In the Second World War helicopters were usedepisodically (for adjusting artillery fire and other auxiliary purposes). The military in all countries of the world did not attach great importance to these eccentric machines, believing that they are too vulnerable and capricious, and their flight characteristics are completely unsuitable for combat. In 1948, the command of the US Army refused to buy them, considering helicopters an expensive and useless toy. It is impossible to say that the leadership of the Soviet Armed Forces treated them differently.
The war in Korea, which began two years later,changed attitude towards rotary technology in a fundamental way. It is difficult even to calculate how many American soldiers managed to be saved thanks to simple and small helicopters of ambulance aircraft carrying wounded on external suspensions (one person on either side of the transparent cab).
The Vietnam War expanded the scope of applicationa new type of aircraft. Along with the "Huey" UH-1, intended for the transport of manpower and armed with fairly simple weapons, there were combat helicopters designed to apply assault strikes. The military transport capabilities of the rotorcraft, which have made millions of flights and carried tens of millions of soldiers, have acquired immense significance. In the conditions of the mobile war, this quality of helicopters, as an opportunity to do without a runway, acquired a special meaning.
Shock helicopters "Cobra" AN-1, armedrockets and 40 mm cannon, have acquired in general a look that makes it possible to distinguish between modern combat helicopters of impact design: a narrow fuselage with armored windows and a double cabin and the absence of any other functions unrelated to the main objective - the enemy's fire damage.
The Soviet Union also developed a rotary-wingaviation. Combat helicopters Mi-24, the development of which began in the late sixties, according to the plan of the customer, the Ministry of Defense, had to combine two main functions - shock and transport. Like the American Cobra, which borrowed a power unit from the Iroquois - Huey, the design of the Soviet Mi-24 used a propeller and engine of a proven and reliable Mi-8. As far as it turned out well, time showed. These combat helicopters serve in the armies of many countries (and were used in different wars). They have their shortcomings, but they do not take away the merits.
Helicopter "Apache" AN-64 marked the directionthe development of a new generation of combat rotorcraft designed to destroy enemy armored vehicles with the help of ultra-precision technological fire systems. On this path, the design bureaus of different countries (from Russia to the Republic of South Africa). Combat helicopters of the second generation are distinguished by high survivability, conditioned by the reservation and rational layout of vital units, powerful weapons equipped with intelligent fire control systems, and the availability of means to impede their detection.
Combat helicopters of Russia of the second generation are represented by Ka-50 and Mi-28 vehicles, by a number of performance characteristics superior to foreign counterparts.