Despite having slightly lower Movement than the units from which it upgrades, the Helicopter can ignore enemy units' zone of control and move over almost any type of terrain at minimal cost, giving it unrivaled maneuverability. And, despite being only slightly more powerful than the Tank, and less powerful than the later Modern Armor, the Helicopter doesn't require resources to build (prior to Gathering Storm).
Helicopters are best used to weaken attackers with hit-and-run tactics, or slip behind enemy lines and disrupt their infrastructure by pillaging their Districts and tile improvements. Be sure to keep them away from Modern ATs, which can easily take down Helicopters with their anti-armor weaponry.
Despite technically being able to fly, the Helicopter is not vulnerable to anti-air weapons - it flies too low for them to be effective. It also cannot be launched from Aircraft Carriers, but this hardly matters, given that it can embark and cross Ocean tiles freely. Ironically, on maps where oceans dominate, the Helicopter can often cross long distances faster when embarked.
Chinese children played with them c. 400 BC; da Vinci designed one in the early 1480s; the Frenchman d’Amécourt demonstrated a steam-powered aluminum one in 1861 (although it never got off the ground); in 1907 two Frenchmen, the Breguet brothers, finally built an engine-powered helicopter which lifted its pilot two feet off the ground. And in 1933 the German Focke-Wulf company designed and built the world’s first twin-rotor helicopter, intending it for military use, even as Igor Sikorsky was doing the same in the United States. Used rarely during WW2, the helicopter was primarily employed as transport in the Korean War, and finally as gunships during the Vietnam War. Able to hug the terrain and avoid detection (until too late) by flying “nap-of-the-earth,” during the Cold War it became the primary “tank-buster” in both the U.S. and USSR armies. Today, helicopters are as useful as they are ubiquitous in military operations, doing everything from recon, to medivac, to troop insertion and recovery, to providing close air support with guns and missiles.
- The Helicopter's model is very clearly based on the American UH-1 series of helicopters that were used in the Vietnam War.