Terrorism is the main threat to world peace. The Firm, (a clandestine anti-terror group within the CIA) is secretly charged with creating the ultimate weapon in the fight against those who wish to prevent world peace. Their answer? A super helicopter, capable of Mach 1+ speed, stealthy, heavily armed, armored, and filled with electronic intelligence gathering instruments.
The creator of this machine, Dr. Charles Moffett, is not what he seems, and as soon as the ship completes flight and operational testing, he turns it over to Islamic militants for use against the United States in exchange for an obscene amount of money. The Firm must get it back, but they need a pilot. They need the best. The best is Stringfellow Hawke, a former Army helicopter pilot who served in the first Gulf War. There is no one more skilled or talented at the controls of a rotor driven aircraft. Except, he's not in the Army anymore.
Disgruntled with the Department of Defense for their lack of effort in locating his missing brother, lost during the Gulf conflict in the early 90s, String is now working as a pilot for a friend of his father, one Dominic Santini, a famous helicopter pilot who served with distinction with String's dad in Vietnam. Dom is the closest thing to family that String has left, and the two of them are tapped by The Firm to recover Airwolf from the Islamic Terrorists' stronghold in the Middle East. String agrees, on the condition that The Firm, the CIA, and the DoD locate his missing brother. They in turn threaten to recall Maj. Hawke to the Army, and order him to go, but he in turn threatens to go public with their scheme if they don't do it his way.
The military people finally agree, and convince the CIA to go along. They say they will turn over what they find after String brings the helicopter back to the U.S. String and Dom go to the Middle East in secret, and retrieve Airwolf, fighting off the terrorists, killing Dr. Moffett who won't allow himself to be taken prisoner or back to the U.S., and when they return, because String doesn't trust The Firm, the CIA, or the Military, and with Dom's help, he hides Airwolf out in the high desert.
String's intuition is correct, because the CIA and the military folks had no intention of finding St. John (String's MIA brother) or telling Hawke anything about what they did. They just want that helicopter, because they have something to hide... String threatens to expose the helicopter to the public and bring attention to the program if they don't locate his brother, and the head of The Firm (a man known as Archangel, who also flew with String's dad in Viet Nam) asks String to help the fight against terrorism, promising support for the helicopter (fuel, parts, weapons) in return for The Firm secretly continuing to look for St. John.
String reluctantly agrees (after being pushed by Dom) and takes the helicopter out of hiding to prevent a terrorist plot to cause a nuclear power plant to meltdown and kill the population of a large U.S. city. String and Dom defeat the terrorists (with the help of Caitlin, a police helicopter pilot they rescue, and who joins the team) with Airwolf, and avert a major crisis. Archangel, the head of The Firm, finally discovers what happened to St. John, and tells String that he can keep hiding the helicopter from the CIA and the Military, because they are the ones who kept what happened to St. John hidden for all those years, but that he (Archangel) knows what happened to him, and where he is.
Nobody really knows who to trust, but Archangel reveals that he flew with String and St. John's dad (Col. Alexandre Hawke), and lets him know what happened to the elder Hawke, who was lost in Viet Nam on a secret mission. Stringfellow decides that this is a reason to trust Archangel a little, agrees to keep flying the helicopter, and tells Archangel that the only reason he is helping is because Archangel is the one who helped his dad in Viet Nam, and String really does want to help protect the U.S. from Terrorism. St. John and String are finally reunited, and String keeps flying Airwolf in support of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, although keeping the location of the aircraft secret, and Archangel keeps holding off The Firm, the CIA and the Military, by threatening to go public with what they've been doing to secretly support militants around the world to inflate their Defense budgets.
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