A military helicopter is a helicopter that is either specifically built or converted for use by military forces. A military helicopter's mission is a function of its design or conversion. The most common use of military helicopters is transport of troops, but transport helicopters can be modified or converted to perform other missions such as combat search and rescue (CSAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), airborne command post, or even armed with weapons for attacking ground targets. Because of the helicopter's (of both military and civilian uses) use of rotary blades, it was occasionally referred to as a "chopper."

Examples of attack helicopters

Boeing AH-64 Apache

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a twin engined, two-seat attack helicopter adopted by the United States Army in 1984; a distinctive machine with a four-bladed main rotor and tailwheel undercarriage.[1]

Mil Mi-28 "Havoc"

The Mil Mi-28, also known by its NATO reporting name Havoc, was a Russian all-weather day-night tandem two-seat anti-armor attack helicopter. It was made after testing the Hind in 1972 and filled out the attack chopper role perfectly without any secondary transport duties, making it the Russian's first pure attack chopper.

Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne

Ah56a-lc1 b

AH56A testing prototype.

The YAH-56A Cheyenne was an American prototype attack helicopter originally intended to replace the AH-1 Cobra. It was originally designed as an armed escort for transport helicopters such as the UH-1D Iroquois. However, it failed to get beyond the test production stages, as intelligence revealed the Soviets had already developed anti-aircraft weapons that would counter its high-speed dive attack profile, and in addition there was at least one fatal accident during testing and it went overbudget. The AH-64 Apache was developed after the cancellation of the YAH-56.

Peace Sentinel managed to procure some YAH-56A helicopters, prior to the Peace Walker Incident in 1974, which came in two variants: a bomber variant and a raider variant. The bomber variant, as the name implies, utilizes iron bombs (presumably of the Mark 81 variety) in bombing runs. The raider variant was developed as a means of destroying tanks, and are designed to utilize anti-tank missiles that can be fired from long distances, to the extent that it could be compared to an extremely powerful flying tank. The Militaires Sans Frontières also stole some of these helicopters (both original and custom-designed) from Peace Sentinel and added them to their expanding resources.

Examples of transport and utility helicopters

Bell UH-1 Iroquois


UH-1D "Huey" Iroquois.

The UH-1 Iroquois, nicknamed Huey, was a U.S. Army helicopter developed during the Cold War to replace the UH-34 Choctaw, and is one of the most successful helicopter designs in history. The Huey is tough, reliable, and sturdy; in other words, everything a U.S. military aircraft is expected to be. It saw extensive use during the Vietnam War and remained the Army's standard transport/utility helicopter until it was replaced by the UH-60 Blackhawk in the mid-1980s. The UH-1 remains in service with the Marines, who recently developed the UH-1Y variant. Retired military UH-1s, as well as purpose-built civilian models, are used extensively in America and around the world for firefighting, medical evacuation, law enforcement, construction, VIP transport, and general utility purposes.

The Militaires Sans Frontières used several Hueys[2] during the Peace Walker Incident. The helicopters were modified to include a recovery hook for transporting MSF recruits back to Mother Base, via the Fulton Surface-to-air Recovery System. Multiple personnel recoveries during operations, and the greater exposure to enemy fire during landings, necessitated the use of the modified Hueys. Its relatively low running/repair costs and quick response time, compared with other aircraft of the time, were also contributing factors in the MSF's choice of helicopter, although subcommander Kazuhira Miller had to explain the reasonings to a confused Big Boss at least twice.[3] At least one of the Hueys was supplied to the Militaires Sans Frontières along with its Mother Base by Ramón Gálvez Mena as a downpayment for hiring them.[4]

McDonnell Douglas MD902 Explorer

The McDonnel Douglas MD902 Explorer was used by Otacon (as evidenced by the markings on the fuselage, which is a NOTAR (No-Tail-Rotor) design. This was used by Otacon to insert Solid Snake and the Mk. III at Shadow Moses Island.

Multiple Explorers were seen operating near the USS Missouri during the assault on Outer Haven.

PMC helicopter, 2014—2018

PMC Helicopter

A PMC helicopter deployed in South America.

A helicopter operated by Liquid Ocelot's PMC forces, appeared to be a hybrid of the CH-53E Super Stallion and MH-47G Chinook. Liquid boarded this helicopter shortly after the disastrous results of the Middle Eastern test. Another chopper, perhaps the same one, was later used to retrieve Naomi Hunter in South America, although she managed to escape during takeoff during the confusion resulting from the failed hijacking of the system.

Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]

Another helicopter of this model was utilized by Doktor and Raiden to retrieve several cyborg cranium canisters containing children's brains so that they'd at least have a life outside of the battlefield. The chopper belonged to a PMC that Doktor had hired to aid Raiden in retrieving the brains. It was equipped with an EMP generator, although it was only powerful enough to deflect missiles, not taking out craft as large as the MQ-320, and besides the EMP possessed limited defensive capabilities due to its status as a transport chopper.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk

The Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk was used by the U.S. Navy to transport the SEAL Teams to the Big Shell during the Big Shell Incident in 2009. Both helicopters however, were shot down by a Harrier piloted by Solidus Snake and ended up "in the bottom of the harbor," as the Colonel put it. Solidus later mentioned this event to Olga Gurlukovich after returning to the Big Shell, referring to them as "an annoying fly."

U.S. military helicopter, 2014

U.S. Helicopter

A U.S. military helicopter.

A helicopter used by U.S. military forces and Philanthropy appears to be a fusion of the UH-60 Blackhawk forward fuselage, with the Kamov Ka-50 (and its variants) for the coaxial rotor and tail. One of these helicopters was utilized by Roy Campbell to pick up Solid Snake from Arlington National Cemetery, and hire him to assassinate Liquid Ocelot. In addition, three of these same helicopter types were used by the joint Army-Marines task force led by Meryl Silverburgh in an attempt to apprehend Liquid in Eastern Europe, although Liquid managed to use his control over the SOP System to disable the choppers, causing them to make a crash landing.

Unidentified black helicopter

A black, square-shaped helicopter was described by Alaskan fisherman John-Dee after being captured near Shadow Moses Island. In addition, when journalist Gary McGolden attempted to escape the island, he saw the same type of helicopter heading towards him before he blacked out. It is implied that these choppers were utilized by agents of the Patriots and were some sort of transport chopper.


The H-60 Helicopter as used by the Diamond Dogs.

UTH-66 Blackfoot

Main article: UTH-66 Blackfoot

The XOF are seen using a H-60 type helicopter resembling mostly a UH-60 Black Hawk when attempting to pursue one of MSF's Hinds on December 7, 1974, and later during their attack on Mother Base on March 16, 1975. 

The H-60 type helicopter is seen again used by XOF in 1984 and also by the Diamond Dogs as their primary helicopter (who used an olive drab colour scheme rather than the black used by XOF). One of the helicopters was flown by a pilot identified as Peqoud, who acted as the insertion and extraction pilot for Venom Snake.

Behind the scenes

In the non-canonical sequel to Metal Gear, Snake's Revenge, there was a helicopter that was aligned with FOXHOUND that was responsible for delivering Lt. Solid Snake, Nick Myer, and John Turner to the enemy nation in the game. Its pilot contacts the player at pre-determined times, and the chopper itself was necessary for two parts of the game: The first part involved getting Snake out of a ship that had been sinking due to Snake blowing up a munitions pile, and the second part had the chopper, with its weapons systems, blowing open the door to Metal Gear 2's hangar after Snake marked the door with a smoke bomb. 

The Havoc hasn't made an appearance in the Metal Gear series proper. However, it did appear in the game Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (known in North America and Europe as Metal Gear Solid) as a chopper utilized by both the Gindra Liberation Front and Black Chamber. The former was utilized by Sophie N'dram to attack Snake, the latter of whom also confused her with Chris Jenner due to a passing resemblance. The latter was utilized earlier by Black Chamber leader Black Arts Viper in order to distract Snake long enough to allow Metal Gear GANDER to launch a nuke via one of its rail guns.

A Huey helicopter is briefly seen in the image montage accompanying Gene's speech in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, shortly before driving his own men into a mass-riot.

Although the MD902 is seen during the U.S. military's assault on Outer Haven, it has never been operated by the U.S. military. However, it was evaluated by the U.S. Coast Guard as the MH-90 Enforcer for use in drug interdiction from 1998 to 2000. It, however, lost to the MH-68 Stingray (Augusta A109 Power in civilian trim) which ultimately was replaced by the MH-65C Dolphin. Assuming these were being operated by Snake and Otacon, it would go far as to show their ideals' true scope and capability aside from just Otacon and Snake.


MSF "Huey" helicopters being deployed to Outer Ops, in Peace Walker.

In the Peace Walker Tactical Espionage Operations trailer, released just prior to the release of Peace Walker, it showcased the Hueys transferring dropping off various soldiers at various departments of Mother Base, and also were shown flying enmasse by Mother Base in the title card for Outer Ops, the latter of which hinting that they were involved in the Outer Ops missions. Despite this, however, they did not actually appear in Outer Ops in the main game, due to it being more of a turn-based minigame. When selecting a mission (with the exception of "Travel through the Cloud Forest", "Travel to the Mine Base", and "Infiltrate the US Base", having the SFX of a galloping mule, the galloping of The Boss's Horse, and a boat, respectively), the sound effects for the fade out are a chopper passing overhead.

The callsign given to the Diamond Dogs helicopter pilot in The Phantom Pain is Pequod, acting as one of many allusions to Herman Melville's Moby Dick. A similar allusion was later given to Queequeg, who is also a Diamond Dogs chopper pilot. It is to be noted that despite the vehicle capturing element returning and being expanded upon from Peace Walker, the player cannot capture or use any helicopters aside from Pequod.

Notes and references

  1. ^ While the AH-64 Apache is never actually seen in Metal Gear Solid or The Twin Snakes, it is shown in artwork for the series by Yoshiyuki Takani.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    The cutscene in which the majority of Mother Base's personnel leave to help Snake in Nicaragua implies that the MSF owned at least thirteen UH-1D Iroquois.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Briefing Files > File Library > Miller > Mother Base > Fulton Recovery
    Kazuhira Miller: Snake, you can use the Fulton Surface-to-air Recovery System to send prisoners and unconscious mercenaries you encounter back to the Mother Base. I know you've used the Fulton before, but just to make sure I'm not missing anything, let's review the steps. // Naked Snake (Big Boss): OK. // Miller: First, attach a balloon to the unconscious enemy or captured prisoner. // Snake: Right. I hook a wire to the their waist, and on the other end of the wire there's a helium balloon. // Miller: Right. Then we'll send over a chopper to catch the floating balloon with its recovery hook and reel it up into its cargo hold. // Snake: And that's it. // Miller: And that's it. We finished installing the recovery hook on the Huey... // Snake: Wait, Kaz, something doesn't make sense about this whole process. // Miller: Not this again... // Snake: Normally, Fulton recovery is for when you're using fixed-wing aircraft. With a helicopter, isn't it simpler to land and pick up directly? // Miller: Listen, Snake, you're gonna be calling for recoveries repeatedly throughout your mission. We want to keep the risk of taking enemy fire to a minimum. The best way to get that done that is to do the recovery in a high-speed fly-by. That's what the Fulton Surface-to-air Recovery System is for. // Snake: Uh huh... what's the real reason? // Miller: Helicopters are cheaper. And the repair bills will start adding up once the bullets start flying... // Snake: Thought so. Kaz, I know we need to keep costs down, but... // Miller: Boss, you really need to get rid of this whole Army mentality. We're not the Pentagon. We don't have billions of taxpayer dollars to play with. And besides... // Snake: Fine, fine. Just pick a reason that makes sense. // Miller: Helicopters have quicker response time. Sounds strange, yeah, but it works great, I promise. You'll get used to it before long. // Snake: Yeah, I hope so.
  4. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Kazuhira Miller: A chopper for transport'd be nice, too. // Ramón Gálvez Mena: ...I'll see what I can do.

See also