One of the largest and most important branches of the National Guard is aviation. Whether they are rescuing civilians during a natural disaster, inserting or extracting infantrymen to and from the battlefield, or transporting precious supplies and cargo, helicopter pilots of the National Guard are performing some of the most complicated maneuvers with the world’s most technologically advanced helicopters.
The CH-47 Chinook is a large, twin-rotor helicopter capable of holding 55 troops. It is primarily used for lifting heavy cargo or transporting large amounts of soldiers and equipment. The Chinook was first used in 1962 and saw plenty of combat in Vietnam, yet it is still being used by the National Guard today. This is a tribute to the effectiveness of this machine.
The OH-58 Kiowa is the opposite of the Chinook. It is a small, two-crew helicopter that is extremely light, nimble, and maneuverable. These specifications make it an ideal helicopter for reconnaissance and scouting the battlefield. It is also capable of carrying mounted weapons such as rockets and machine guns, which allows it to provide close air support for National Guardsmen on the ground.
Probably the most widely used helicopter in the National Guard, over 1,300 UH-60 Blackhawks are currently in service. It is the workhorse of the Guard and the mainstay of aviation units. Combining its maneuverability and medium cargo capacity, the Blackhawk is ideal for transporting infantrymen. Its armament includes a heavy machine gun mounted on each side, which allows its crew to provide covering fire while flying in combat environments.
The National Guard employs a diverse fleet of helicopters. Depending on which helicopter you choose to fly, you will perform missions that your helicopter has been specifically designed to carry out. You will be one of the best helicopter pilots in the world.