Were there any cases in history where two attack-helicopters like AH-64 and MI-24(for example) were involved in an air fight between each other?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Here's a recording of helicopters "dogfighting": youtube.com/watch?v=lyuULnLsc4w $\endgroup$ – USER_8675309 Mar 21 '17 at 13:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @USER_8675309 That is not a "recording", it is a scene from a movie, 100% dramatization and not a representation of real combat. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 21 '17 at 14:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer it is most certainly a recording $\endgroup$ – USER_8675309 Mar 21 '17 at 14:17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @USER_8675309 Yeah, you're right, I forgot that Nicolas Cage used to be an Apache pilot and that Fire Birds is a war documentary. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 21 '17 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Glad we can agree $\endgroup$ – USER_8675309 Mar 21 '17 at 14:25

Yes, there has:

In the Iran-Iraq War, Wikipedia:

The war also saw the only confirmed air-to-air helicopter battles in the history of warfare, with Iraqi Mi-25s flying against Iranian AH-1J SeaCobras on numerous occasions. The first instance of these helicopter "dogfights" occurred on the first day of the war (22 September 1980): two Iranian SeaCobras crept up on two Mi-25s and hit them with TOW wire-guided anti-tank missiles. One Mi-25 went down immediately, the other was badly damaged and crashed before reaching base. The Iranians won a similar air battle on 24 April 1981, destroying two Mi-25s without incurring losses themselves. According to unclassified documents, Iranian pilots achieved a 10-to-1 kill ratio over the Iraqi helicopter pilots during these engagements and even engaged Iraqi fixed-wing aircraft.

These would be pretty loosely classified as a "dogfight" since the Iranian AH-1J's "crept up" on the Mi-25's. It is doubtful that the Mi's did any kind of evasive maneuvering or that the AH's did any kind of aggressive pursuits, but it is air-to-air combat between helicopters.

The page from the Mi-24 page gives a little more detailed report:

This war also saw the only confirmed air-to-air helicopter battles in history with the Iraqi Mi-25s flying against Iranian AH-1J SeaCobras (supplied by the United States before the Iranian Revolution) on several separate occasions. In November 1980, not long after Iraq's initial invasion of Iran, two Iranian SeaCobras engaged two Mi-25s with TOW wire-guided antitank missiles. One Mi-25 went down immediately, the other was badly damaged and crashed before reaching base. The Iranians repeated this accomplishment on 24 April 1981, destroying two Mi-25s without incurring losses to themselves. One Mi-25 was also downed by an IRIAF F-14A.

The Iraqis hit back, claiming the destruction of a SeaCobra on 14 September 1983 (with YaKB machine gun), then three SeaCobras on 5 February 1984 and three more on 25 February 1984 (two with Falanga missiles, one with S-5 rockets). After a lull in helicopter losses, each side lost a gunship on 13 February 1986. Later, a Mi-25 claimed a SeaCobra shot down with YaKB gun on 16 February, and a SeaCobra claimed a Mi-25 shot down with rockets on 18 February. The last engagement between the two types was on 22 May 1986, when Mi-25s shot down a SeaCobra. The final claim tally was 10 SeaCobras and 6 Mi-25s destroyed. The relatively small numbers and the inevitable disputes over actual kill numbers makes it unclear if one gunship had a real technical superiority over the other. Iraqi Mi-25s also claimed 43 kills against other Iranian helicopters, such as Agusta-Bell UH-1 Hueys.

I don't believe there has been any recorded instance since the Iran-Iraq war, but during that conflict there were multiple instances of helicopter-vs-helicopter battles.

  • $\begingroup$ Was going to add my own answer, but since you've covered the one major instance of a helicopter dogfight, I won't. You may want to add, however, the scarcity of such fights is mostly because attack helicopters are designed for attacking ground-based targets. Essentially, they're not designed for aerial dogfighting. $\endgroup$ – Omegacron Mar 20 '17 at 14:10
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Omegacron Actually according to the J-CATCH study the US Army conducted, Helicopters are extremely effective at aerial dogfighting especially against fixed-wing targets. So much so that fixed wing pilots are told not to engage helicopters unless from a distance or high altitude. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 20 '17 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, didn't know that. That might explain some of the drastic design changes we saw in models like the Apache and Comanche, which were built after that. $\endgroup$ – Omegacron Mar 20 '17 at 14:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer -- I wonder what tactics made helicopters so effective against fixed-wing targets? $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Mar 20 '17 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know a whole lot about these things, but from what i know, taking out a helicopter with a TOW rocket launched from another helicopter sounds like a laudable achievement. $\endgroup$ – Todd Wilcox Mar 21 '17 at 2:14

Wasn't aware of that battle during the Iran-Iraq war but gunships can and do carry air-to-air weapons. The Apache can carry an air-to-air version of the FIM-92 stinger missile and the USMC's new AH-1Z Viper can carry the same as well as the AIM-9 Sidewinder series of missiles.

enter image description here

The 20mm rotary cannon comes in pretty handy for close in bandits as well.

Hollywood fantasies like Airwolf, Blue Thunder, and Firebirds aside, helos really aren't that great at ACM. Airframe and rotor load limits usually restrict operation to around +2/-1Gs and the ship's are limited in the kind of maneuvers possible. A2A weapons on helos are at best a last ditch defensive weapon and the helo - even gunships - were never intended to seek and destroy other aircraft.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ J-CATCH Phase III: "... the outcome was a 5-to-1 ratio in favour of the helicopters." $\endgroup$ – adib Mar 21 '17 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ As Judge Dredd would say "......interesting." $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Mar 21 '17 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ You can't tell me Airwolf is fantasy :-( $\endgroup$ – chriscowley Mar 26 '17 at 9:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.