AH-2 Rooivalk design work was launched by Denel Aviation in 1984. The attack helicopter was supposed not only to support the ground forces, but also to conduct air combat with helicopters and low-flying enemy aircraft. Studies on the creation of the helicopter commissioned by the South African Air Force began in 1981 year. After a number of intermediate samples were assembled, which were used to refine the design, avionics, and weapons, 3 prototypes were sequentially created, the last of which became the pre-production modification of the Kestrel. The first flight of the helicopter performed 11 February 1990, adopted on February 1999 year. The helicopter was produced from 1997 to 2001 years, the cost of one unit is about 40 million dollars.
With regard to the tactics of using AH-2 Rooivalk, African specialists seem to rely on the Mi-24 philosophy. It is known that helicopters of this class are designed to carry out bombing attacks on the front edge of the enemy’s defense, while the Mi-24 falls into the affected area of all types of anti-aircraft missiles and small weapons.
It is worth noting the fact that the term "combat helicopter" itself does not in large measure fit into such vehicles as the Cobra or the Apache, which perform more anti-tank functions. These helicopters cannot survive under the fire of the enemy’s non-suppressed air defenses; the main tactic of their use is to launch an anti-tank missile system to the maximum possible distance without entering the zone of enemy anti-aircraft defense. These helicopters perform an attack of enemy troops only in the absence of anti-aircraft resistance.
According to the concept used, the AH-2 Rooivalk is much closer to the Mi-24 than to the Apache. The philosophy that characterizes this machine can be formulated in the following words: the helicopter should not be detected by the enemy, but if it is found, it should not be damaged, but the damage is not a catastrophe, and if the helicopter was shot down, it should not fall apart when it falls.
In accordance with the requirements for the attack helicopter from the South African Air Force, it was optimized for solving combat missions in areas with difficult terrain, in conditions of a limited altitude range (5-15 m. Above terrain) and in dusty conditions. The attack helicopter was made double with a five-bladed helmsman and four-bladed rotors. It is equipped with a tricycle landing gear that does not retract during flight with a tail wheel, as well as a small extension wing and two sufficiently powerful gas turbine engines.
The fuselage of the AH-2 Rooivalk is of an aircraft type; in its front part is the cockpit of pilots with a tandem arrangement of a pilot and a gunner-operator of armaments. The seat of the pilot is behind and slightly higher than the armchair of the operator, which provides every member of the crew with good viewing conditions forwards and sides. The crew seats are armored, in addition, the reservation is also provided for the most important units and parts of the helicopter design. In this case, the designers implemented the principle of protecting the most important parts of the structure with less valuable. The three-wheeled chassis design is capable of withstanding the loads that occur in the event of an emergency landing with a vertical speed of a helicopter descent to 10 m / s.
As a power plant on the AH-2 Rooivalk, 2 turbo-shaft gas turbine engines “Topaz” were used, which are modernization of the French engines “Makila” 1А2 manufactured by Turbomeca. The take-off power of each engine is 1740 kW. To prevent dust and sand from entering the engines on the helicopter, air intakes with special filters are used. In this case, the thermal radiation of the hot exhaust gases of the power plant is reduced due to mixing with cold ambient air. The maximum supply of fuel placed in 3-x retrofit fuel tanks reaches 1854 l. If necessary, additional fuel tanks can be mounted on the helicopter.
For pointing the weapon and detecting targets on a helicopter, a gyro-stabilized target indication system TDATS located in the nose of the machine is used, which has sensors of the FLIR thermal imaging system. In addition, the helicopter is equipped with a laser range finder, low-light television camera, automatic target tracking device. Using this equipment allows you to detect a target at a distance of 8,5 km. in the daytime and up to 4,5 km. in nighttime. Also, the AH-2 Rooivalk helicopter is equipped with a satellite navigation system receiver and inertial navigation system. All information from target designation systems and flight navigation information is displayed on multi-functional displays that are located in the cockpit (3 for each crew member). This information can also be transmitted to ground control points or other helicopters of this type.
The armament of the attack helicopter Denel AH-2 Rooivalk includes a 20-mm automatic aviation the gun, which is located in the turret under the bow of the fuselage of the machine (the initial projectile speed of 720 m / s, the rate of fire - 600 rounds / min.). Helmet sights are used to aim the gun at the target, both crew members have such sights. There are 2 pylons under the wing consoles for mounting suspended weapons, and air-to-air guides for Sidewinder or V3B Kukri missiles are mounted at the ends of the wing. In addition, 2-4 launchers with 8-16 ZT-6 ATGMs, as well as launchers for unguided rockets of a caliber of 70 mm, can be mounted on pylons.
Flight specifications Denel AH-2 Rooivalk:
Dimensions: main screw diameter - 15,6 m., Tail screw diameter - 6,34 m. Length –18,7 m., Height - 5,2 m.
Helicopter weight: normal take-off - 7500 kg., Maximum take-off - 8750 kg.
The type of power plant: 2 turboshaft Turbomeca Makila 1K2, HP 1845 power. each.
The maximum flight speed is 278 km / h.
The maximum lateral speed is 93 km / h.
The practical flight range on the ground is 704 km., At an altitude of 1525 km.
Static ceiling - 5 445 m., Using earth effect - 5850 m.
Armament - 1X20-mm gun F2 (700 cartridges), 6 suspension units - combat load up to 2032 kg., Up to 4 UR air-to-air, 8 or 16 ATGM, 38 or 76 70-mm NUR FFAR.
Crew - 2 person.