Share Top 10 | A gunship in aviation may be in reference to an attack helicopter, such as a Mil Mi-24 or an AH-64 Apache. Another application of the term for military aircraft is more specific, describing an aircraft that circles its target instead of performing strafing runs. Such aircraft have their armament on one side harmonized to fire at the apex of an imaginary cone formed by the aircraft and the ground when performing a banking turn. Such gunships with an operational profile that relies on flying in circles can only operate with the guarantee of air superiority.
Here is the list of most lethal and deadly gunships.
AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, and Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support. It is a variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane.
AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with reverse-tricycle landing gear, and tandem cockpit for a crew of two. The helicopter is armed with a 30 mm automatic M230 Chain Gun that can be slaved to the gunner’s Helmet mounted display, fixed to a locked forward firing position, or controlled via the Target Acquisition and Designation System (TADS).
AH-1 Cobra is a two-bladed, single engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell. The AH-1 was the backbone of the United States Army’s attack helicopter fleet, but has been replaced by the AH-64 Apache in Army service. Upgraded versions continue to fly with several other users.
Mil Mi-24 (Cyrillic Миль Ми-24, NATO reporting name ‘Hind’) is a large helicopter gunship and low-capacity troop transport produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. The body is heavily armoured and can resist impacts from .50 calibre (12.7 mm) rounds from all angles, including the titanium rotor blades. The cockpit is an even more heavily armoured titanium tub and can resist impact from 37mm cannon rounds.
Eurocopter Tiger is an attack helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter. In Germany it is known as the Tiger; in France and Spain it is called the Tigre. The body of the Tiger is made from 80% carbon fibber reinforced polymer and Kevlar, 11% aluminium, and 6% titanium. The EC Tiger is capable of stopping 23mm auto cannon fire.
Agusta A129 Mangusta (Mongoose) (AW129 from June 2007) is an attack helicopter manufactured by Agusta of Italy. The A129 can be used in the anti-armour, armed reconnaissance, ground attack, escort, fire support and anti-aircraft roles. In the anti-armour role, the helicopter can carry either Hellfire, TOW or Spike-ER missiles, or a mix of them and has a three-barrel 20 mm cannon in a turret mounted under its nose.
Mil Mi-28 (NATO reporting name ‘Havoc’) is a Russian all-weather day-night military tandem two-seat anti-armour attack helicopter. It carries a single gun in an under nose barbette, plus external loads carried on pylons beneath stub wings.
The “Huey” as it was called after it’s original model designation, the HU-1. “Hueys” armed with only two M60D door guns, called “Slicks” because of their uncluttered external appearance.
The MH-60L Army Special Operations variant is a UH-60L with various mods to include updated cockpit, additional avionics, precision navigation system, FLIR, aircraft survivability equipment, external tank system. Pylon mounting cannon, rockets, or missiles can be supplemented by door or port mounting guns or launchers, limited mainly by the range, duration, cargo, or troops required to complete the mission.
KA-50 BLACK SHARK
The KA-50 Black Shark (referred to by NATO as ‘Hokum’) is a sophisticated Russian-built attack helicopter that is in service in small numbers (8 actively deployed) with the Russian army. The KA-50 is unusual for an attack helicopter in that it is crew by a single pilot/gunner, making it a very demanding aircraft to fly and fight in.