A military helicopter is, before it's destroyed, expected to destroy 17 times more than it's production cost. This is a high number compared to other options and it forcefully explains why the US Military Helicopter collection has grown so rapidly since they recognized it as a viable military aircraft option. So how did the US military loving use of helicopters begin?
It all started during the Cold War, when a Russian-born inventor created a military version of the world's first working helicopter. Igor Sikorsky is not the brain-father of the helicopter, though he is famous for creating the first successful helicopter. So basically he's the Wright brothers of helicopter flight. After he came up with the first, basic helicopter that shocked the world, his model became the baseline helicopter design for every machine to date. Sikorsky demonstrated the lifting power of a helicopter to the US Coast Guard in 1944 and that was the beginning of US military helicopters.
It should be said that America was not the first nation to use military helicopters, England and Germany's Third Reicht both used helicopters during World War II, though they didn't see any real military action. They were only prototype models used mainly for rescue missions and plane spotting. Between the end of that war and up until the Vietnam War around 1959, world and US military helicopter development really took off.
In that time, the United States had created a useful utility helicopter, it was nicknamed the “Huey” and officially called the “Bell UH-1”. Military engineers had been working on it for a while, first flying it in 1956 and revealing it in 1959; just in time for the Vietnam War and its heavily forested and guerilla warfare environment. The Huey was used mainly for transporting air cavalry units, medevac purposes and, eventually, for specialized attack support for land infantry. The Huey really led the way for US military helicopters, both as important transportation aircraft and as units used in direct combat engagement.
The US military moved from the classic Huey to the gigantic Chinook transport model within a few years around the end of the 1960's. The Chinook is a colossal transport chopper that has been vital to modern conflicts in the Middle East. Additionally, the idea of specialty attack helicopters really grew a head of its own after the Huey; it led to the development of the Apache attack chopper in 1984.
No US military helicopter has been more of a mainstream hit or destructive force than the beloved Apache. Officially used as a gunship, there is an entire subculture of past Apache pilots dating back to the Persian Gulf conflicts in the early 90's. Apache pilot veterans everywhere are known for chiding their enemies with the old saying, “Don't bother running, you'll die tired.”
US military helicopters have developed so fantastically since Igor Sikorsky created that infamous “first flying car”. Only those engineers in the military aircraft labs know the technological advancements we're going to see in combat helicopters of the near future, but I for one am excited to see what new-age choppers they have in store.