Helicopters are a unique and valuable form of transportation, capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and hovering in place. One important aspect of helicopters that can significantly affect their effectiveness is their speed.
We will explore 9 of the fastest helicopters in the world in 2023. These helicopters have been selected based on their maximum speed rather than cruising speed.
1. Eurocopter X3 (302 mph)
The Eurocopter X3 is a developmental helicopter that has seen limited production but has been developed with the military in mind.
The Eurocopter X3 is currently the fastest helicopter in the world in 2023, with a maximum speed of 302 mph or 487 kph.
The X3 is a hybrid helicopter that combines the traditional helicopter rotor system with two turboprop engines on either side of the aircraft on shortened modified wings that provide forward propulsion.
This unique design allows the X3 to achieve high speeds while maintaining the ability to hover and take off vertically.
Much of the X3s development took place as a racing helicopter, where the design was focused on the maximum speed possible while maintaining excellent maneuverability.
In addition to its impressive speed, the Eurocopter X3 is known for its advanced avionics and fly-by-wire controls, providing a smooth and precise flight experience. Its spacious cabin can accommodate up to 11 passengers or various mission equipment, depending on the application.
The Eurocopter X3 is a groundbreaking helicopter that has set new industry speed and performance standards. Its unique design and advanced features make it a versatile and valuable asset for a range of applications.
2. Sikorsky X2 (299 mph)
The Sikorsky X2 is another impressive helicopter that ranks as the second-fastest helicopter in the world in 2023, with a maximum speed of 299 mph or 481 kph.
Like the Eurocopter X3, the X2 features a coaxial rotor system and a pusher propeller, which allows it to achieve high speeds while maintaining stability and control.
The impressive speed and maneuverability of the Sikorsky X2 make it an ideal asset for military reconnaissance and civilian transport applications, as it can quickly cover large distances and access remote locations.
The X2 has specially designed hubs for the rotors, which reduce drag and vibration in the helicopter. The coaxially mounted counter-rotating rotors eliminate the need for a tail rotor, allowing a pusher propeller to be fitted in its place to provide extra speed.
Besides its speed and agility, the Sikorsky X2 has advanced fly-by-wire controls and a lightweight composite structure. These features help to reduce the X2’s weight and improve its overall performance, making it one of the most technologically advanced and engineered helicopters in the world.
The Sikorsky X2 is a remarkable helicopter that has pushed the boundaries of possibility in terms of speed and performance. Its unique design and advanced features will likely keep the X2 a significant player in the helicopter industry for years.
3. Bell AH-1Z Viper (255 mph)
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is an attack helicopter that ranks as the third-fastest helicopter in the world in 2023, with a maximum speed of 255 mph or 411 kph.
The Viper is a heavily armed and armored helicopter designed for the US Marine Corps. It has been used in various missions, including close air support, anti-armor, and armed reconnaissance.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a modernized version of the AH-1 Cobra, and it features advanced avionics and weapons systems that make it a formidable weapon on the battlefield.
Its speed and agility allow it to quickly engage targets and evade enemy fire, while its weapons systems provide precise and deadly firepower.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper also features advanced sensors and communications equipment, which allow it to operate in complex and dynamic environments.
Its helmet-mounted display system and integrated targeting system provide pilots with unparalleled situational awareness, while its digital communications suite allows for superior communications with other aircraft and ground forces.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a powerful and versatile attack helicopter that has proven itself in various missions worldwide. Its speed, agility, and advanced systems make it a popular and valuable aircraft for any military force.
4. Sikorsky S-97 Raider (252 mph)
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is another military reconnaissance and attack helicopter that ranks as one of the fastest helicopters in the world, with a maximum speed of 252 mph or 407 kph.
The S-97 Raider is a next-generation helicopter with advanced systems and technologies, making it a formidable battlefield asset.
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is designed to operate in various missions, including reconnaissance, armed escort, and special operations.
One of the main features of the Sikorsky S-97 Raider is its advanced composite materials and design, which make it lightweight and highly maneuverable.
Its light airframe and high speed allow the helicopter to operate at altitudes of 10,000 feet in 95°F or 35°C temperatures, outperforming many other helicopters in this arena.
Its coaxial rotor system and pusher propeller also provide exceptional stability and control, allowing pilots to fly the helicopter easily and confidently.
5. Westland Lynx (247 mph)
The Westland Lynx, a British-built helicopter, was an incredible feat of engineering and technology in its day, and it has stood the test of time.
In 1986, it set helicopter speed records by breaking the 200 knots speed barrier or 229 mph (370 kph) back in 1986. A testament to the engineering of this aircraft is that it still makes the top 10 fastest helicopters in the world with a top speed of 247 mph or 400 kph.
The Westland Lynx, or G-Lynx as it is known, was developed primarily for the British military and incorporated new rotor technology, which gave the aircraft enhanced speed and lifting capability.
The Lynx was also eventually released for civilian applications and became a favorite at airshows because it is a fully aerobatic helicopter capable of loops and rolls.
The technology used in the Westland Lynx set a new standard for helicopters, and many subsequent helicopter manufacturers implemented these developments to create faster, more versatile aircraft.
The Westland Helicopters company became part of the Italian AgustaWestland group, currently run by the Italian aircraft company Leonardo.
The Westland Lynx has undergone modifications since its first inception, which keeps it in the running against its more modern counterparts as one of the fastest helicopters in the world in 2023.
6. Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion (195 mph)
The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is a heavy lift helicopter that ranks in the top 10 fastest helicopters in the world in 2023, with a maximum speed of 195 mph or 315 kph.
The Super Stallion is designed for heavy lifting and transport operations, making it a sought-after aircraft for military, industrial, and emergency response missions.
The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is known for its impressive lifting capacity, which allows it to transport large and heavy payloads over long distances.
Its advanced avionics and systems make it an ideal asset for military transport missions, while its durability and reliability ensure that it can operate in various conditions and environments.
It may seem counter-intuitive that a helicopter designed for heavy lifting would rank in the speed category, but the engines designed for power also produce the speed in this aircraft.
Its powerful engines and advanced rotor system allow it to operate at high speeds and maneuver with ease, making it an aircraft for emergency response and other rescue applications where speed and agility are key.
The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is a powerful and versatile helicopter that has proven itself in a range of applications.
Its heavy-lifting capabilities, speed, and agility make it suitable for military, industrial, and emergency response missions and keep this helicopter ranking as one of the fastest in the world.
7. Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin (190 mph)
The Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin is categorized as a medium utility helicopter, but it still ranks impressively in the speed category with a maximum speed of 190 mph or 306 kph. The Dauphin is a versatile helicopter used in various applications, including offshore transport, search and rescue, and VIP transport.
The Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin is renowned for its comfort, safety, and reliability. Its spacious cabin and advanced avionics make it an ideal aircraft for VIP transport, while its safety features and crash-resistant fuel system ensure the safety of the crew and passengers in the event of an accident.
The Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin is built by Airbus Helicopters, the same company that built the Eurocopter X3, which is currently the fastest helicopter in the world.
The sleek lines of the Dauphin and its speed and maneuverability have popularized this aircraft as a VIP transport aircraft, which is its common role in the civilian sector.
Its advanced systems and aerodynamic design make it an agile and responsive helicopter capable of operating in a range of environments and conditions.
The Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin is a versatile and reliable helicopter that has proven itself in a range of civilian and military.
Its speed, comfort, and safety features make it an ideal aircraft for passenger transport, while its agility and versatility make it ideal for emergency response, such as Coast Guard and medevac applications where speed and maneuverability are key.
8. Bell UH-1Y Venom (188 mph)
The Bell UH-1Y Venom is a utility helicopter with a very familiar and recognizable shape for most people.
The Bell Venom resembles the iconic Huey, an invaluable combat helicopter in the Vietnam war. The Venom is sometimes referred to as a Super Huey in honor of its predecessor and is an upgrade of the Huey specifically for the United States Marine Corps.
The Bell Venom can attain a maximum speed of 188 mph or 304 kph ranking it in eighth place in our list of 10 fastest helicopters. The Venom is a versatile helicopter that has been used in a range of applications, including transport, medical evacuation, troop insertion, and search and rescue.
The Bell UH-1Y Venom is known for its rugged design and advanced systems, which make it an ideal helicopter for military and emergency response missions. Its advanced avionics, sensors, speed, and maneuverability allow it to operate in various environmental conditions.
Its airframe and systems of the Bell UH-1Y Venom have been designed to withstand the rigors of military and emergency operations, ensuring that it can continue to operate even in the most challenging conditions.
The Venom continues the legacy of the Huey helicopter, making this Bell helicopter a respected and trusted aircraft in the US military.
9. Boeing AH-64 Apache (182 mph)
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is designed for one role; combat. It is designed as an attack helicopter, which requires speed, agility, and stealth, which is why it makes our top 10 list.
The Apache is the epitome of an attack helicopter, and it is used extensively by the US and Israeli military forces. The Apache can attain a maximum speed of 182 mph or 293 kph, which ranks it at ninth position on our list.
The Apache is a formidable weapon on the battlefield, with advanced weapons systems and sensors that allow it to locate and engage targets with precision and lethality.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is designed for a range of missions, including armed reconnaissance, close air support, and anti-tank warfare.
Its advanced avionics and sensors, combined with its speed and maneuverability, make it the helicopter of choice for these applications.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache has a tandem cockpit configuration that provides exceptional visibility and situational awareness, allowing pilots to fly the helicopter effectively in combat situations.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache may not be the fastest helicopter in the world, but its superior agility has made it a valuable strategic component on the battlefield.
In 2023, the world of helicopter technology continues to evolve and advance, with new models entering the market and existing models being upgraded and improved. Our choice of the top 9 fastest helicopters in the world represent the pinnacle of this technology, showcasing the latest in aerodynamics, propulsion systems, avionics, and safety features.
As technology continues to advance, new models will continue to enter the market, pushing the envelope of possibility in the world of helicopter design and performance.