By: Warren Gray

Copyright © 2024

“The Mirocopter SCH-2A has truly revolutionized the world of personal aviation…

packed with state-of-the-art technology…a coaxial helicopter that combines

stability, agility, and efficiency into one sleek package…the Mirocopter’s small

 size and maneuverability make it well-suited for use by law enforcement

agencies…for surveillance and other forms of police work.”

— RotoTrek, LLC, website

The concept of a micro-helicopter gunship began somewhat auspiciously with the Wallis WA-116 Agile gyrocopter in England in 1961, with former RAF Wing Commander Ken Wallis developing a miniature helicopter for testing and evaluation by the British Army Air Corps. Five innovative examples were constructed, and while it never entered official military service, the WA-116 was certainly an interesting design.

The Agile was powered by a four-cylinder, air-cooled, 72-horsepower engine, driving a twin-blade, 20-foot, main rotor system and a much smaller, pusher propeller at the rear. It weighed a mere 255 pounds empty (or 550 pounds fully loaded), with a speed of 100 miles per hour, a range of up to 241 miles, and it could take off in only 30 yards of runway space.

Wallis WA-116 Agile from You Only Live Twice spy film. Photo credit:

One of these fascinating aircraft was modified for use in the 1967 James Bond spy film, You Only Live Twice, equipped with twin, light machine guns, 14 unguided, 44mm rockets, two small, air-to-air missiles, and four miniature, rearward-firing flamethrowers. The weapons were all fictitious, of course, for the sake of the action film, and extra-lightweight, but the basic concept of a mini-helicopter gunship was born.

Today, the closest counterpart to the WA-116 is the Mirocopter SCH-2A (Small, Coaxial Helicopter – 2 rotors, Type A) miniature helicopter, built in Pečine, in western Slovenia. It’s the world’s first-ever, production, ultralight, coaxial helicopter, and the least-expensive production helicopter on Earth, at a mere $37,500 (plus $4,000 for shipping costs), cheaper than many new automobiles.

The radical SCH-2A has been thoroughly tested and approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), under U.S. FAR Part 103 Ultralight Vehicle rules, and it is sold in the United States by RotoTrek, LLC, of Murrieta, California, with additional distributors in Belgium, China, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and South Korea. It was introduced in the U.S. market in August 2022.

This mini-helicopter weighs only 249 pounds empty, but it can accommodate a 225-pound pilot, and up to 48 pounds of weapons and other gear (for 273 pounds total payload), powered by a two-cylinder, 60-horsepower, air-cooled, Fiate Aviation (designed in Italy) MZ202 engine. It utilizes a pair of twin-blade, counter-rotating, coaxial main rotors, and no tail rotor, with vertical thrust achieved by collective blade pitch control of both overhead rotors. And because there is no tail rotor, the SCH-2A can lift additional weight, and operate out of a much smaller area.

Its maximum speed is 62 miles per hour, normally cruising at 50 miles per hour, with a flight time of one hour, and a range of 50 to 200 miles, depending upon flight conditions. This ultralight helicopter is only 14.3 feet long, five feet wide, and eight feet tall.

Miro Črv, company founder, with his Mirocopter SCH-2A coaxial helicopter. Photo credit: Mirocopter

The Mirocopter SCH-2A uses a high-quality, durable, lightweight, aluminum frame and aluminum-composite rotor blades with stainless steel insets for added strength. The instrument panel is a Smarteh seven-inch, LCD color-resistive, touch-screen panel, which includes a digital compass, altimeter, airspeed indicator, and GPS navigation system. The instrument displays show engine and rotor rpm, cylinder-head and exhaust-gas temperatures, air temperature, battery voltage, date and time, trip time, speed, and altitude.

Smarteh seven-inch, LCD color-resistive, touch-screen panel. Photo credit: Mirocopter

Mirocopter SCH-2A coaxial helicopter in flight. Photo credit: Mirocopter

Mirocopter SCH-2A coaxial helicopter in flight. Photo credit: Mirocopter

During World War Two, Major Charles Carpenter, age 32, of Illinois, flew a very light (only 765 pounds), L-4H Grasshopper observation aircraft, nicknamed “Rosie the Rocketer,” hand-modified to carry and launch six M1 bazooka weapons, each weighing 18 pounds, and firing M6A3 unguided, anti-tank rockets, at 3.5 pounds each. Within just a few weeks, Carpenter knocked out a German armored car and four tanks, telling a reporter that his idea of fighting a war was to “attack, attack, and then attack again.”

In the critical, late-September 1944 Battle of Arracourt, France, Carpenter made disabling hits on several German armored cars and two Panther tanks, and killed or wounded a dozen or more enemy soldiers. His L-4H was credited with a total of six German tank kills, including two legendary Tiger tanks, in a hazardous role for which it was never intended. This was a sterling, wartime example of how a very light aircraft could be field modified as an armed attacker.

Slovenia is a NATO member nation, located only 300 miles, across most of Hungary, also a NATO member, from war-torn Ukraine. It would be a fairly simple and inexpensive matter to supply a small number of Mirocopter SCH-2A ultralights to the Ukrainian armed forces, for potential use as a tiny, lightweight, very nimble, scout aircraft, which could very easily be armed with a pair of fixed, forward-firing machine guns securely bolted to the rugged, aluminum frame.

The Russian-made, Kalashnikov PKTM or PKP Pecheneg-SP (Mayak KTM-7.62 in Ukrainian terminology) medium machine gun (20 pounds each) in 7.62x54mmR with 100-round, box magazine, or the smaller, lighter (only 10.6 pounds each), RPK infantry machine gun (with shoulder stock, pistol grip, forend grips, and bipod removed, to further reduce weight) in 7.62x39mm (AK-47 ammunition), with 75-round, drum magazine, would be perfect in this role, for a very simple but effective, light-gunship configuration.

Poland has also donated some UKM-2000P weapons in 7.62x51mm NATO since June 2022, based upon the Kalashnikov PKM design, and several other NATO nations have donated similar machine guns in 7.62x51mm. The Ukrainians have, of necessity, become highly resourceful experts at field modifications of various vehicles, weapons, and military equipment.

The almost impossibly tiny SCH-2A could be extremely useful as an ultra-low-altitude, armed-reconnaissance aircraft, dodging around the battlefield between treelines and over obstacles at less than 10 feet altitude, yet substantially armed, to combat any Russian troops that the Ukrainian pilot may encounter on his daring and hazardous flights.

In late 1943, during the most intensive global war in world history, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated that, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Deploying the new Mirocopter ultralight to Ukraine as a scout gunship is therefore a distinct possibility, but like so many other war-related rumors, no one is talking.

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Warren Gray is a retired, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism. He served in Europe (traveled to Slovenia) and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author and historian.