Arma 3 is one of the most interesting games out there at the moment. It is neither a full on simulator nor an easily approachable arcade-y experience, the truth lies in the middle. It is a powerful sandbox-like experience that gives all of its power to its players and lets them go wild, allowing them to create experiences that tailor perfectly to them and their play style.
We have been doing just that over the years with our friend group, letting us experience a side of simulated aviation that is very rare nowadays: helicopter operations alongside infantry. These ops are something of a rarity, not because there aren't games that integrate rotary wings and foot soldiers, but because there aren't many that justify their interactions.
Arma 3 maps are big considering the age of the engine and the release date of the title, which is now a decade old. Getting around these maps is impossible without the use of ground vehicles or aircraft, which is where transport vehicles shine. In the operations we usually do with our friends, we use helicopters and ground transport vehicles almost as a necessity, since it would take us from half an hour to an entire hour to get from our base to our objective.
So, seeing this, we decided to start doing some missions a bit behind enemy lines to secure some more terrain. We had two options, a stealthy infiltration or tactical insertion via helicopter. I don't really need to state what we chose, right?
We grabbed one of our UH-60s, loaded all the AIs and players inside of it and set off towards our objective, that was a small compound that we could handle without relying on armored support, which would not be present since we would be kilometers behind enemy-controlled territory. We'd need to fly for a bit, so we all kept our eyes out for any threats.
As with any good tactical operation, we flew fast and low, using the terrain as cover from longer range radars that the enemy might have had. Seeing the trees pass below us at over 170kts was pretty soothing, specially since the Tanoa map reminds me a bit of the type of vegetation that I see on a day-to-day basis. Soon after, we approached our objective. Kosmos, who was piloting the 60, slowed us down as soon as he could and dropped us on top of a building. He maintained a three feet hover over it while we dropped out, securing the immediate area. As soon as we were out of the Black Hawk, Kosmos started his journey back home.
It was extremely cool to see the Hawk's blades ripping the air apart on top of me as he exited the area of operations. It felt like a staged cutscene out of an AAA game, with comms and everything. This was one of those moments where I realized that Arma 3 is truly a unique platform that is unbeaten, until its successor arrives in the form of Arma 4. For the time being, we will continue to enjoy doing many operations like these in Arma 3, utilizing rotary wing aviation to its limits.
About the writer:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000s, leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities, but only started being active around the mid 2010s. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as the co-founder and writer ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034