Attack helicopters have played a huge role in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia boasts one of the largest attack helicopter fleets in the world, but despite this size advantage, it has been dealt setbacks, losing an eighth of its helicopters and being forced to change tactics. Even though attack helicopters have changed the face of modern war, there is still more to war than air superiority. (Here is every plane in Russia’s air force.)
Among military assets, combat helicopters play a pivotal role in modern warfare. They combine reconnaissance, logistics, and combat capabilities, aiding in various operational roles on the battlefield.
To determine the 22 countries with the largest attack helicopter fleets, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed GlobalFirepower, an annually-updated website tracking defense-related statistics of 145 nations. Countries were ranked by the number of attack helicopters in active service. Supplemental data regarding total aircraft fleet size and the most common combat helicopters came from FlightGlobal. Military expenditure data for 2022 came from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Military Expenditure Database.
The United States of America indisputably leads the charge with the most extensive attack helicopter fleet globally with over 980 helicopters. With a focus on power projection and force mobility, the U.S. military operates an impressive number of helicopters such as the Apache, Black Hawk, and Chinook CH-47. The Apache is particularly noteworthy for its lethal firepower and sophisticated technology. (Here is every helicopter used by the U.S. armed forces.)
Though much smaller than the U.S. fleet, Russia follows the United States, owning the second-largest fleet of attack helicopters at over 530. Russia’s combat fleet is chiefly composed of helicopters such as the Mil Mi-24 (Hind) and Kamov Ka-52 (Alligator). These helicopters are known for their versatility, durability, and aggressive combat features, making them indispensable to the Russian military.
China claims the third spot on the list with 281 attack helicopters. Its military mainly employs the Z-10 and Z-19 attack helicopters and recently introduced the Z-20 medium-lift utility helicopter.
While the largest combat helicopter fleets are found in the U.S., Russia, and China, countries across the globe hold sizable combat helicopter fleets. Multiple countries’ fleets have some overlap in the types of helicopters they use, and the countries on the list have at least 33 active combat helicopters.
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