You don’t need this guide to tell you, helos are for getting places fast. Where does this advantage apply?
The obvious use is in openers, for unloading infantry in forward positions. Don’t fall into the trap of buying your entire force in helos in those cases, just one or rarely two squads dropped in advance of a wheeled force is enough.
The less obvious use is as a quick reinforcement method during the midgame. The screenshot above is an extreme case – red is doing a very extended push into blue’s territory. Ground reinforcement is very slow at this distance, and if red runs out of infantry it may be worth paying the price premium on a helo to get an extra squad to buy time with. Of course the distance doesn’t have to be this extreme for a helo to be worth it, it’s just about how soon you need extra RPGs.
When taking helos for their speed, there are a couple traps to be wary of. Some helos have a max speed in the lower 200s; on many maps this is no better than wheeled units once landing time is accounted for. If you need a helo for the opener, don’t even look at anything below 260kmh.
Helos need to fully land to unload their infantry, and helo landing speed is not listed in the armory. It’s a thing you learn with use, but generally smaller helos land faster than big ones. If you notice your helos never unload the infantry in time, it may be because you took a chinook instead of a black hawk.
Transport helo armament comes in three flavors – bad guns, good guns, and rocket pods. Most guns are bad, either low-damage machine guns or autocannons with decent damage output but firing angles so restricted that you’ll never see them fire. A rare few autocannons or miniguns have good firing arcs. To tell which is which, look at how much the gun on the model moves.
Regardless, guns on helos are almost always a bonus, and you’re usually buying the helo just for what comes in it. This isn’t true with rocket helos – here, the transport is a powerful combat unit in its own right, similar to how it was with autocannon IFVs in the ground section.
Rockets are the burstiest, deadliest of fire support weapons. Where most fire support gives the enemy time to retreat or bring up units to kill the fire support, an aligned rocket helo will instantly delete the enemy’s defending or pushing infantry. The main drawback of rockets is how much supply they cost to rearm, and the inherent fragility of helos. Rockets are also useless for fire support in closed spaces – it’s technically possible but not practical to fire them in inner forest.
It’s understandable if you buy infantry in a rocket helo not for the infantry, but for the helo. If using them as a mainline combat unit, take care to preserve them and resupply them when they run out of ammo; while they repay themselves quickly, no unit is so cheap that it should be recklessly thrown away.