm M60C general purpose machine guns, rocket pods

15. Z-11

  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Type: Multirole light utility / attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1998
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation
  • Armament: CS/LM12 minigun, 40mm automatic grenade launcher, machine gun pods, air-to-surface missiles, air-to-air missiles, rocket pods, conventional drop bombs

14. AW149

  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2015
  • Country of origin: Italy
  • Manufacturer: Leonardo-Finmeccanica
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, rocket pods

13. Dhruv (Polaris)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 174 mph
  • Type: Multirole medium-lift transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2002
  • Country of origin: India
  • Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautical Limited
  • Armament: Anti-tank guided missiles, rocket pods, torpedoes, depth charges, anti-ship missiles

12. AW109

  • Top speed: 177 mph
  • Type: Multirole utility helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1976
  • Country of origin: Italy
  • Manufacturer: Leonardo
  • Armament: 12.7mm machine guns, 7.62mm machine guns, TOW anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, machine gun pods

11. S-76

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Top speed: 180 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1977
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
  • Armament: Machine gun pods, rocket pods, cannon pods

10. Rudra (ALH-WSI)

Source: Pritishp333 / Wikimedia Commons

  • Top speed: 180 mph
  • Type: Gunship / Multirole military helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2012
  • Country of origin: India
  • Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautical Limited
  • Armament: 20mm M621 cannon, Helina anti-tank missiles, MBDA air-to-air missiles, rocket pods, anti-ship missiles, torpedoes

9. UH-60 Black Hawk

  • Top speed: 183 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, Hellfire missiles, GAU-19 12.7mm Gatling guns, M134D Gatling guns, FFAR rocket pods

8. AS565 Panther

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Top speed: 190 mph
  • Type: Multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1985
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
  • Armament: GIAT M621 20mm automatic cannon, rocket pods, AS 15 anti-ship missiles, HOT anti-tank missiles, 20mm cabin-mounted cannons, Mk 46 torpedoes

7. Z-9 (Haitun)

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Top speed: 190 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift transport / gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1994
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Harbin
  • Armament: Air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, cannon pods, rocket pods, machine gun pods

6. UH-1Y Venom (Super Huey)

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Top speed: 190 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift utility / transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2009
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: Hydra rocket pods, M240D general purpose machine guns, 12.7mm GAU-16/A Gatling guns, 7.62mm GAU-17/A Gatling guns

5. AW101 Merlin (EH101)

  • Top speed: 192 mph
  • Type: Medium-lift / multirole helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1999
  • Country of origin: Italy
  • Manufacturer: Leonardo
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, rocket pods, depth charges

4. Mil Mi-35 (Hind-E)

  • Top speed: 193 mph
  • Type: Heavy assault gunship / attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2005
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant / Russian Helicopters
  • Armament: 23mm twin-barreled cannons, air-to-surface missiles, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods

3. Mil AH-2 Sabre (Mi-35M)

Source: Brazilian Air Force / Wikimedia

  • Top speed: 193 mph
  • Type: Assault gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2010
  • Country of origin: Brazil
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant / Russian Helicopters
  • Armament: 23mm twin-barreled gun, air-to-surface missiles, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods, machine gun pods

2. Mil Mi-24 (Hind)

  • Top speed: 208 mph
  • Type: Armed assault gunship / attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1973
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
  • Armament: 12.7mm machine guns, 23mm/30mm cannons, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket pods, machine gun pods, cannon pods, conventional drop bombs

1. V-280 Valor

Source: williamhc / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Top speed: 265 mph
  • Type: Tiltrotor technology demonstrator
  • Year introduced: 2020
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, 12.7mm heavy machine guns, conventional drop bombs, rocket pods, 20mm cannon

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