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The Attack Helicopter is an event in Rust, occuring about once every 2-3 hours (24-48 hours for Savas Island maps). When the event begins, an NPC-controlled military helicopter flies in from the coast. It then flies around and patrols monuments randomly, with the only known and guaranteed waypoint being the Airfield. If the helicopter sees a player, it will open fire (depending on certain conditions listed below). The Attack Helicopter has two automatic guns (presumably M249s), as well as rockets with the ability to heavily damage buildings. The automatic gun will cause targets to bleed. In addition, the rockets are extremely deadly and can easily kill players in one shot/burst. As of Devblog 80, the helicopter also has a napalm weapon that rains lingering fire onto the ground, which deters campers and encourages tactical group gameplay.

The helicopter only targets players who are wearing two or more pieces of clothing, or have a ranged weapon in their hotbar. This ensures that naked, unarmed players are not attacked, as they will not be able to defend themselves. It will only target players with equipment or players that threaten the helicopter. As of Devblog 100 the Attack Helicopter will not target players armed with a Hunting Bow.

The helicopter can drop massive amounts of high quality loot when destroyed, but taking down the helicopter is extremely hard to do, especially alone. It is often hazardous to attack the helicopter alone; cooperation in large groups is recommended. If the helicopter is not destroyed within 15 minutes of its arrival, it will fly back out to sea and disappear. The loot the helicopter yields is similar to airdrops, but in larger quantities with a higher chance for high-quality items. Currently, the helicopter is the only way for a player to obtain the M249.

Note: As of Devblog 80 the Attack Helicopter will shoot its missiles in a building blocked area. Some players have found that it will only shoot napalm if there is a player authorized to the cupboard and said player is not in the area. So if you want it to not shoot Rockets then have one player authorize then get off. If there is no one authorized to the cupboard it will shoot rockets.

Attack Helicopter Napalm

The napalm weapon of the Attack Helicopter causing damage to a nearby building.

Destroying The Helicopter Edit

It is possible to destroy and loot helicopters, though this often proves quite challenging.

Spraying weapon fire at the helicopter is never practical. Certain weak spots, such as the main rotor, engine and tail rotor, must be targeted in order to effectively deal damage to the helicopter. As the helicopter takes damage, a small trail of smoke will begin to emerge from it's tail rotor, which starts at light grey color and gets darker as it takes more damage. After taking sufficient damage, the helicopter will explode in mid-air, plummet diagonally out of the sky with a fiery trail, and crash. It will leave a wreckage of helicopter fuselage and loot crates. The entire wreckage will be engulfed in a fuel fire.

Attack Helicopter

The helicopter in its final stages of flight, right before it crashes.

Looting the helicopter Edit

The wreckage will be engulfed in the fuel fire, which is bright and visible from far away (watch your back!). Smoke plumes and burning loot crates will lay scattered about the wreckage. You will be unable to loot any of the crates until the fire ceases, which lasts a few minutes. The loot is generally very rewarding and can contain weapon mods, plenty of special ammunition and other treasures.

You are also able to harvest the downed helicopter with a pickaxe or similar tool. The helicopter itself breaks into several pieces that you are able to harvest like nodes (using a gathering tool). They contain High Quality Metal, Metal Fragments and Charcoal when harvested.

Some of the loot you can get includes HV rockets, C4, all types of 5.56 ammo, all types of pistol ammo, incendiary rockets, targeting computers, CCTV cameras, weapon attachments and guns including the M249. The drops are random, spread among four crates in total. It is possible to get eight C4 and twelve rockets from a single helicopter takedown, but it is very rare.

Attack Helicopter Crash

Two players guarding the crash site of a downed attack helicopter.

Avoiding the helicopter Edit

If you don't want to fight the helicopter, or just want to get away safely without dying, here's how to effectively avoid the helicopter.

  • If you can, avoid monuments and points of interest.
  • Stay low, or close to rocks and other obstructions. The helicopter is unlikely to target someone it cannot see.
  • You might be able to hide in a sturdy, strong, large building. But, the helicopter can still be alerted to your presence, and heavily damage the building with its gunfire.
  • Don't go too close to where the helicopter is flying. Once it locks onto you, it is very hard to outrun the helicopter, as it will not relent until you have been killed.
  • In order to avoid conflict with the helicopter, remove excess clothing and make sure that you do not have any ranged weapons on your toolbar. The helicopter will not target you unless you are wearing more than two pieces of clothing.

At night Edit

If an Attack Helicopter shows up at night, it may be easier or harder to avoid/fight it. There are a few notable changes to the helicopter at night:

  • The Attack Helicopter has a spotlight that will shine around as though looking for targets. However it does not define the sight of the Attack Helicopter and it will open fire even if you're not in the beam.
  • The Attack Helicopter will NOT be lit up, and the spotlight shining in the dark sky is the only effective way to spot the attack helicopter coming.
Attack Helicopter Night

The Attack Helicopter at night, with spotlight and pilot lights. The spotlight enables players to better see the helicopter; it is not required for the heli to see players

Trivia Edit

  • The Attack Helicopter model is based on the real-life Bell UH-1Y Venom .
  • The Attack Helicopter has 3 types of weapons: twin burst-fire machine guns (presumably M249s), a rocket launcher, and a napalm launcher. Learning how to avoid getting killed by any and all of these armaments are rather difficult, but an effective tactic is fighting the helicopter in a large group, spread out across a large area.
  • Other than looting it from an airdrop, looting the Attack Helicopter's crash site is the only way players can get the M249, a powerful light machine gun.
  • The Attack Helicopter has two health bars: one on the tail rotor, and one on the main rotor.


  • Helicopter now doesn't use the main rockets that damage buildings if the player it is targeting is in a building blocked zone; you can no longer raid bases used solely the Attack Helicopter.
  • It still uses incendiary/napalm rockets in building blocked zones still as well as it's primary gun fire.
Bell Venom UH-1Y-0

A real-life Bell UH-1Y Venom, the Attack Helicopter's Inspiration.

vde Mechanics
Attack Damage TypesProjectiles
Environment AnimalsBarrelsBiomesFloraLoot CratesMonumentsRocks
Gameplay Attack HelicopterAirdropsBuildingCombatCraftingGatheringRaidingRepairingResearching
Player HealthProtectionSleepingSpawning
XP System ExperienceSkill TreeTech Tree
Category:Status Effects BleedingBuilding PrivilegeColdComfortDrowningHeatHungerInjuredPoisoningRadiationWetWounded

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