The term "gunship" is used in several contexts, all sharing the general idea of a light craft armed with heavy guns.Early helicopter gunships also operated in the side-firing configuration, an example being the AĆ©rospatiale Alouette III used during the South African Border War and Rhodesian Bush War.[10]

During the Vietnam War, the ubiquitous UH-1 helicopters were modified into gunships by mounting the U.S. Helicopter Armament Subsystems - these were forward-firing weapons, such as machineguns, rockets, cannon, that began to appear in 1962-1963.[11] Rotary-wing aircraft (helicopters) can use a variety of combat maneuvers to approach target. In their case, the term gunship is synonymous with heavily armed helicopter.[12] Specifically, dedicated attack helicopters such as the AH-1 also fit this meaning.[12] In any case, the gunship armaments include machineguns, rockets, autocannon, missiles, etc.[12]

The Soviet Mil Mi-24 (NATO code name: Hind) is a large, heavily armed and armored helicopter gunship and troop transport.[13] Introduced in the 1970s and operated by the pre-1991 Soviet Air Force and its successors post-1991, and more than 30 other nations.[14] Its armaments include machineguns, rockets, cannons, missiles, etc.[15] Its body is heavily armored and was designed to withstand .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machinegun fire. Its armored cockpits and titanium rotor head are able to withstand 20-mm cannon hits.

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