Denel AH-2 Rooivalk Helicopter - South Africa:
The Denel AH-2 Rooivalk is an attack helicopter manufactured by Denel Aviation of South Africa. Rooivalk is Afrikaans for "Red Kestrel". Development of the type began in 1984 by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation, its development is closely connected to the Atlas Oryx transport helicopter, both aircraft being based on the Aérospatiale Puma and having started development at the same time.
Development of the Denel Rooivalk was protracted due to the impact of limited budgets during the 1990s, and a desire to produce a highly advanced attack helicopter. The South African Air Force (SAAF) ordered 12 Rooivalks, designated the Rooivalk Mk 1 in SAAF service, the first of was officially handed over in April 2011. The helicopters are flown by 16 Squadron, which is based at AFB Bloemspruit near Bloemfontein.
Due to the SAAF's decades of helicopter experience in the harsh African environment, the Denel AH-2 Rooivalk has been designed to operate for prolonged periods without sophisticated support. All that is needed to keep the Rooivalk flying is a medium transport helicopter equipped with a basic spares supply plus four groundcrew.
The Denel AH-2 Rooivalk carries a range of weapons depending on the mission profile. It is generally fitted with a nose-mounted 20 mm cannon and can also carry air-to-air missiles, anti-armour missiles and unguided rockets. The Rooivalk has a fire control system for target acquisition and tracking as well as an advanced navigation system using Doppler radar and GPS. Also incorporated is an electronic countermeasures suite coupled with chaff and flare dispensers.
Notable features include a tandem cockpit, starboard tail rotor with a port tailplane, a fixed wheeled undercarriage as well as wire cutters above and below the cockpit and on the undercarriage. When the Rooivalk first came out, it was the only helicopter in the world that could fly upside down. More details