The world's fastest military helicopters

Be it combat, troop deployment or supplies, speed is a critical requirement for military helicopters. Airforce-technology.com lists the world’s fastest military helicopters.


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Airforce-technology.com lists the world's fastest military helicopters.

CH-47F Chinook

At a maximum speed of 315km/h, the CH-47F Chinook is the world's fastest military helicopter. Manufactured by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, the Chinook is capable of performing multiple missions and was first fielded by the US Army's operational unit in July 2007 for the transportation of troops, artillery, equipment and cargo in support of combat and humanitarian relief operations.

The helicopter incorporates an upgraded airframe and a high-capacity fuel system allowing it to cover twice the distance of similar helicopters. Its tandem rotor layout allows operability in adverse weather, high altitude and crosswind conditions.

Two powerful Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines generating 4,777shp (3,529kW) of power each enable the CH-47F fly at altitudes up to 20,000ft (6,096m) while carrying a load of 10,886kg. The helicopter's fuel tank holds 3,194 litres of fuel ensuring a mission radius of 370.4km.

Mi-35M Helicopter (Upgraded Mi-24)

The Mi-35M (NATO code name: Hind E) is a multipurpose military transport helicopter designed to cruise at a maximum speed of 310km/h. Developed by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, the Mi-35M is an upgraded version of Mi-24 HIND helicopter and can conduct combat missions in adverse weather conditions day and night.

The Mi-35M entered serial production phase in 2005 at Rostvertol plant and is currently in service with the Russian Air Force and armed forces of Venezuela, Brazil and Azerbaijan. It can be used to target armoured vehicles, fire support, landing and evacuation of troops, as well as transportation of cargo.

The helicopter is powered by two ?V?-117V?? or V?-2500 engines developing 2,200hp each. The power-plant enables a maximum take-off weight of 11,500kg. The operational altitude and normal range of the helicopter are 5,400m (17,716ft) and 460km respectively.

AW101 Merlin (formerly EH101)

The EH101 Merlin (now known as AW101) is a flexible medium-lift helicopter which can fly at a maximum speed of 309km/h making it one of the fastest military rotorcraft. It is produced by AgustaWestland for military and civilian applications.

The EH101 made its first flight in October 1987 and the first helicopter entered service with the Royal Navy in June 2000. The helicopter can accommodate 38 soldiers and can be fitted with missiles, torpedoes and personnel weapons as well as an advanced self-protection suite for countering missile threats.

Three Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01 engines provide the AW101 high lifting capacity and top speed. Each engine develops a power of 2,270shp and ensures operations at a maximum altitude of 15,000ft.

AugustaWestland AW139M

The AW139M from AugustaWestland is a new generation twin-turbine military helicopter offering one of the best in class speed of 306km/h. It can transport up to ten fully equipped soldiers or 15 passengers at very high speeds.

The AW139M was introduced at the AFA Air Warfare Symposium in February 2011 for US Air Force's Common Vertical Lift Support Programme (CVLSP). It integrates Electro Optic (EO) / infrared (IR) System, Defensive Aids Suite (DAS), and an external stores system for wide range of weapon systems.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turbines driving a state-of-the-art five-bladed main rotor deliver a higher speed even in demanding situations including 'hot and high', and allow operations at altitudes up to 6,096m (20,000ft). The robust main and nose landing gears of the helicopter ensure operations from unprepared land surfaces.

NH90

The NH90 is a medium lift, multi-role military helicopter designed to meet the requirements of Nato members. The helicopter's impressive cruise speed of 300km/h makes it one of the fastest military helicopters in the world.

The NH90 helicopter is produced by NHIndustries in Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and Naval Frigate Helicopter (NFH) versions. It is primarily operated by the armed forces of Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. The first NH90s were handed over to the German Army in 2006.

The power-plant of the NH90 includes either two RTM322-01/9 or two GE T700/T6E1 2000kW class engines equipped with dual channel Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) system. The high-performance engine enables the helicopter to reach a maximum altitude of 3,200m (10,500ft) at a rate of climb of 2,200ft/min.

Ka-52 Alligator

The Ka-52 Alligator, has the ability to fly at a maximum speed of 300km/h and was developed by Kamov Design Bureau to meet the demands of reconnaissance and combat missions for the Russian Air Force.

The Ka-52K, a naval version of Ka-52, is also being developed for the Russian Navy. The helicopter features advanced flight characteristics offering high manoeuvrability in confined spaces.

The Ka-52 Alligator is powered by two VK-2500 turbo-shaft engines, which deliver 2,400hp each allowing the helicopter to fly at altitudes over 5,000m (16,404ft). The helicopter can take-off and land in hot and high conditions as well as in extremely cold and icy conditions.

Mi-28N Night Hunter

The Mi-28N "Night Hunter" (Export designation: Mi-28NE) is an attack helicopter developed by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. The helicopter can attain maximum speed of 300km/h competing closely with the NH90 and Ka-52 Alligator helicopters, which offer the same speed.

The production of Mi-28N commenced at Rosvertol's aviation plant in 2005. The first serial production helicopter was handed over to the Russian Air Force in mid 2006. The Mi-28N helicopter is also in service with the air forces of Iraq and Kenya.

The two VK-2500 engines fitted to the helicopter develop a take-off power of 2,200hp each. The twin-engine power-plant enables the Mi-28N to operate at an altitude of 5,600m with a normal take-off weight of 10,900kg.

Mi-26 Halo

The Mi-26 (Nato reporting name: Halo) is a heavy transport helicopter produced by Rosvertol's aviation plant in Russia. The helicopter has a maximum speed of 295km/h, which makes it the world's fastest heavy-lift military transport helicopter.

The Mi-26 made its first flight in December 1977. The helicopter is used primarily by the air forces of Russia, India and Ukraine, and can transport up to 82 fully equipped troops or up to 20t of cargo.

The helicopter is equipped with two D-136 turbo-shaft engines generating a power of 11,400hp each. It achieves a maximum flight range of 800km with main fuel tanks and can fly at a maximum altitude of 4,600m (15,091ft).

AH-64D Apache

The AH-64 Apache, considered as one of the most advanced multi-mission combat helicopters, is also one of the fastest military helicopters in the world. It can attain a maximum speed of 284km/h in hot day conditions.

The US Army placed orders for over 600 AH-64Ds under multiple contracts and took delivery of the first Apache Longbow (radar equipped AH-64D) in 1997. The Apaches are also in service with the armed forces of Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Netherlands, UAE, and the UK.

The AH-64D is powered by two General Electric T700-701C turbo-shaft engines developing a maximum power of 1,890shp each. The high-performance engines ensure the helicopter to reach a maximum altitude of 15,895ft (4,845m) at a rate of climb of 2,915ft/m.

AW109 LUH

The AW109 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) with the capability to fly at a maximum speed of 282km/h stands among the world's ten fastest military helicopters. The multi-mission capabilities of the AW109 LUH also made it one of the best-selling military helicopters in its class.

The AW109 LUH is operated by the armed forces of South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand and Malaysia. It is equipped with sophisticated sensors, state-of-the-art avionics and redundant systems for optimum safety and survivability.

The power-plant includes two Turbomeca Arrius 2K2 engines that deliver a maximum continuous power of 454kW (609shp) each ensuring a rate of climb of 8.33m/sec to reach an altitude of 20,000ft. The maximum range of the helicopter is 926km.

Defence Technology