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Subject: Which Attack Helicopter is the Most Deadly?
Harold C. Hutchison     2/18/2005 1:53:07 AM

Apache vs. Havoc vs. Hokum vs. Tiger. Which is the most deadly? Attack helicopters are fast moving, low flying and lethal combat aircraft. They are high-speed forces capable of delivering a heavy punch against armored vehicles ? while not having to worry about impassable terrain. But which is the best attack helicopter in the world?

Contenders for this come primarily from the United States (AH-64 Apache) and Russia (the Mi-28 Havoc and the Ka-50/52 Hokum), and the Eurocopter Tiger from France and Germany. These helicopters are all lethal ? they are capable of destroying anywhere form eight to 24 tanks in a single sortie ? anywhere from 25 to 80 percent of a standard Russian tank battalion (31 tanks). They also can carry unguided rockets (usually 2.75-inch or 3.15-inch) for use against soft targets like trucks or infantry.

The Russians designed two top-rate attack helicopters. The Mi-28 Havoc is a direct successor to the famous Mi-24 Hind. The Havoc carries up to 16 AT-6 ?Spiral? or 32 AT-9 ?Vikhr? anti-tank missiles, up to four 20-round 3.15-inch rocket pods, or a mixture. It also has a powerful 30mm cannon, which is also used on the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle. It can hit targets as far as 4 kilometers away. The Mi-28 has a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour, and a range of 460 kilometers.

The other Russian design is the Ka-50 Hokum. It also can carry 24 ?Vikhr? missiles, four 20-round rocket pods, or a mixture. The Hokum also can carry the AA-11/R-73 Archer air-to-air missiles, which makes the Hokum a very capable threat against opposing attack helicopters. The 30mm 2A42 is also mounted on the Hokum, albeit more like a fighter?s cannon. The Hokum?s top speed is 350 kilometers per hour, and it has a combat radius of 250 kilometers.

The AH-64 Apache is slower that either of the Russian helicopters (296 kilometers per hour), but features more range (520 kilometers). It also only carries 16 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, 76 2.75-inch rockets, or a mixed load. It has a 30mm gun, but the M230 is not as powerful as the 2A42. That said, it holds more than twice as many rounds (1200) as the Ka-50?s mount (500), and nearly five times as many as the Mi-28?s (250). The Apache has been exported to the UK, Israel, Greece, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Netherlands. It also has proven itself in Desert Storm, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Eurocopter has built the Tiger, which is a versatile helicopter for both observation and attack duties. It carries eight anti-tank missiles (Trigat, HOT, TOW, or Hellfire). One version has a 30mm cannon with 450 rounds. It has a top speed of 322 kilometers per hour and a range of 800 kilometers. It is in service with France, Germany, Spain, and Australia.

Which is the best of these? Judging by performance specifications, the Ka-50 is the best ? barely edging out the Tiger. That said, the AH-64 Apache, however, has a combat record in four conflicts, and unlike either Russian helicopter, it has secured a wide variety of export orders. Only the Tiger comes close, but it lacks the firepower and the combat record of the Apache. The Apache is probably the most proven design of these, and has the fewest question marks regarding its weapons or electronics.

 
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Ezekiel    The Hokum   5/15/2008 6:13:50 PM

The hokum... due to its safety features, its imaginative design that allows it to be faster and rediculously maneuverable.
Plus it is single seater which in an attack role allows for cheaper fighting. It is also very durable due to the streamlined design.

I've heard that Israel (IAI helped design it in conjunction Kamov) is going to liscence it and start manufacturing them in the next few years, with slight modifications.



 
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WarNerd       5/16/2008 1:08:19 AM
You cannot select the "best" based on a few simple statistics, but you can make a good guess using the overall performance in a set of weighted scenarios of common tasks.  Then we can argue endlessly over the "weighting" of the different scenarios.  What is the relative importance of the ability massacre an armored column in central Europe, to hunt down a Mahdi Army mortar team in central Baghdad, or supply overwatch during an airborne landing?  Different machines will excel in different roles.
 
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WarNerd       5/16/2008 1:42:04 AM


The hokum... due to its safety features, its imaginative design that allows it to be faster and ridiculously maneuverable.
Plus it is single seater which in an attack role allows for cheaper fighting. It is also very durable due to the streamlined design.

I've heard that Israel (IAI helped design it in conjunction Kamov) is going to license it and start manufacturing them in the next few years, with slight modifications.

 

The KA-50 Hokum is a technologically impressive machine, but I have real reservations about a one man cockpit in a gunship operating at tree top level or lower.  However, Russian doctrine, based on their experience in Afghanistan, emphasis's the higher elevation (to avoid RPG fire) and strafing runs that this machine is clearly designed for.  In this case it might be better to the Hokum performance might be better compared to the Harrier.
 
The Israel version you refer to is probably a derivative of the 2 seater version designed by IAI and Komov to compete for a helicopter contract in Turkey.
 
Lastly, to correct the original posting, the Hokum only carries a total of 12 Vihkr missiles on 4 hard points, not 24.
 
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historynut       5/16/2008 3:29:42 PM
It's not only the design but how well trained the crews are. Good design + bad crew, you lose.
 
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DarthAmerica       5/17/2008 3:45:33 AM
When these machines are made, the engineers don't sit down and have a meeting about how to make it "The Most Deadly". Is there even such a thing? No, they try to meet specific criteria of the customer. A better question would be which of these helicopters is better suited for a particular mission.


-DA

 
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