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Civilian Helicopters vs. Military Helicopters: What Are the Differences?

By Bill Carson  |  October 25, 2022

Helicopters play a major role in our lives, and thanks to modern technology and advancements, they continue to become more essential than ever. Used for both military and civilian purposes, helicopters feature a wide range of capabilities and fulfill a variety of needed roles.

At Cutting Dynamics, we are experts in both the commercial and defense industries, offering solutions for your company’s aviation needs. In this post, we’ll examine the differences and similarities between civilian helicopters and military helicopters.

Civilian Helicopters

Known for their performance and ability to fly impressive heights, civilian helicopters are useful for transportation to otherwise inaccessible areas. Some common uses of these helicopters include:

  • Transportation – As stated above, civilian helicopters help transport people over long distances and to difficult-to-reach places.
  • Flight training – These helicopters are often utilized to train new pilots for both military and civilian flight.
  • News and broadcasting – Large news channels tend to use helicopters to record events from the air. Typically, you’ll see helicopters employed when natural disasters occur, and stations want to broadcast these dangerous events while keeping their staff safe.
  • Emergency and hospital services – Civilian helicopters are often vital during emergency situations. They can deliver emergency supplies to areas inaccessible by road, rescue people in dangerous situations, and also combat fires from above by dropping water or fire-suppressing chemicals.
The Civilian Black Hawk Helicopter

One of the U.S Army’s aircraft, the Black Hawk helicopter, has a variation that supports civilian use. This civilian version is called the “Firehawk,” or Sikorsky S-70 helicopter.

These multi-purpose Black Hawk helicopters were originally designed with military use in mind, but with the certification they received they are now available to the U.S commercial and civilian market. This civilian Black Hawk helicopter has a main operation focus on firefighting.

Military Helicopters

When comparing civilian and military helicopters, two of the biggest differences are the size and functionality. Military helicopters tend to be larger in size and are much more advanced.

Military helicopters are essential in a variety of applications, playing a vital role in air, land, and sea operations. They are used for everything from equipment transportation to medical search and rescue, troop transport, and more. Armed with lethal weapons, they provide offensive and defensive capabilities in diverse situations.

Similar to their civilian counterparts, these helicopters also provide versatility when it comes to what they can accomplish. Some of their roles include:

  • Troop and equipment transport – Like commercial helicopters, military helicopters transport people to and from difficult-to-reach areas, though usually as part of a military or emergency engagement.
  • Airborne command – Military helicopters also serve as command posts for military leaders. Not only does this supply unique vantage points within battle, but it also provides leaders with a safe position to distribute orders.
  • Medical evacuation and first aid – Similar to civilian Black Hawks, these helicopters also offer medical aid when needed. This can entail transporting medical supplies, trained professionals, or equipment to wounded troops.
  • Reconnaissance – In order to reduce being detected, these helicopters feature stealth technology, allowing pilots to detect areas and obtain mapping data before units on the ground move in.
Military Helicopter Example

One type of military helicopter that is commonly used is called the Bell AH-1Z Viper, and is often deployed for air-to-air combat. With its strong armor, it is used extensively for offensive combat, escorting other aircraft, or reconnaissance.

Considering it is a military helicopter, the uses for the Viper vary. It is very versatile, offering a lot of military potential.

Cutting Dynamics Provides Parts for Black Hawk Helicopters

Cutting Dynamics knows how crucial it is for equipment to be functioning and ready for action. In order to keep your helicopter running smoothly, we stock Black Hawk phase maintenance kits and Black Hawk parts.

Along with supplying kits and parts, we also are proud to offer various services for any of your aviation needs, including:

  • Assemblies
  • Blanking
  • Composites
  • Heat treating
  • Engineering
  • Packaging
  • Forming
  • Kitting
  • FEA
  • Hot forming of titanium
  • Plating
  • Thermoplastic composites
  • Hydroforming

Want to Learn More?

Our team at Re:Build Cutting Dynamics wants to ensure that all your questions regarding Patriot missile systems, our product line, and beyond have been answered. With that in mind, feel free to contact us today with any questions you may have, as we look forward to assisting you.