Rotary: Attack methods - Aircrew - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

Rotary: Attack methods

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Aircrew Procedures

Version 1 / 3min read / Updated Tue 25 Feb 2020 / 117 views

There are several distinct attack types that can be utilized by helicopters. Each has a time and place where it can be used successfully, and being familiar with the different attack types allows for an aircrew to maximize survivability while fighting according to the enemy threat level.



  • A slashing attack is used when the pilot determines that he can fly over enemy territory without putting himself at unnecessary risk. This is typically when the enemy is known to have no serious anti-air equipment.
  • A slashing attack is simply a run where the helo flys in, fires ordnance, and then continues in the same direction and passes over or near the target before leaving the area.
  • Slashing attacks are typically done with FFARs or fixed-forward-firing cannons or guns.




  • Break-off attacks are used when there is a threat of enemy air defenses beyond or at target.
  • A break-off attack consists of the pilot lining up for an attack run, firing his ordnance, and then immediately breaking off so that he does not fly over or past the target. The distance at which the helo should break depends on the anticipated threat - bear in mind that the further away you break, the less likely enemy small-arms fire will be able to get you.
  • Break-off attacks are typically done with rockets.


Breaking to the left after firing a salvo of FFARs at an enemy position



  • Stand-off attacks are used when there is no significant threat of enemy return fire or anti-air defense and cannons or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) need to be employed.
  • For a stand-off attack, the pilot brings the aircraft to a hover (or slow flight) out of effective small-arms range of the enemy. The gunner then proceeds to employ the aircraft cannon or guided missiles to strike enemy targets. During this, the pilot scans the area around the aircraft for any enemy infantry that may be on the ground.
  • If the threat of enemy anti-air is completely non-existent, the aircraft should hover at least 500 or more meters above the ground to reduce risk of enemy small-arms fire.
  • The aircraft should remain in a hover only as long as is necessary to employ ordnance. Once complete, the pilot should resume normal flight.


An AH9 engages a target area with miniguns from a stand-off position



  • A pop-up attack is a variation of the stand-off attack that is used when enemy anti-air threats are expected.
  • To employ a pop-up attack, the pilot must first move via a concealed or obscured approach to within effective weapon range of the target. He will then instruct the gunner that they are going to pop-up, and that the gunner needs to stand by with a specific weapon system (typically an ATGM). The helo then rises up just enough to clear the terrain feature, at which point the gunner acquires the target, fires his ordnance and tracks it until it impacts the target (if necessary), and then the pilot rapidly drops the helicopter back behind the cover afforded by the terrain.
  • When done correctly, pop-up attacks are extremely difficult to defend against.


Popping up from behind a ridge, this Blackfoot has just launched a ASRAAM at an enemy anti-aircraft vehicle

UNITAF Standard Operating Proceedure (SOP) is adapted from two primary source materials - in addition to our own experience and past learnings:
US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8) ->view online
Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3) -> view online

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