"When ""The Chopper Boys"" was published 20 years ago, there were three editions, one each for Britain, the United States and South Africa. The book sold out in a short time and a revised edition of the work has been asked for many times in recent years from aviation enthusiasts but in particular from the men and women who flew these beautiful machines. It was left to Helion and Company to redress this need. Though the author, over decades, covered many of conflicts listed, there are some notable gaps. This new edition attempts to plug those holes by including chapters on ongoing hostilities against al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) where the French air force is battling Islamic Jihadis in that country's northern mountains, as well ongoing events in Somalia. Also included is a section on the South African mercenary group Executive Outcomes who fought two successful anti-insurgency campaigns in Angola and Sierra Leone. ## The author also takes a long, hard look at the future of private military contracting work in the Third World, and specifically the role that chopper gunships are likely to play in future conflagrations on what some people still refer to as the ""Dark Continent"". It is not generally realized that prior to the outbreak of war in Mali, a South African mercenary group was tasked with setting up an air wing which might have curtailed this bitter struggle. The contract was said to be worth about $50 million and involved the acquisition of two Mi-24 gunships as well as three Mi-17s transport helicopters. ## The contract was about to be signed when a Mali army officer launched his own coup d'etat and put a stop to everything. The outcome, basically, is that instead of halting the insurrection in its tracks for roughly $50 million, it costs roughly that each month simply to finance this ongoing war. A notable aspect of this book is a look at the early use of helicopters in combat. The French initiated that trend in Algeria in the mid-1950s. Until then, choppers had been used mainly in the evacuation of casualties, search and rescue, evacuation and troop transport. The first time they were used in battle was during a battle with Muslim rebels in the Atlas Mountains when a French commander strapped two soldiers with automatic rifles onto each of the litters and sent the helicopter to do what was needed, apparently with good success. Since then, helicopters have become the mainstay of most governments involved in insurgency operations. "