Quick - Regular - Epic - Marathon
- Common traits:
- May move after attacking
- No defensive terrain bonuses
- Special traits:
- Combat bonus vs Armored (100%)
- Hovering unit - Ignores terrain cost when moving
- May move above mountains
- May not capture cities
The Helicopter Gunship is an air unit which behaves a little different from airplanes: its flying system allows it to stay in the open field (something airplanes can't do), which also means that he's vulnerable to enemy attacks, especially if they're dedicated anti-air (such as the Mobile SAM). At the same time helicopters aren't constricted to bases as airplanes and can be moved freely to any point on the map. They also don't suffer from Interception. However, you'll need Aluminum resource for them. Helicopter Gunships are armed with machine guns and air-to-ground missiles; in most respects they act like any ground unit, with these advantages:
- Helicopters are the fastest and most mobile unit in the game. Its movement of 6 makes it extremely quick, and it can move over all terrain types including mountains, making it extremely fast in rough terrain and capable of surprise attacks. Not only that, but like tanks it may move after attacking, making Helicopters terrifyingly effective at hit-and-run attacks. Use this abilities to hit at vulnerable land units, then retreat beyond your lines, or impassable terrain.
Note that Helicopters use the Embarkation ability to cross water. However, being essentially a Land unit also allows it to be packed in containers and moved between Airports with the Airlift ability.
- It receives a hefty combat bonus when fighting tanks. Given the tanks' extreme mobility, they may be a real threat, harrying your main force before it could maneuver into position. The Helicopter counters this by hunting down the tanks with its superior mobility and attack bonus. Use them to target the tanks which have retreated, then retreat in your turn to evade retaliation.
Helicopters saw limited use as transport vehicles in World War II and the Korean war. During the Vietnam war the US Army decided to create a more heavily armed and armored chopper designed specifically for combat. Since that period, the helicopter gunship has evolved primarily into a tank-killing machine. Able to fly extremely close to the ground, "pop up" for a quick shot and then scoot away at low levels before the enemy armor could respond, helicopters were almost unstoppable except by air power until the creation of handheld "suitcase" surface-to-air missiles like the ones the Mujahidin used against the Soviet choppers in Afghanistan. Modern combat helicopters perform other functions, like close air support for infantry units or rapid transport for special ops teams, but their primary mission remains killing tanks.
The Helicopter Gunship is modeled after the Russian Mi-24 Hind, one of the most heavily armed helicopters in the world.
While the helicopter gunship is used primarily to take down enemy tanks, it also makes a great first-response defender, being able to reach an invading enemy regardless of difficult terrain. An armored horde can be stopped cold by a small amount of helicopter gunships, giving time for the rest of one's army to react. It also excels in its own assaults, its speed meaning it can take down key targets such as artillery and armor so your own army can storm in relatively unhindered. It's never a bad idea to keep a few of these around, though be wary of Mobile SAM and aircraft, as they can deal massive damage if you let them close in on your gunships.