Armed Assault Wiki

The AH-9 Pawnee is a light attack helicopter used exclusively by NATO forces in ArmA 3.


  • Roles:
    • Light gunship
    • Observation
« A light single-engine helicopter used in special operations by the US Army since the Vietnam War. It now exists in several variants used by both military and civilian transport. The AH-9 Pawnee variant is a light helicopter with the ability to carry anti-ground fixed forward-firing weapons such as unguided rockets and machine guns to provide direct air-support for the special operations forces. The MH-9 Hummingbird is mostly used as a special forces troop transport with two outboard benches.
Field Manual


The Pawnee is a five-bladed, single engine, rotary-wing light helicopter designed for both observation and light attack roles.

Unlike the Hummingbird, the Pawnee has two stub wings located on either side of the fuselage where the side benches would be located. Each of these wings have a single pylon on them that support dynamic loadouts.


AH-9 pylon configuration

By default, the Pawnee has twin M134 miniguns and DAR rocket pods mounted on its stub wings.

The miniguns are fed with a single 5,000-round linked belt. The DAR pods on the other hand, are loaded with 24 unguided rockets (combined) fitted with high-explosive (HE) warheads.

Both pylons (1-2) can have their default loadouts changed depending on mission requirements, and support being fitted with any of the following types of munitions and weapons:

  • ASRAAM (1×)
  • Skalpel (1×)
  • Shrieker HE (7×)
  • Shrieker AP (7×)
  • DAR (12×)
  • DAGR (12×)

Performing a strafing run with DAR rockets.

The Pawnee handles almost exactly like the Hummingbird, sharing the same impressive manoeuvrability and decent flight speed in a compact and nimble airframe that allows it to perform fast strafing runs on ground targets.

However, just like its transport counterpart the Pawnee has essentially non-existent armour plating. It can be quickly shot down by small arms alone if left exposed to enemy fire for even just a brief moment.

Likewise, care must be taken when flying into the range of radar-guided anti-aircraft weapon systems. Since the Pawnee lacks defensive avionics like a RWR or defensive countermeasure chaff pods, the pilot will not be alerted to being locked-on to by AA weapons, nor of any incoming missiles.

Crew Capacity
The Pawnee has only a seating capacity of two personnel; a crew that consists of the pilot and co-pilot. It does not have the ability to carry any passengers, as both the internal rear seats and external side benches are removed to make room for the mounted stub wings and for storing ammunition.


The Pawnee has a base armour value of 30.


Hull damage is calculated based on the integrity of other components on the Pawnee. Until all other parts of the helicopter have been critically damaged, the hull itself can never be "destroyed".


The Pawnee's engine take a maximum of 7.5 points of damage before it fails. It receives 200% additional damage from high-explosive (HE) type munitions.

If damaged: Reduced power output and makes it difficult to gain both speed and altitude.
If destroyed: Can potentially blow up the Pawnee instantly if overall status of helicopter is at critical.

Fuel tank[]

The Pawnee's fuel tank can withstand up to 12 points of damage before it ruptures. It takes 200% additional damage from HE-type munitions.

Rupturing the Pawnee's fuel tank will not result in a total loss unless the helicopter's damage levels are already at critical.


Consists of the pilot's/co-pilot's flight instruments and Multi-Functional Displays (MFD). They can take a maximum of 30 points of damage before failing.

If damaged: Occasional flickering of MFDs. Other instruments unaffected.
If destroyed: Causes MFDs/instruments to malfunction completely. Some gauges may not display consistent readings.

Main rotor[]

The main rotor can take up to 90 points of damage before it fails. It incurs a 250% increased damage penalty from HE-type munitions.

A disabled main rotor makes it increasingly difficult to maintain the Pawnee's lift. Unless the tail rotor has also been disabled however, the Pawnee can still be (reasonably) controlled at low airspeeds.

Tail rotor[]

The tail rotor can withstand a maximum of 60 points of damage before it suffers from failure. It has a 600% increased damage penalty from HE-type munitions.

A disabled tail rotor will drastically increase torque from the main rotor. At low airspeeds, the Pawnee will become extremely unstable and almost impossible to control due to constant yaw shifting.


The Pawnee does not have access to any kind of sensors nor defensive avionics.


NOTE: Only weapons fitted by default on the Pawnee are displayed. Ordnance and weapons equipped via the dynamic loadouts mechanic are not listed here.

The pilot controls both the 2x M134 Minigun 7.62 mm and DAR rocket pod weapons. There is no electronic HUD display for aiming with either weapon, though a small hand-drawn black circular marker is available to assist in approximating the impact point of the twin guns/rockets.

2x M134 Minigun 7.62 mm[]

Base damage value Aerodynamic friction Initial velocity (m/s) Penetration depth (mm)
11.6 -0.001 860 20.64

Twin 7.62 mm Gatling guns. They can attain fire rates of up to 1,800 rounds per minute and have a fixed dispersion of 0.0092 rad. 15 seconds will be required to rearm their belts completely from a supply truck (assuming all 5,000 rounds have been already depleted).

Neither minigun can be removed from the Pawnee's pylons and are permanently fixed to its stub wings.


Main article: Dynamic loadouts#DAR

Unguided air-to-ground rockets fitted with high-explosive (HE) warheads.


Due to its small size, the Pawnee is semi-stealthed in all aspects from active radars, infrared sensors, and visual sensors. Against fighter radars, it can remain completely undetected by flying over ground clutter instead of remaining above open terrain:


The Pawnee has a radar cross-section rating of 0.7, which lowers the maximum detection range of active radars by 30%.


The Pawnee has reduced visibility on the infrared spectrum and can only be tracked at 80% of an infrared-based sensor's maximum range (factor of 0.8; reduction of 20%).


The Pawnee is much more difficult to spot visually and cannot be identified by visual-based sensors until it flies within 80% of the sensor's maximum range (factor of 0.8; a 20% reduction).


Main article: Slingloading#AH-9 Pawnee

As with its unarmed counterpart, the Pawnee is similarly capable of slingloading some small vehicles.

Because it still retains the same maximum weight capacity of 500 kg, it is limited in the types of cargo it can ferry; consisting of only small supply crates or Quadbikes. As with the Hummingbird, this renders it quite useless for logistical airlift purposes.


  • As with the Hummingbird, the Pawnee's airframe is based on the real-world McDonnell Douglas "MD-500D" light helicopter and uses the same seamless cockpit windscreen and tail structure.
    • It slightly differs cosmetically - most notably with the addition of vents at the base of the tailboom, but is otherwise largely identical to the MD-500D.
    • Its role on the other hand, closely resembles that of the "AH-6J Little Bird". Like the AH-6J, it is designed to escort and support special operations teams during insertion and extraction, though the Pawnee is visually distinct from the "MD-530F" airframe that the AH-6J was based on.
  • The Pawnee's twin 7.62 mm miniguns were initially configured to be capable of toggling between a low and high rate-of-fire mode, able to output up to either 1,800 or 5,400 rounds per minute. Because the ability to toggle between modes is disabled, the ROF of the miniguns cannot be freely adjusted in-game without a custom addon.
    • The release of the Apex expansion made further undocumented changes to the Pawnee, which changed the fire rate of the high ROF mode to use a 3x multiplier instead of a flat speed increase.
    • However, the multiplier parameter does not increase the Pawnee's actual ROF, and only triples the amount of ammunition expended when firing (the Pawnee's true ROF is still limited to just 1,800 RPM).
  • Before Game Update 0.74 (during the Beta), the Pawnee had stiffer handling due to its lower lift force output.[1]
  • After the Helicopters DLC was released, the Pawnee's fuel consumption rate was significantly increased. Prior to the DLC's launch, Pawnees could remain airborne for almost the same amount of time as larger helicopters like the Ghost Hawk.[2]
  • Prior to Game Update 1.70, the Pawnee still had basic defensive avionics that warned the pilot whenever they were locked onto by anti-air missiles. However, they were removed after the Jets DLC was released with the introduction of the new Sensors systems.[3]



  1. van 't Land, J.J. 2013, SPOTREP #00008, Arma 3, viewed 8 October 2023, <>.
  2. van 't Land, J.J. 2014, SPOTREP #00036, Arma 3, viewed 8 October 2023, <>.
  3. Kovařič, V 2017, SPOTREP #00067, Arma 3, viewed 8 October 2023, <>.

External links[]

See also[]


Aircraft of comparable role and configuration[]

Vehicles of ArmA 3
Wheeled AFV-4 GorgonAMV-7 MarshallHatchbackHEMTTHunterIfritKartMB 4WDMSE-3 MaridOffroadProwlerQilinRhino MGS (UP) • StriderSUVTempestTractorTruckQuadbikeUGV StomperVanZamak (MRL)
Tracked 2S9 SochorAWC NyxBTR-K KamyshCRV-6e BobcatED-1D Mini UGV (ED-1E) • IFV-6a CheetahIFV-6c PantherFV-720 MoraM2A1 Slammer (A4 UP) • M4 ScorcherM5 SandstormMBT-52 KumaT-100 Varsuk (X Futura) • T-140 Angara (T-140K) • ZSU-39 Tigris
Rotor-wing AH-9 PawneeAH-99 BlackfootAR-2 DarterCH-49 MohawkCH-67 HuronDemining DroneMH-9 Hummingbird (M900) • Mi-48 KajmanMi-290 TaruMQ-12 FalconPO-30 OrcaUH-80 Ghost HawkUtility DroneWY-55 Hellcat
Fixed-wing A-143 BuzzardA-149 GryphonA-164 WipeoutCaesar BTTF/A-181 Black Wasp IIKH-3A FenghuangMQ-4A GreyhawkTo-199 NeophronTo-201 ShikraUCAV SentinelV-44X BlackfishY-32 Xi'an
Aquatic Assault BoatMotorboatRHIBSpeedboatSDVWater Scooter
(Parenthesis) denote variants.
Karts DLC | Helicopters DLC | Apex DLC | Jets DLC | Laws of War DLC | Tanks DLC | Contact DLC
Arma3-factionicon-nato NATO - Vehicles (ArmA 3)
Wheeled AMV-7 MarshallHEMTTHunterProwlerQuadbikeRhino MGS (UP) • UGV Stomper
Tracked CRV-6e BobcatED-1D Pelter (ED-1E Roller) • IFV-6a CheetahIFV-6c PantherM2A1 Slammer (A4 UP) • M4 ScorcherM5 Sandstorm
Rotor-wing AH-9 PawneeAH-99 BlackfootAL-6 PelicanAR-2 DarterCH-67 HuronMH-9 HummingbirdMQ-12 FalconUH-80 Ghost Hawk
Fixed-wing A-164 WipeoutF/A-181 Black Wasp IIMQ-4A GreyhawkUCAV SentinelV-44X Blackfish
Aquatic Assault Boat (Rescue) • Speedboat MinigunSDV
(Parenthesis) denote variants.
Helicopters DLC | Apex DLC | Jets DLC | Laws of War DLC | Tanks DLC | Contact DLC