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Helicopter Desant Rails

Hold on tight
  [vote for,

Tanks can be used to carry soldiers into battle. The tactic is called tank desant, and was a formal part of Soviet strategy during WWII. After the war, the Soviets built tanks with special rails for soldiers to grab hold of.

Helicopters could have rails retrofitted on the outside for the same purpose. The rails would be especially useful in smaller helicopters, like the MD-500 (it's the "Little Bird" from Blackhawk Down). This helicopter tends to be used by special forces units. If you could fit two more soldiers on the outside, you would double the number of soldiers you could drop off per trip. Soldiers would be attached to the helicopter with a safety cord, just like the soldiers inside.

Soldiers would use the skids to stand on (the skid may have to be lengthened in the back), and they would grab onto the rails. They wouldn't more exposed to hostile fire than the soldiers inside. The MD-500 has a fairly open design, and it isn't heavily armored. When the helicopter touches down, they'd just jump off. The whole experience would be a lot like riding the New York City subway.

plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009

Used in rescue in Afghanistan http://www.youtube....mKk&feature=related
[coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009]

Tank desant warfare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_desant
Quote:"Riding on tanks during actual combat is very dangerous" [coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009]

(?) 4 soldiers, 1 helicopter http://www.acig.org...ds/military-020.jpg
[plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009]

Talk: Tank desant § Citation for helicopter riding https://en.wikipedi...r_helicopter_riding
Apparently this has been done a few times; there are not yet purpose-built rails on helicopters. [notexactly, Dec 08 2015]


       You mean like the ones fitted to Apaches just above the winglets? Baked.
coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009

       No. Not baked. An Apache is an attack helicopter. It doesn't have rails on the outside for carrying people. The video just showed soldiers improvising an attachment.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009

       Au contraire, they did not improvise - they are trained for this.
coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009

       Improvised is the same as baked, isn't it?
Spacecoyote, Mar 06 2009

       //there's no way in hell a Little Bird is flying into combat //
Perfect for peace-keeping then?
coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009

       Also, [21Q], after they'd popped off all those bangy things, they could easily carry a few grunts /off/ the battlefield.
coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009

       Call me picky, but don't special forces prefer secrecy for their modus operandum?
Going into covert operations aboard a loud, rattly, windy, overloaded thing kind-of advertises your arrival, doesn't it?
coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009


       * OH-6A/Cayuse: Developed initially by the Hughes Aircraft company (later McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company) in the mid-1960s for the US Army. Fitted with 1x 253-shp Allison T63-A-5A turboshaft, 4 bladed main rotor, and an offset “V” tail.   

       * Hughes 500M: Military export version of OH-6 in mid-1970s with upgraded 278-shp Allison 250-C18 turboshaft engine, “V” tail. A recontoured nose allowed for greater leg and head room. Modifications were also made to the rotor assembly by way of a five blade main rotor which increased stability.   

       * MD-500MD/Scout and TOW Defender: Improved military version of the model 500 with 5 main rotor blades, 375-shp Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engine, and T-tail.   

       * MD-500E/MD-500MG/Defender II: Had a more elongated nose for streamlining, and an optional 4x blade tail rotor for reduced acoustic signatures. Possible mast-mounted sight.   

       * OH-6A/MD-530F Super Cayuse/Lifter: Upgraded engine to a 425-shp Allison 250- C30 turboshaft, and avionics in 1988 for the US Army. * MD-530MG/Defender: Has a mast-mounted sight, and incorporated upgrades of all previous variants. * AH/MH-6J: US Army Special Operations variant derived from the MD-530MG.   

       As you can see, engine power varies.   

       The unit that would probably be most interested in helicopter desant is the 160th SOAR (also known as the Night Stalkers), which was created to bring special forces soldiers into combat. It was created after the Iran hostage crisis (Operation Eagle Claw), when two helicopter pilots crashed into each other in a sandstorm.   

       And, by the way, the variant the 160th SOAR uses is the AH-6/MH-6, which has a "425 SHP Allison 250-C30 turboshaft engine" according to globalsecurity.org. That's almost twice what the model started with in the Vietnam war.   

       It seems that the helicopter can already carry 4 soldiers. That's kind of what I meant, except I bet they could squeeze on another two guys standing.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009

       Also, about the quote that says tank desant is dangerous: it is, but it's dangerous in comparison to riding in an armored personnel carrier. A helicopter doesn't offer as much protection, so it doesn't really matter if you're on the inside or on the outside.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009

       [plasticspoon] OK, you've discovered Google and Wikipedia. Congratulations. Well done.
However, the Apache has been fitted with rails above the winglets.
Troops have been carried into combat attached to these rails (see video from links).
How is this "idea" not baked?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 06 2009

       That's not what the wings on an Apache are for. An Apache is a gunship. It doesn't carry troops, and the pilots aren't trained to carry troops. The AH-6 is actually used to carry people around.   

       The Apache plays a different tactical role than the AH-6. If the two helicopters were operating together, the Apache's role would be to protect the AH-6. The AH-6 isn't as specialized as the Apache: it wasn't intended as a tank buster, and it can't carry as much firepower. It can carry light weaponry and a few soldiers.   

       The Mi-24 Hind, on the other hand, fuses the roles of gunship and transport helicopter.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009


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