Ground Support Helicopters

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Master Sergeant
Feb 9, 2006
George - South Africa
The brain child of Denel and a true ground support helicopter it has showed great potential and is a fortress in the sky. The one and only Fooivalk. South African Military weapons builder Denel designed and build the Rooivalk and also made sure that the South African government take some interest in it to become the ground support in the sky for the SADF. The Rooivalk makes the Apache look like a toy helicopter. Don't get me wrong the Apache does have it's good things, the Rooivalk kicks ass.

It is also one of the first helicopters to successfully fly upside down.

The biggest problem is that the Rooivalk lacks the potential it has but the wonderful government that we have now does not know it nor do they care about it. They only ordered a few of them and the rest of the world do not show any interest in it. Now why don't you look at this and tell me what you think.

The following information comes from

The Rooivalk is a latest generation attack helicopter from Denel Aviation of South Africa. The South African Air Force ordered 12 Rooivalk AH-2As, the first of which entered service in July 1999. The helicopters form part of No 16 Squadron at Bloemspruit Air Force Base (near Bloemfontein). The helicopters have been delivered but have not yet been fitted with the final weapons configuration - the Mokopa ZT-6 anti-tank missile. A production order for the Mokopa was placed in March 2004. It is envisaged that the Rooivalk will provide a key element in peacekeeping operations in which South Africa is increasingly involved. The helicopter is planned to achieve Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in late 2005.

The Malaysian Defence Force has plans to acquire Rooivalk helicopters when funding is available.


The cockpits are in stepped tandem configuration. The Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) is seated in the front cockpit and the pilot is seated in the cockpit above and behind the WSO. The cockpits, which are fitted with crashworthy seats and are armour-protected, are equipped with hands on collective and stick (HOCAS) controls.

A Thales Avionics TopOwl helmet-mounted sight display (HMSD) provides the crew with a head-up display of information for nap-of-the-earth flight (NOE). TopOwl incorporates an integrated measurement system for directing an articulated weapon such as the cannon, or air-to-air missile seeker heads. It has an integrated Gen IV image intensifier and FLIR capability and provides transition from day to night use at the push of a button.

The Rooivalk has a crash-resistant structure and is designed for stealth with low radar, visual, infrared and acoustic signatures.


The Rooivalk carries a comprehensive range of weaponry selected for the mission requirement, ranging from anti-armour and anti-helicopter missions to ground suppression and ferry missions. The aircraft can engage multiple targets at short and long range, utilising the nose-mounted cannon and a range of underwing-mounted munitions.

The 20mm F2 dual-feed gas-operated cannon fires high-speed (1,100m/s) ammunition at a firing rate of 740 rounds per minute. Two ammunition bins hold up to 700 rounds of ready-to-fire ammunition. The slew rate of the cannon is 90° per second. The cannon is chin mounted on the helicopter.

The Rooivalk is armed with the Mokopa long-range anti-armour missile developed by the Kentron Division of Denel. Mokopa has a semi-active laser seeker head and is equipped with a tandem warhead. Range is over 8.5km. Rooivalk can also fire Hellfire or HOT 3 missiles.

Rooivalk can carry four air-to-air missiles such as the Denel Aerospace Systems V3C Darter or MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) Mistral. The V3C Darter has an infrared seeker and a helmet mounted sight for target designation. The Mistral, which has been selected by the South African Air Force, has an infrared seeker and range of to 6km.

Rooivalk is equipped to fire 70mm Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) from the company Forges de Zeebrugge of Belgium with a range of warheads, selectable according to the type of targets being engaged.


The Rooivalk's electronic warfare suite is the fully integrated Helicopter Electronic Warfare Self-protection Suite (HEWSPS), incorporating radar warning, laser warning and countermeasures dispensing system. The system is flight line programmable and in-flight adaptable to match the threat library with the mission's area of operation

The radar warner features low effective radiated power (ERP)/Pulse Doppler radar detection beyond radar detection range, ultra broadband frequency coverage, high pulse density handling and internal instantaneous frequency measurement.

The laser warner provides broadband laser frequency coverage to detect and display rangefinding, designating and missile guidance laser threats.

The countermeasures dispensing system, which is operated in manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic mode is charged with chaff and flare cartridges.


Target detection, acquisition and tracking are carried out using the nose mounted stabilised sight, TDATS. The TDATS sight is equipped with a low level television sensor, Forward Looking Infrared sensor (FLIR), autotracker, laser rangefinder and laser designator.


The Rooivalk is equipped with an advanced navigation suite including Doppler Radar Velocity Sensor, Thales Avionics eight-channel Global Positioning System, Heading Sensor Unit and an Air Data Unit.

The communications suite consists of two VHF/UHF transceivers with FM, AM and digital speech processing, one HF radio with frequency hopping and secure voice and data channels and an IFF transponder.

The specifications.

Some of the pictures comes from an others from Denel's website.















Now to make it fair I info on the Apache to be able to compare the two.

Info from

The Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). It entered service with the US Army in 1984 and has been exported to Egypt, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The US Army has more than 800 Apaches in service and more than 1,000 have been exported. The Apache was first used in combat in 1989 in the US military action in Panama. It was used in Operation Desert Storm and has supported low intensity and peacekeeping operations worldwide including Turkey, Bosnia and Kosovo. The AH-64D Longbow has been deployed by the US Army in Afghanistan as part of Operation Anaconda, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and, from June 2003, in South Korea.

The AH-64D Longbow is fitted with the Longbow millimetre wave fire control radar and the Longbow Hellfire missile. 500 AH-64Ds have been delivered and 380 are in service with the US Army out of a total of 501 procured - 232 new build and 269 US Army AH-64A Apaches being upgraded to AH-64D standard. Deliveries are to complete in 2006. The Longbow has also been ordered by the Netherlands (30, deliveries complete), Singapore (20, first delivered in May 2002), Israel (designated "Seraph", nine new, nine remanufactured, first delivered April 2005) and Egypt (35). A number of AH-64A helicopters have been upgraded to AH-64D standard for South Korea. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested the upgrade of 30 Apaches to AH-64D longbow standard.

In August 2001, the AH-64D was selected by the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force with a requirement for 55 helicopters. The Apache for Japan is designated AH-64DJP and is armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in March 2006. In September 2002, Kuwait ordered 16 AH-64D helicopters for delivery from 2005. The Kuwaiti Apaches will be equipped with BAE Systems HIDAS defensive aids system. In September 2003, Greece signed a contract for 12 (plus four options) AH-64D Longbow, also to be fitted with HIDAS.

The first of the upgraded Block II Apaches was delivered to the US Army in February 2003. Block II includes upgrades to the digital communications systems to improve communications within the "tactical internet". Block III improvements, slated for 2008 on, include increasing digitisation, the Joint Tactical Radio System, enhanced engines and drive systems, capability to control UAVs and new composite rotor blade. The new blades, which successfully completed flight testing in May 2004, increase the Apache's cruise speed, climb rate and payload capability.

WAH 64
A consortium of GKN Westland (now AgustaWestland), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Shorts bid a version of the Longbow Apache for the UK Army attack helicopter requirement which was selected in July 1995. Assembly of the WAH-64 Longbow Apache was carried out in the UK by AgustaWestland. The first helicopter entered service in January 2001 designated as the AH Mk 1. 67 helicopters have been delivered - the last was formally handed over at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2004. Initial Operating Capability was achieved in October 2004, and in May 2005 the first of three Army Air Corps regiments of 18 helicopters was declared fully operational. The other two regiments are expected to be fully operational by 2007.


A 30mm automatic Boeing M230 Chain Gun is located under the fuselage. It provides a rate of fire of 625 rounds per minute. The helicopter has capacity for up to 1,200 rounds of ammunition.

The AH-64D is armed with the Lockheed Martin/Boeing AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire air-to-surface missile which has a millimetre wave seeker, allowing the missile to perform in full fire and forget mode. Range is 8km to 12km. The Apache can be equipped with air-to-air missiles (Stinger, AIM-9 Sidewinder, Mistral and Sidearm) and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), formerly known as Hydra, family of guided and unguided 70mm rockets.

British Army AH Mk 1 helicopters are armed with the CRV7 70mm rocket system from Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Longbow Apache carries the combination of armaments chosen for the particular mission. In the close support role the helicopter carries 16 Hellfire missiles on four 4-rail launchers and four air-to-air missiles.


The AH-64D Longbow Apache is equipped with the Northrop Grumman millimetre-wave Longbow radar. The Longbow fire control radar incorporates an integrated radar frequency interferometer for passive location and identification of radar emitting threats. An advantage of millimetre wave is that it performs under poor visibility conditions and is less sensitive to ground clutter. The short wavelength allows a very narrow beamwidth which is resistant to countermeasures.

The Longbow Apache can effect an attack in thirty seconds. The radar dome is unmasked for a single radar scan and then remasked. The processors determine the location, speed and direction of travel of a maximum of 256 targets.

The Target Acquisition Designation Sight, TADS (AN/ASQ-170) and the Pilot Night Vision Sensor, PNVS (AN/AAQ-11) were developed by Lockheed Martin. The turret-mounted TADS provides direct view optics, television and three fields of view forward looking infra-red (FLIR) to carry out search, detection and recognition and Litton laser rangefinder/designator. PNVS consists of a FLIR in a rotating turret located on the nose above the TADS. The image from the PNVS is displayed in the monocular eyepiece of the Honeywell Integrated Helmet And Display Sighting System (IHADSS) worn by the pilot and copilot/gunner.

Lockheed Martin has developed a new targeting and night vision system for the Apaches, using second-generation long-wave infrared sensors with improved range and resolution. The new system is called Arrowhead and it has a targeting FLIR with three fields of view, a dual field-of-view pilotage FLIR, a CCD TV camera, electronic zoom, target tracker and auto-boresight. Arrowhead entered production in December 2003 and the first unit was delivered to the US Army in May 2005. 704 US Army Apaches are to be equipped with Arrowhead by 2011.

A contract to equip the UK AH Mk1 helicopters with Arrowhead was placed in May 2005. Deliveries are scheduled for between 2009-10.


The Apache is equipped with an electronic warfare suite consisting of: AN/APR-39A(V) radar warning receiver from Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton) and Lockheed Martin; AN/ALQ-144 infra-red countermeasures set from BAE Systems IEWS (formerly Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company); AN/AVR-2 laser warning receiver from Goodrich (formerly Hughes Danbury Optical Systems then Raytheon); AN/ALQ-136(V) radar jammer developed by ITT; and chaff dispensers. US Army Longbow Apaches were to be fitted with the ITT AN/ALQ-211 SIRCM (Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures) suite, however the availability of funding for this project is uncertain. UK AH Mk 1 Apaches are fitted with BAE Systems Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (HIDAS), also chosen by Kuwait and Greece. HIDAS, which includes the Sky Guardian 2000 radar warning receiver, entered service on the AH Mk 1 in July 2003.

Israeli AH-64D helicopters are fitted with the Elisra Seraph self-protection system, including SPS-65 missile warner and SPJ-40 radar jammer.


The Apache is equipped with two turboshaft engines each providing 1,265kW. The American AH-64D has General Electric T700-GE-701 engines and the UK Apache is fitted with RTM322 engines from Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca.


Check out this link about a Apache that crashed in Albania.

Pictures: Apache.jpg

The Rooivalk is one of the first to be able to stay upside down and keep flying like that.

Edit post to ad some more stuff.

Well I fly with Apaches almost every day. Hell I am going to the field with them next week for a month. I can tell you one thing and that is this: The Apache is overrated and it is crap. Yes once it gets into the air it is right now the best (the longbow version that is), however it has to get into the air. I can not tell you howmany times I had to fly out and rescue Apache crews because there aircraft broke!

I do have some stuff to add though to what you wrote:

It is also one of the first helicopters to successfully fly upside down.

There you are wrong. I have seen Apaches, Bo-105s, MD-500s, Puma, Super Puma, Hokum, Lynx and even the Blackhawk that I crew can be flown upside down, and that was proven in the late 1970's when a Blackhawk did it.

The American AH-64D has General Electric T700-GE-701 engines

Great reliable engines. The same ones that are used in the UH-60L Blackhawk.
I can not believe why you are not flying the new helicopter Germany build that is just a smaller and lighter version of the Rooivalk.

Well here is the Italian Ground Support helicopter.

All info from army-technology.


The A129 International multi-role combat helicopter is the latest variant of the A129 Mangusta (Mongoose) helicopter in service with the Italian Army. It is manufactured by AgustaWestland, a joint venture company formed by Finmeccanica of Italy and GKN of the UK. The Mangusta has been successfully deployed with UN operations in Somalia and Angola. The A129 International is a multi-role helicopter for armed reconnaissance and surveillance, high-value ground-target engagement, escort, fire support, and air-threat suppression. It is armed with new powerful air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles, an off-axis cannon, and an increased weapon payload. The five-bladed A129 International also has more powerful engines than the four-bladed Mangusta.

The Italian Army is equipped with 45 A129 Mangusta helicopters and 15 A129 International, referred to as A129 CBT (combat configuration).

In January 2002, AgustaWestland were awarded a contract to upgrade the first 45 to the multi-role standard. The upgrade includes: five-blade composite main rotor and two-blade tail rotor, Rolls-Royce Gem 1004 engines, new stronger transmission with a torque of 1,700shp, strengthened fuselage giving an increase in take-off weight to 4,600kg, improved weapons systems including Oto Melara 197B 20mm nose-mounted cannon and the Stinger air-to-air missiles, new FLIR (forward-looking infrared) system, improved countermeasures suite including EADS AN/AAR-60 missile launch detector and new global positioning / inertial navigation (GPS/INS) system. Deliveries have begun and are to conclude in 2008.

The A129 is able to self-deploy over 1,000km, using external fuel tanks while carrying four air-to-air missiles for self-protection. The helicopter is air transportable by C-130 and larger transport aircraft.


The structure of the helicopter is a semi-monocoque design with an aluminium alloy frame. Composite materials make up almost 50% of the fuselage weight. The airframe provides ballistic protection against 12.7mm armour piercing rounds. The engines are armour protected. The main rotor has ballistic tolerance against 12.7mm rounds.


The pilot and gunner cockpits are in a stepped tandem configuration. Both cockpits are equipped with multifunction displays, which present information from the integrated management system and provide a synthetic waypoint map, navigation data, weapon status, weapon selection, communications and aircraft/flight data. The displays are equipped with multifunction keyboards.

The helicopter is equipped with an automatic flight control system, which provides nap-of-the-earth flight capability and the level of stability for precise weapon aiming. A Tactical Navigation Display enhances mission management and situational awareness.


The A129 International helicopter can be armed with Raytheon Stinger or MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) Mistral air-to-air missiles. Stinger missile certification was successfully completed on the Italian Army A129CBT in October 2003, using Stinger RMP Block I missiles.

The helicopter has dual air-to-ground missile capability with the Lockheed Martin Hellfire or Raytheon TOW 2 missile or a mix of both, giving the gunner selective fire against low- and high-value targets, and the capability of precise hits in urban environments. The Mangusta is fitted with the HeliTOW system for the TOW2A missile.

The A129 International also has dual rocket system capability, deploying 70mm rockets for ammunition commonality with NATO countries and 81mm rockets for longer-range engagements. The Mangusta can carry four 81mm rocket launchers. A 20mm three-barrel Gatling-type turreted cannon with 500 rounds of ammunition is mounted under the nose.


The helicopter's electronic warfare suite includes a Elettronica ELT-156 radar warning receiver and BAE Systems Italia RALM-101 laser warner. The helicopter countermeasures systems include Elettronica ELT-554 radar and BAE Systems IEWS AN/ALQ-144A infrared jammer and chaff and flare decoy dispensers.


The helicopter's infrared night-vision system (HIRNS) includes a mini forward-looking infrared (FLIR), supplied by Honeywell, mounted on a steerable platform at the nose of the helicopter. The pilot's integrated helmet and display sighting system (IHADS), by Honeywell, positions a monocle over one eye and displays the view presented by the FLIR. The system provides automatic weapon aiming, which can be used by day or night.

A mast-mounted sight can be installed, giving the helicopter the capability to aim and fire weapons from cover. The sight is used for target acquisition, missile tracking, laser target designation, laser tracking and laser rangefinding.


The A129 International helicopter has a fireproof engine compartment with two low-noise LHTEC-T800 turboshaft engines. The engines are separated, and there are two separate fuel systems with cross-feed capability. The crash-resistant tanks are self-sealing and fitted with self-sealing lines and a digital fuel feed controller. The thermal signature is minimised by the installation of an infrared exhaust suppression system.



A strange Russian helicopter.



The Ka-50 Black Shark helicopter, developed by Kamov Helicopters JSC, carries the NATO codename Hokum A, Hokum B being the two-seat version, Ka-52. Ka-50 is also known as Werewolf. It is a high performance combat helicopter with day and night capability, high survivability and fire power to defeat air targets and heavily armoured tanks armed with air defence weapons. It entered service in the Russian Army during 1995 and is manufactured at the Sazykin Aviation Company Progress based in Arseniev Maritime Territory, Russia. A first batch of eight Ka-50 aircraft has been delivered. 12 Ka-52 were to be procured for Russian Air Force special operations in 2005, but funding for the programme has been cut from the 2005 budget.

A night attack version, Ka-50N, with Samshit-50T thermal imager, day TV and laser rangefinder has been developed, and Kamov has also joined with Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) to produce a version, the Ka-50-2 Erdogan that is compatible with NATO weapons and has an Israeli equipped cockpit.


The coaxial rotor design provides a hovering ceiling of 4,000m and vertical rate of climb of 10m/s at an altitude of 2,500m. The rotor blades are made from polymer materials. The coaxial-rotor configuration results in moments of inertia values relative to vertical and lateral axes being between 1.5 to 2 times less than the values found in single rotor helicopters with tailrotors. Absence of the tail rotor enables the helicopter to perform flat turns within the entire flight speed range. A maximum vertical g-load of 3.5 combined with low moments of inertia give the Ka-50 a high level of agility.

Extensive all-round armour installed in the cockpit protects the pilot against 12.7mm armour piercing bullets and 23mm projectile fragments. The rotor blades are rated to withstand several hits of ground-based automatic weapons.

The Ka-50 is the world's first operational helicopter with a rescue ejection system, which allows pilot to escape at all altitudes and speeds. The K-37-800 Rocket Assisted Ejection System is manufactured by the Zvezda Research and Production Enterprise Joint Stock Company in the Moscow Region.


A combination of various armaments to a maximum weapon load of 2t can be selected according to the mission, including anti-tank missiles, unguided aerial rockets of different calibres, air-to-air missiles, guns, bombs and other weapons.

The helicopter has small mid-mounted wings fitted with four underwing suspension units and wingtip countermeasures pods. Up to 12 Vikhr supersonic antitank missiles can be mounted on the helicopter's two underwing external stores. The laser beamriding Vikhr missile is stated as having a target hit probability close to one, against a tank at a range of up to 8km, and the capability of penetrating all types of armour including active armour up to 900mm thick.

The Ka-50 is armed with a 2A42 quick-firing 30mm gun which has an unrestricted azimuth and elevation range mounting for use against airborne or ground targets. The gun is equipped with 460 rounds of ammunition, two types being carried, high-fragmentation and explosive incendiary rounds and armour-piercing rounds. The pilot selects the type of ammunition in flight. The weight of the ammunition is 0.39kg each round, the muzzle velocity is 980m/s and the range is up to 4km. The gun provides an angular firing accuracy of 2 to 4 mrad.


Flight systems include inertial navigation system (INS), autopilot and head-up display (HUD). Sensors include FLIR (forward-looking infrared) and terrain-following radar.


Ka-50 is fitted with radar warning receiver, electronic warfare system and chaff and flare dispenser.


The Ka-50 is powered by two TV3-117VMA turboshafts engines each providing 2,200hp. The engines are placed on either side of the fuselage to enhance the combat survivability. The helicopter also has an auxiliary power unit (APU) for self-contained operation.



Henk said:
I can not believe why you are not flying the new helicopter Germany build that is just a smaller and lighter version of the Rooivalk.

Because I am in the US Army and the Tiger (the German aircraft you are talking about)is not better than the Apache Longbow. The only attack Helo in the air that could have been better is the Commanche.


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It is a decent aircraft dont take me wrong, but it still does not meet the same capabiliites as the Apache Longbow. It really is hard to beat out the Longbow. The Longbow has its problems and breaks a lot, but when it is in the air, it is almost unstoppable, unless it is ambushed and that is what kills the most of them Iraq and most of the onest aht I had to rescue.
When the war in Iraq started a Apache got shot down by a rifle and landed and the pilot was taken hostage.

What the hell happend there?

Lucky shot. It happened more than once and can happen to any helicopter. There are certain componants that if taken out will bring the helicopter down and you can do nothing about it.
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
Lucky shot. It happened more than once and can happen to any helicopter. There are certain components that if taken out will bring the helicopter down and you can do nothing about it.
IMHO I thought that that helicopter just broke down by itself and it was just a coincidence that there was a guy who was shooting at the same time.
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
It is also one of the first helicopters to successfully fly upside down.
There you are wrong. I have seen Apaches, Bo-105s, MD-500s, Puma, Super Puma, Hokum, Lynx and even the Blackhawk that I crew can be flown upside down, and that was proven in the late 1970's when a Blackhawk did it.
My father served at helicopter base and he told me that they were shown a movie where American helicopters were doing the loop.Basing on his age this happened somewhere in the first part of 1970s.

Its first flight was in 1982 but since USSR collapsed it was just a part of propaganda which tried to support Russian Army's image.I remember there was a Russian action movie about this helicopter made in late 1980s.This helicopter has a rival - Mi-28. Some experts suggest that Mi-28 is superior to Ka-50.Both helicopters were made as a response to American Apache.
marconi said:
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
Lucky shot. It happened more than once and can happen to any helicopter. There are certain components that if taken out will bring the helicopter down and you can do nothing about it.
IMHO I thought that that helicopter just broke down by itself and it was just a coincidence that there was a guy who was shooting at the same time.

You are correct actually. I have talked to the crew that this happened to.

marconi said:
My father served at helicopter base and he told me that they were shown a movie where American helicopters were doing the loop.Basing on his age this happened somewhere in the first part of 1970s.

Yeap Cobras were doing in the early 1970's and like I said Blackhawks were doing in in late 1970s early 1980's. I have never personally flown a loop in a helicopter but it can be done and many aircraft over the last 30 years have been able to do it.
You are correct actually. I have talked to the crew that this happened to.
By the way, what happened to that crew after they had fallen? Were they captured by Iraqi troops or they managed to escape?And what happened to their helicopter?
Guys I am not talking about a loop that the Rooivalk does, yes they did that back in the 70', I am talking about FLYING upside down not just a loop.

Ag, you know I do not actualy care I just mentioned it, but if I was wrong please excuse me.


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