In the Second World War, helicopters were used episodically (to adjust artillery fire and other auxiliary targets). The military in all countries of the world did not give these quirky cars much importance, considering that they are too vulnerable and capricious, and their flight characteristics are completely unsuitable for combat. In 1948 the command of the American 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 the attitude towards rotary-wing technology radically. 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 men on external suspensions (one person on either side of the transparent cab).
The Vietnam War expanded the scope of the new type of aircraft. Along with the "Hugh" UH-1, intended for the transport of manpower and armed with fairly simple weapons, there were combat helicopters designed to apply assault attacks. The military transport capabilities of the rotorcraft, who made millions of sorties and transported tens of millions of soldiers, became very important. 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, armed with rockets and a 40-mm cannon, acquired in general a look that makes it possible to distinguish at first glance modern combat helicopters of impact: a narrow fuselage with armored windows and a double cabin and the absence of any other functions, Not connected with the main goal - the enemy's fire defeat.
In the Soviet Union also developed rotorcraft. 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 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 can not take away the merits.
The helicopter "Apache" AN-64 marked the direction of 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 due to 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 indicators superior to foreign counterparts.