Air International 2021-12
J.Winchester - Angle of attack
The Mi-24/35 Hind is still in use with eight European nations. Poland is considering an upgrade or a replacement, while the Czech Republic is buying the Bell UH-1Y/AH-1Z combo and Ukraine is progressing with a limited modernisation programme
Aviakon is overhauling Mi-24s for Ukraine Army Aviation, which has seen much action with the type from 2014. The firm is able to design and implement more extensive airframe and weapons upgrades
In combat situations, several attack helicopter types are cleared to extract downed aircrew and wounded troops to safety with a strap system. Demonstrated here on an Italian Army Mangusta, the capability has been used in action by AAC Apaches in Afghanistan and German Tigers in Mali
The TAI T-129 ATAK has evolved from the Mangusta, adding a wider range of weapons, mostly from Turkish suppliers, but retaining the three-barreled 20mm rotary cannon
The T-129B ATAK 2 can field precision weapons, including the UMTAS anti-tank missile produced by Turkey’s ROKETSAN and the MBDA Mistral ATAM air-to-air missile
The Airbus EC665 Tiger is due a major upgrade, but Germany is prevaricating. The only non-European customer, Australia, has decided to buy AH-64E rather than participate in the Tiger 3 programme
Tigers have seen extensive combat use in Africa on counterterrorism operations. This ALAT Tiger was pictured in late 2014 at Bangui, Central African Republic
Spain's first six Tigers were built to HAP standard, as shown here. Subsequent deliveries have been of the improved HAD version
Most Western attack helicopters can be operated at sea when necessary, as illustrated by this Spanish Tiger aboard the carrier Juan Carlos I in 2021
The UK Army Air Corps' new AH-64E was shown to industry and media observers at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) event in London’s Docklands in September 2021
The US Army has three companies of Apaches based in Germany. A derelict mill makes a suitably battle-scarred backdrop for this AH-64D approaching to land outside London’s ExCel Centre
Fitted with the optional Airbus HForce weapons system, a lighter aircraft such the Airbus H145M can provide a useful back-up to dedicated attack helicopter fleets using cannon and rocket pods as seen on this Hungarian Air Force example
Armed H145Ms can fill a light anti-armour role that was once the speciality of aircraft like the Bo-105 and Gazelle. An H145M is displayed in Serbian markings at the Paris Air Show - the country still has a sizeable number of armed Gazelles
Official renderings of the AW249 that’s currently under development in Italy show a mix of AW129 Mangusta features, with new engine fairings and large sponsons such as those used on the AH-64 family