North Korean Helicopter Sub-Tree

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
Would you like to see it as a sub-tree for China, or another nation?
  • China
  • Other
  • Not as a sub-tree, but as a full tree (e.g. United Korea tree)
  • No
0 voters

North Korean Helicopter Sub-Tree

Korean People’s Army Air Force

The Tree

  • Shown including Chinese helicopters for reference

Breakdown Of Copy-Paste

Indigenous Helicopter – 0/5 – 0%

  • N/A

Not in-game, modified – 3/5 – 60%

  • MD 500E – ATGMs, grenade launchers
  • Hyŏksin-2 – ATGMs, rockets
  • Z-5 – ATGMs, rockets

In-game, modified – 1/5 – 20%

  • Mi-8/Mi-17 – ATGMs, rockets

In-game, unmodified – pure copy-paste – 1/5 – 20%

  • Mi-24D

Rank V
✪ Mi-8/Mi-17

Mil Mi-8/Mi-17

North Korea acquired ~13 Mi-8s from the USSR some time before 1973, and received sporadic deliveries of both the Mi-8 and Mi-17 in the early-mid 80s. The Mi-17 has its tail rotor on the port side rather than the starboard side, and has larger engines. Both variants are used, and probably both armed, by North Korea. Mostly carries rockets, but does appear to be able to carry 4x 9M14s as well.

BR of 8.0.

Armament: 6x rocket pods (probably 57mm); 4x 9M14
Mobility: 2x 1950hp, 250km/h (Mi-8); 2x 1900hp; 250km/h (Mi-17)

✪ MD 500E

McDonnel Douglas MD 500E
Suggestion Post


86 smuggled into North Korea from 1983-1985. In North Korean service, armed with 4x 9M14 ATGMs, or 2x 9M111 and 2x 9M14s, along with a 30mm grenade launcher. 4x 9M111s is very likely to be possible, but it hasn’t been seen. North Korea produce their own derivative of the 9M111-2, and were largely (possibly entirely) supplied with the -2 variant, which has an extra 60mm of penetration (460mm total).

BR of 8.3.

Armament: 1x 30mm grenade launcher; 4x 9M14; 2x 9M111-2, 2x 9M14; 4x 9M111-2 (possible)
Mobility: 420hp, 251km/h

✪ Mi-24D

Mil Mi-24D

No Images.

Some reports have mentioned North Korea acquiring Mi-24s from the USSR. I personally find this unlikely, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and a few fairly reputable sources mention them [1][2], although most don’t. The authors of ‘The Armed Forces of North Korea’ claim reports of Mi-24s were based on misreporting to the US Congressional Research Service. I’m therefore adding it here, as a possibility only in the case that more information is found/revealed. Would have the same armament as the variants already in-game: 9M17 Falanga (P variant, rather than M), rockets, and bombs.

BR of 8.7.

Armament: 1x 12.7mm YaK-B; 2x 23mm GSh-23L; 4x 250kg bombs; 2x 500kg bombs; 4x rocket pods / pods; 4x 9M17P
Mobility: 2x 1050hp, 335km/h

Rank VI
✪ Hyŏksin-2

Suggestion Post


104 (or 140) Soviet Mi-2s (designated Hyŏksin-2 in North Korean service) were delivered and constructed in North Korea from 1977-1984. Mostly armed similarly to other helicopters, with 2x rocket pods and 4x 9M14 ATGMs. However, in 2016 it was shown firing a new TV-guided missile (as seen above). I propose it is added with this missile at a higher BR – otherwise it would go at 7.7-8.0.

BR of 9.0.

Armament: 2x UB-16 rocket pods; 4x 9M14; ?x TV-guided ATGM
Mobility: 2x 400hp, 200km/h

✪ Z-5

Harbin Z-5


The Harbin Z-5 is the Chinese license-produced version of the Soviet Mil Mi-4. North Korea obtained around 50 from China in the early 1970s. In North Korean service, these have been fitted with rocket pods (and possibly a 12.7mm machine gun). Reports also say it can be fitted with ATGMs (3M11/9M17 or 9M14, but no images exist of this, and there are other helicopters that can take this role.

BR of 7.7.

Armament: 2x 57mm rocket pods, 1x 12.7mm DShK
Mobility: 1x 1680hp, 210km/h

History of the KPAAF’s Helicopters

The KPAAF (sometimes shortened to KPAF) was founded just after the liberation of Korea from Imperial Japanese rule, and was formally founded on 20th August 1947. The first helicopters were 24 Soviet Mi-2s, delivered near the end of the 1950s. In 1968, small numbers of the Mi-8 were introduced – these serve almost exclusively as transport/VIP helicopters, although a few have been seen armed. In 1974, over 40 Z-5s (Chinese produced Mi-4s) were delivered, sparking a huge growth in the KPAAF’s helicopter forces. Over a hundred Mi-2s were bought from Poland in the 1980s – these were built in North Korea, and designated the Hyŏksin-2. Supposedly, up to 47 Mi-24Ds were acquired from the Soviet Union around this time – although this could certainly be an error in reporting, no images or further details have surfaced.

From 1983-1985, 86 MD 500D’s and E’s were smuggled to North Korea through a West German ghost company. These were quite quickly modified to serve in an anti-tank role. 4 Mi-26 transport helicopters were delivered in the mid-1990s, along with a few more sporadic deliveries of various Mi-8 and Mi-17 variants – up to 8 variants have been seen in North Korea. In the late 90s, Cuba armed North Korea with their first anti-submarine helicopters – at least 4 Mi-4PLs and at least 2 Ka-28s (export version of Ka-27). 3 more were obtained from an unknown country, possibly Russia.

No attempts at constructing their own helicopter appear to have taken place – North Korea has over 300 helicopters in service, one of the largest helicopter fleets in the world, and likely just don’t see it as necessary to spend the resources and time required to build their own. They have very limited experience even constructing regular aircraft, with only 2-3 attempts, all failing to produce more than a few prototypes at best. North Korea is unlikely to acquire more modern attack helicopters anytime soon, as they seem to favour light helicopters armed by themselves with simple ATGMs and rockets. At the very least, they don’t seem to have made moves to do so, unlike their many attempts at trying to acquire new, more modern fighter jets, or their successful attempts at modernising their tank forces.

Almost all helicopters in North Korean service have been armed with the same set of weapon options – 30mm grenade launchers, 9M14 ATGMs (known in North Korea as Bulsae-1), and 57mm rocket pods. Other weapons have been fitted, like the 9M111-2 and a novel TV-guided ATGM, but in limited numbers. One Hyŏksin-2 appears to have been fitted with AAMs at some point in the 90s, but only one image is said to exist (not available online), and it could simply be misidentification of the weapon.

Place in the Game

Alongside a North Korean ground forces sub-tree and North Korean aviation sub-tree, this tree would provide a way for a few somewhat-unique North Korean helicopters to enter the game, and bolster the Chinese tree in the process (another option being a United Korean tree). While North Korea has no indigenous helicopters, they still have unique options (such as the armed MD 500s), and can also pave the way for future Chinese helicopters following them (such as the Mil Mi-17V-7).

I hope you support it!

Roundels/Insignia + Camouflage


  • KPAAF roundel


  • Z-5 with roundel


  • MD 500 with roundel

  • Mi-8 with roundel

Screenshot 2024-05-14 at 00.26.35

  • Plaquette on MD 500

Screenshot 2024-05-14 at 00.32.39

  • Plaquette on MD 500


  • Emblem of the Socialist Patriotic Youth League

Screenshot 2024-05-14 at 00.26.25

  • Emblem of the Socialist Patriotic Youth League on an MD 500

3-tone camouflage (Light green/Dark green/Brown)

  • MD 500


  • Hyŏksin-2

  • MD 500

  • Mi-8

  • Mi-8

3-tone camouflage (Green/Beige/Blue)

  • Mi-8

  • Mi-8

1-tone grey/green camouflage

  • Mi-8

  • Hyŏksin-2

mi-2 rockets 1

  • Hyŏksin-2


  • Z-5


  • Mi-8/Mi-17

1-tone white civilian camouflage, Air Koryo

  • Mi-17

1-tone white civilian camouflage, red and blue stripe (flag), Air Koryo

  • Mi-8


  • Mi-8/Mi-17


  • Hyŏksin-2


  • Not an exhaustive list

The Armed Forces of North Korea: On the Path of Songun – Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

KPA Journal - Vol. 1, No. 9 - September 2010

N.Korea shows helicopter-launched anti-tank missile | NK News

朝鮮人民軍のMi-2ヘリコプター|Korean Arms

How Did North Korea Acquire American-Made Helicopters? | The National Interest

MCDONNELL DOUGLAS 500E Specifications, Cabin Dimensions, Performance

Harbin Z-5: Photos, History, Specification

2024 World Air Forces directory | Report | Flight Global

Arms transfer database


It’s quite small and tiny, but I still think it belongs in an independent United Koreans TT. Either way it would be a cool addition to war thunder nonetheless, +1.

1 Like

Unfortunately, yeah. I mostly suggested it to go along with the ground forces and air sub tree, both of which actually have more unique vehicles (and a WIP coastal sub-tree).

This is a good idea, but China is already PLA/Taiwan. I think this would be better in a “United Korea” Tree, perhaps starting at Rank 4 like Israel, etc.