The Attack Helicopter is an event in Rust, occurring 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.
You don't have to fight the Helicopter if you don't want to. Here's how to effectively avoid the Attack 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 two or more pieces of clothing.
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 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.
- The helicopter now doesn't use the main rockets that damage buildings if the player it is targeting are 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.