Special Report

The Oldest and Newest Attack Helicopters of the Modern Era

VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Throughout the course of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, attack helicopters have played a pivotal role in deciding the outcome thus far. As it stands now, Russia boasts the second largest fleet of attack helicopters in the world, second only to the United States. The importance of these aircraft cannot be understated. (These are the countries with the most attack helicopters.)

Combining various operational roles on the battlefield, attack helicopters are an important part of any strategy in the field. These aircraft are capable of reconnaissance, some can transport troops, but all are capable of laying down heavy fire.

To identify the oldest and newest attack 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 ordered these helicopters chronologically and included supplemental information from Military Factory regarding the type of helicopter, year introduced, country of origin, manufacturer, top speed, and armament.

One of the newest additions to the helicopter fleet of the United States is the AH-1Z Viper, first introduced to the service in 2010. The overall design of the Viper is somewhat based on the AH-1 Cobra of the Vietnam War era. This new twin-engine iteration is outfitted with two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines capable of 1,800 horsepower each, which allow it to reach speeds of over 250 mph. (These are the 25 helicopters of the Vietnam War.)

Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron, manufactures the Viper as well as a series of other commercial and military rotorcraft. The SuperCobra, SeaCobra, and Kiowa are other examples of aircraft manufactured by Bell Helicopters that make this list.

Here is a look at the oldest and newest attack helicopters of the modern era.

25. OH-6 Cayuse (Loach)

  • Type: Light observation / attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1966
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Hughes Tool Company
  • Top speed: 175 mph
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, 12.7mm M2 Browning machine gun, Hydra rocket pods, TOW anti-tank missiles, Hellfire anti-tank missiles

24. AH-1 HueyCobra / Cobra

  • Type: Dedicated two-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1967
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Top speed: 172 mph
  • Armament: M28 turret, 40mm grenade launcher, rocket pods, minigun pods, TOW anti-tank missiles

23. OH-58 Kiowa

  • Type: Armed scout and reconnaissance / light attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1969
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Top speed: 131 mph
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine gun pods, 12.7mm machine gun pods, Hydra rocket pods, Hellfire missiles, Stinger missiles

22. AH-1J SeaCobra

  • Type: Dedicated two-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1970
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Top speed: 175 mph
  • Armament: 20mm M197 Gatling gun, Hydra rocket pods, Zuni rocket pods, TOW anti-tank missiles, Sidewinder missiles

21. AH-1 SuperCobra

  • Type: Attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1971
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Armament: 20mm Gatling gun, TOW anti-tank missiles, Hellfire missiles, Sidearm missiles, rocket pods

20. Mil Mi-24 (Hind)

  • Type: Attack / assault gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1973
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
  • Top speed: 208 mph
  • Armament: 12.7mm machine guns, 30mm cannons, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods, gun pods

19. AH-6 / MH-6 Little Bird

MH-6 Little Bird carrying Special Forces soldiers.
  • Type: Light attack / observation / transport helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1980
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Hughes / McDonnell Douglas / Boeing / MD Helicopters
  • Top speed: 175 mph
  • Armament: 30mm M230 Chaingun, 7.62mm machine guns, 12.7mm machine guns, Hydra rocket pods, Hellfire missiles, TOW anti-tank missiles, Stinger missiles

18. AH-64 Apache

  • Type: Dedicated two-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1986
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Hughes / McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Top speed: 183 mph
  • Armament: 30mm chain gun, Hellfire missiles, rocket pods, Stinger missiles

17. A129 Mangusta (Mongoose)

  • Type: Dedicated attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1990
  • Country of origin: Italy
  • Manufacturer: Leonardo-Finmeccanica
  • Top speed: 174 mph
  • Armament: 20mm M197 Gatling gun, TOW-2 anti-tank missiles, Hellfire missiles, rocket pods, Stinger missiles, 12.7mm machine gun pods

16. Ka-50 Black Shark (Hokum)

  • Type: Dedicated single-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1995
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Kamov
  • Top speed: 193 mph
  • Armament: 30mm Shipunov cannon, Vikhr anti-tank missiles, Kegler missiles, Archer missiles, rocket pods, gun pods

15. Z-11

  • Type: Multirole light utility / attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1998
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation
  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Armament: 40mm automatic grenade launcher, 12.7mm machine gun pods, 7.62mm machine gun pods, rocket pods

14. PANHA 2091 (Toufan)

Toufan 2 helicopter in flight.
  • Type: Dedicated two-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 1998
  • Country of origin: Iran
  • Manufacturer: Iran Helicopter Support and Renewal Company
  • Top speed: 147 mph
  • Armament: 20mm M197 3-barreled autocannon, Hydra rocket pods, Zuni rocket pods, sidewinder missiles, anti-tank guided missiles

13. OH-1 Ninja

  • Type: Reconnaissance / observation helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2000
  • Country of origin: Japan
  • Manufacturer: Kawasaki
  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Armament: Air-to-surface missiles, rocket pods, gun pods, cannon pods

12. Tiger (EC665)

  • Type: Twin-seat, twin-engine dedicated attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2003
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter)
  • Top speed: 196 mph
  • Armament: 30mm GIAT cannon, SNEB rocket pods, Hydra rocket pods, Stinger missiles, Mistral missiles, Hellfire missiles, HOT3 missiles, Spike-ER missiles

11. Mil Mi-35 (Hind-E)

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

10. Mil Mi-28 (Havoc)

  • Type: Dedicated two-seat, twin-engine attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2009
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
  • Top speed: 199 mph
  • Armament: 30mm Shipunov cannon, rocket pods, Spril missiles, cannon pods

9. AH-1Z Viper

  • Type: Twin-seat, twin-engine dedicated attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2010
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Top speed: 255 mph
  • Armament: 20mm M196 Gatling gun, Hellfire missiles, Sidewinder missiles, Hydra rocket pods

8. Ka-52 Alligator (Hokum-B)

  • Type: Two-seat armed reconnaissance / attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2010
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Kamov
  • Top speed: 186 mph
  • Armament: 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods

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

Mil AH-2 Sabre on the runway.
  • Type: Attack / assault gunship helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2010
  • Country of origin: Brazil
  • Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
  • Top speed: 193 mph
  • Armament: 23mm twin-barreled bun, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods, machine gun pods

6. Denel AH-2 Rooivalk (Kestrel)

Brazilian AH-2 Sabre armed with missiles and rockets.
  • Type: Dedicated two-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2011
  • Country of origin: South Africa
  • Manufacturer: Denel (Atlas)
  • Top speed: 173 mph
  • Armament: 20mm Armscore F2 cannon, ZT6 Mokopa anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, Mistral missiles

5. Z-10 (Fierce Thunderbolt)

  • Type: Dedicated two-seat attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2012
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation
  • Top speed: 186 mph
  • Armament: 30mm cannon, 40mm grenade launcher, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, rocket pods

4. Z-19 (Black Whirlwind)

Z-19 helicopter in flight.
  • Type: Reconnaissance / light attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2012
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation
  • Top speed: 152 mph
  • Armament: Blue Arrow anti-tank missiles, TY-90 missiles, HJ-8 missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods, gun pods

3. HESA Shahed 285 / AH-85 (Witness)

Shahed 285 on display.
  • Type: Light attack / reconnaissance helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2014
  • Country of origin: Iran
  • Manufacturer: Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company
  • Top speed: 140 mph
  • Armament: 7.62mm machine guns, rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles, Kowsar anti-ship missiles, Sadid anti-ship missiles

2. TAI T-129 (ATAK)

  • Type: Dedicated two-seat, twin-engine attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2015
  • Country of origin: Turkey
  • Manufacturer: Turkish Aerospace Industries
  • Top speed: 171 mph
  • Armament: 20mm Gatling gun, Hellfire missiles, TOW anti-tank missiles, Stinger missiles, Sidewinder missiles, rocket pods, 12.7mm heavy machine guns

1. HAL Prachand

HAL Prachand in flight.
  • Type: Light attack helicopter
  • Year introduced: 2022
  • Country of origin: India
  • Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
  • Top speed: 174 mph
  • Armament: 20mm M621 cannon, gun pods, rocket pods, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles

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