Publié le 24/06/2011

Etienne de DURAND, Benoît MICHEL, Elie TENENBAUM

Military helicopters have evolved into technologically sophisticated weapon systems. Originally designed to counter Soviet armor, attack helicopters now have to cope with a wide spectrum of threats, some of them bringing choppers back to their counterinsurgency roots.

In this new context, direct “over the shoulder” support of ground forces has superseded airmobile maneuvers and autonomous helicopter-borne forces. Nonetheless, helicopters remain essential for their combat and tactical mobility roles. However, the high cost of these sophisticated platforms and reduced defense budgets call into question the ability to provide such tools. Accommodating strong demand in helicopters with present budget constraints requires the adaptation of fleets, since technological advances alone will not provide an answer to this problem. The time of homogenous fleets made up of same-generation, single-use platforms appears to be a thing of the past.

This paper is published in French only – La guerre des hélicoptères : L'avenir de l'aéromobilité et de l'aérocombat [1]