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The Attack Helicopter is an event in Rust, occuring about once every 2-4 hours (24-48 hours for the Savas Island map). 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 three 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.

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.

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

Destroying The Helicopter

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, and tail rotor, must be targeted in order to effectively deal damage to the helicopter. It has a total of 10000 health and goes down to 2500 once a rotor has been destroyed. If you destroy both rotors it will fall out of the sky. The helicopter shoots in bursts so take cover during the burst and fire shots when it has finished there are 3 seconds between each burst. If you shoot the rotors, a small trail of smoke will begin to emerge from them, which starts at light grey color and gets darker as it takes more damage. After taking sufficient damage, the helicopter will start spinning 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.

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

Guide Video

Rust_Beginner's_Guide_-_How_To_Take_Down_The_Patrol_Helicopter

Rust Beginner's Guide - How To Take Down The Patrol Helicopter

Here's a guide video that shows you the best way of taking down the helicopter. It also shows a base design, the best weapon, the attack helicopter's attacks, its loot and its resource yield when salvaging and many other things.

Looting the helicopter

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

The wreckage will be engulfed in the fuel fire, which is bright and visible from far away (watch your back!). Smoke plumes and four burning loot crates will lay scattered out in the wreckage. You will be unable to loot any of the crates until the fire ceases, which lasts a few minutes. As of Devblog 194 players can no longer build within a small radius of the crash site. 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.

The loot crates may contain (rarity increasing throughout the table):

Contents
5.56 Rifle Ammo icon.pngTransparent item.png
x8-120
Pistol Bullet icon.pngTransparent item.png
x15-200
Holosight icon.pngTransparent item.png
Timed Explosive Charge icon.pngTransparent item.png
x1-2
Silencer icon.pngTransparent item.png


Weapon Flashlight icon.pngTransparent item.png
Rocket icon.pngTransparent item.png
x3
Incendiary 5.56 Rifle Ammo icon.pngTransparent item.png
x60
Explosive 5.56 Rifle Ammo icon.pngTransparent item.png
x30
HV 5.56 Rifle Ammo icon.pngTransparent item.png
x40
Incendiary Pistol Bullet icon.pngTransparent item.png
x80
HV Pistol Ammo icon.pngTransparent item.png
x60
Incendiary Rocket icon.pngTransparent item.png
x5
High Velocity Rocket icon.pngTransparent item.png
x3
Weapon Lasersight icon.pngTransparent item.png


4x Zoom Scope icon.pngTransparent item.png
Targeting Computer icon.pngTransparent item.png
CCTV Camera icon.pngTransparent item.png
M249 icon.pngTransparent item.png
Thompson icon.pngTransparent item.png


Custom SMG icon.pngTransparent item.png
M92 Pistol icon.pngTransparent item.png
MP5A4 icon.pngTransparent item.png
Bolt Action Rifle icon.pngTransparent item.png
Assault Rifle icon.pngTransparent item.png


Metal Facemask icon.pngTransparent item.png
Armored Door icon.pngTransparent item.png
Metal Chest Plate icon.pngTransparent item.png
Explosives icon.pngTransparent item.png
Reinforced Window Bars icon.pngTransparent item.png


High External Stone Gate icon.pngTransparent item.png
LR-300 Assault Rifle icon.pngTransparent item.png
Armored Double Door icon.pngTransparent item.png
Rocket Launcher icon.pngTransparent item.png

Avoiding the helicopter

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.
  • In order to avoid almost any conflict with the helicopter, make sure that you do not have any ranged weapons on your toolbar. In addition, you should not have more than two (2) items of clothing on your person. Having both clothing and ranged weapons in your inventory is fine.
  • 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.
  • The helicopter will not de-aggro while it has a continuous line-of-sight: It will not stop trying to kill you if you unequip items listed above while it can see you. It has been observed by some players to see and chase a target (who has 2+ clothing items/ranged weapon(s) in their hotbar), lose & re-establish it's line-of-sight, then approach, but not fire and ultimately lose interest in its target.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. However, the helicopter can still be alerted to your presence if there are windows or open doors, and heavily damage the building with its gunfire.

At night

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.

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

  • 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 M249's), 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.
  • Looting the Attack Helicopter's or Bradley APC tank's crash site are the only ways 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.
  • The main rotor is about (on an un-modded server) 750 HP. The tail rotor, again on an un-modded server, 375 HP.
  • If you take out the tail rotor it will not cause the helicopter to go down. (It will decrease the turning capabilities)
  • The main rotor is the only mandatory rotor you destroy. You won't have to destroy anything else on the helicopter for it to go down.

NOTES:

  • 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 using solely the Attack Helicopter.
  • It still uses incendiary/napalm rockets in building blocked zones still as well as it's primary gun fire.

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

Mechanics
Attack
Damage TypesProjectiles
AnimalsBarrelsBiomesFloraLoot CratesMonumentsRocksTrees
Attack HelicopterAirdropsBuildingCombatCraftingGatheringRaidingRepairingResearching
Food & HungerHealthHydration & ThirstProtectionSleepingSpawning
ExperienceSkill TreeTech Tree
BleedingBuilding PrivilegeComfortInjuredPoisoningRadiationStarvation & DehydrationWarmthWet & DrowningWounded

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