The AV-14 Attack VTOL, also known as the Hornet, is a United Nations Space Command assault and reconnaissance aircraft. The Hornet is capable of fulfilling multiple combat roles from close air support to special forces insertion.
The AV-14 is a vertical take off and landing aircraft (VTOL) that has been in service since at least 2424 and has played a role in multiple campaigns starting with Operation: TREBUCHET. It serves as the UNSC's Assault, Search, Reconnaissance, and Close Air Support Aircraft. The Hornet is an atmospheric only craft and as such cannot be deployed by orbital vessels unless a ship rated for atmospheric entry can deliver it to the battlefield. It is easier for the Hornet to be deployed from an air base located on the surface than from a ship.
The AV-14 Hornet consists of a one-man cockpit and a rear section, extending approximately one meter backward. Variant models feature a tandem seating configuration, presumably allowing a second passenger to operate the aircraft's weaponry or navigation systems. At the top of this rear section are a set of wings with what appear to be advanced turbofan engines mounted on gimbals at the ends, providing the Hornet's main source of propulsion. The front of the Hornet contains a target acquisition and designation system which includes cameras and sensors. On each side of the cockpit is a jump-seat extending backward that doubles as a landing skid. These skids allow up to four passengers, though the additional weight runs the risk of overloading the aircraft.
Although the AV-14 Hornet primarily serves as an attack craft, like most UNSC hardware it is flexible, able to serve as a multi-purpose aircraft, and can be configured for a particular role — variant models include the AV-14 Reconnaissance and the AV-14 Transport and dependent upon mission requirements can be customized accordingly.
ArmamentsEditThe AV-14 Hornet is armed with both anti-infantry and anti-vehicle weapon systems, and is configurable to adjust to any task required. The AV-14 Hornet can be configured with one of two anti-infantry systems. The first are a pair of high-mounted GUA-23/A Heavy Autocannons, located on either side of the cockpit, which can be elevated and depressed to a small degree, without affecting the flight pattern of the Hornet. The second is a single, nose mounted GUA-23 Linkless Feed Autocannon that fires .50 BMG rounds. The anti-vehicle system is composed of a Class-2 Guided Munition Launch System consisting of twin missile launchers mounted on the belly of the aircraft's landing skids. When triggered, each pod fires a single homing missile, though the operator must lock onto a target for maximum effective use. In addition, the Hornet can be armed with two chaff pods to counter radar-guided missiles. When activated they release copper nickel-coated glass fibers or silver-coated nylon fibers having lengths equal to half of the anticipated radar wavelength.
The AV-14 Hornet is known for its efficiency in combat situations; its multi-purpose role allows the aircraft to take on a wide array of missions and can perform without any major problems. In its role as an attack craft the AV-14 is very effective at hunting down and destroying armor and infantry with relative ease; the homing Class-2 GMLS can take down the toughest Covenant armor in only a few strikes, making it the UNSC's prime choice for hunting down tanks. Its ability to engage infantry also makes the AV-14 both an offensive and defensive aircraft; the triple-barrel rotary cannons can take down heavily armored and shielded targets with little effort, and its ability to place itself in a stationary position to lay down cover fire while a larger craft retrieves fellow infantry also allows it to perform its role as a support craft. The firepower on the craft is also an added bonus when escorting other aircraft into dangerous territory that could be susceptible to ground fire. Its role as a support craft is further bolstered by its ability to easily insert small strike teams into combat situations.
While the AV-14 Hornet has a wide variety of roles and advantages, its greatest weakness is its light armor — making it susceptible to anything larger than small arms fire. Although the Hornet is rather nimble, it lacks the maneuverability of the D77-TC Pelican and AV-22 Sparrowhawk, which can occasionally be a liability in heavy combat conditions. Infantry atop of the vehicles landing skids are also at risk of taking enemy fire, as they have no protection at all which is why the AV-14 Hornet is often used to insert small strike teams, and not extract them during combat operations. The risk of casualties from anti-aircraft fire mandates the use of more heavily armored aircraft like the D77-TC or the UH-144 Falcon for extraction.
The AV-14 Hornet first entered service during the UNSC's campaign against the Insurrectionists. It played a big part in Operation: TREBUCHET and was used to provide support to infantry on the ground and to insert strike teams into combat zones. Two Hornets were used during a raid on Tribute in 2524, when two teams of special forces were inserted into a hot zone and safely retrieved an Insurrectionist with information regarding the rebels' method of making explosives.
The AV-14 Hornet remained in service nearly three decades later during and up to the final days of the Human-Covenant War, serving during the Battle of Arcadia, and was a common sight during the Battle of Earth. Deploying strike teams and providing support during the Battle of Cleveland and provided SPARTAN-117 support during the Battle of Voi — after arriving at the Ark the Hornet became the primary escort and air support craft for the UNSC during the final moments of the war.
The Hornet is extremely effective in Halo 3 if used correctly. In Campaign, the Hornet dominates all battles it enters with its accurate and effective rotary cannons, as well as its guided missiles. While in Matchmaking on Avalanche, however, the Hornet has no missiles, the rotary cannons have a slower rate of fire, and moves slightly faster. Thus, it remains a great transport and support aircraft, and can change the face of a battle if used properly. The following are a list of tips for both pilots and troops riding on the jump seats of Hornets.
- Main article: Campaign
- In Campaign, it is best to give your passenger Marine allies a heavy weapon like a Spartan Laser or a Fuel Rod Gun, as they can assist in destroying nearby infantry/vehicles that are often not in your sight.
- When engaging the Scarab Tanks on The Covenant using a Hornet, be sure to continuously circle around the heavy attack platforms, as their weapons will take you down quickly on higher difficulties.
- Another handy way of taking on the Scarab Tanks is to fly underneath them and attack their weak spot from behind, until the Scarab is destroyed.
- Another, more team-based method is to either pick up one wingman (on each Hornet if playing four player, two wingmen on one if playing 3 player) and drop them off on the Scarab as they land. If done quickly, the Brutes will all be bunched up in the corridor leading to the front, making it easy for the pilot to kill them with missiles and bullets. While the Hornet circles around, the wingman runs around the back, destroys the power core, then runs back to the front for extraction by the Hornet. If on four player with two Hornets, simultaneously dropping off wingmen from each Hornet is a quick and efficient way to get past a potentially difficult obstacle.
- It is also possible to use the above strategy on single player, however you will have to kill the Brutes and rely on the Marine who is flying the Hornet not to get shot.
- The Hornet can only take so much damage before going down. Two missiles from a Missile Pod will take one out. If the Hornet is being tracked by someone with a Spartan Laser, it is best advised for you and your passengers to drop out of the aircraft or bring the aircraft to ground as quickly as possible, the weapons can be brought to bear onto enemy Banshees as they're more potent but be aware for the Banshee's fuel rods when engaging one.
- One discharge of a Spartan Laser is sufficient to either bring the craft down, or inflict critical damage and seriously injure the pilot on a near-hit. If a hit is landed on your aircraft, it is advisable to retreat immediately and recharge your shielding before engaging/reengaging.
- Passengers that are armed with Rocket Launchers or Spartan Lasers can help compensate for the lack of missile pods on the transport variant, although passengers can be hindered due to their limited field of view, restricted firing angles, and vulnerability to heavy weapons and small arms fire while riding on the skids. When this tactic is properly employed by a skilled crew on a standard variant, it creates a heavy weapons platform that is exceptionally difficult for the opposing team to engage without taking heavy casualties.
- A Hornet offers little protection from Battle Rifle or Sniper Rifle fire; it is advisable to flee or return fire when engaged by such a weapon.
- Like the Mongoose, the Hornet can be used for rapid relocation of a sniper, or a firing platform as it can reach high altitudes, sufficient enough to reach structures that are otherwise inaccessible. It also serves as an excellent objective item-holding carrier, being a more durable and harder to hit target than a Mongoose or a Warthog and its pilot can shoot back!
- Engage Warthogs with caution. The rear mounted guns on these vehicles can pluck you out of the sky like a ripe apple. Both vehicle types are potent enough to take out an unaware Hornet. If required; such as taking out a Warthog carrying an enemy objective-carrier, engage from afar or get into a advantageous location to launch a surprise attack.
- Skilled pilots may decide to use the Hornet much like the Pelican, in that you could use the Hornet to drop off teammates near strategic locations. Be wary if using this tactic near enemy bases, as you are more than guaranteed to get hit by explosives.
- In a match where the Hornet is available, get two people riding jump-seat, and have the passengers equipped with a Bubble Shield. When someone attacks the Hornet with a heavy weapon, get one person to deploy the bubble shield. If done right the Bubble Shield will block the blast and then fall to the ground. Of note is that both passengers must be playing as spartans since elites cannot deploy equipment from the jump-seat
- In case you see an enemy Hornet and the Spartan Laser is unavailable, try using a Plasma Pistol, as it can easily disable a Hornet. Try to get near the Hornet so the plasma-charged bolts can follow the Hornet, but with caution so the pilot of the Hornet does not see you. Then shoot the Hornet with the plasma-charged bolts and wait until it reaches the ground, then destroy it with a Plasma Grenade, or wait until the effect of the Plasma Pistol passes to steal the Hornet.
- A Power drain equipment will also knock a Hornet to the ground if the AoE of the Power Drain passes through the Hornet. Be warned, an EMP'ed Hornet can still fire back. Approach the craft from the sides and hi-jack or destroy it.
- Wraiths can be an easy target for the Hornet to dispatch but Scorpions are a different story. Take incredible care not to let the driver get a good shot on you as Hornets are frail enough to withstand 1-2, well-aimed, shots.
- Main article: Halo Wars
The Hornet makes an appearance in Halo Wars as the main-line UNSC aircraft. It can be built at the Air Pad for a cost of 250 resources with a minimum tech level of 2. It takes 2 population slots. It is capable of engaging both ground and air targets but is susceptible to anti-aircraft fire; it has several upgrades making it more versatile against ground units:
- "Wingmen": Adds two Marine passengers who each carry a rocket launcher.
- "Chaff Pod": Increases the Hornet's avoidance of anti-air fire.
- "Hawk": Upgrades the Hornet into a Sparrowhawk gunship, which has a greater firepower and hitpoints, and is faster than a Banshee. It is armed with an M6 laser and two pairs of twin-linked autocannons. This upgrade is available only if Professor Anders is the selected leader.
- The Hornet is mentioned in Halo: Contact Harvest, and is used by the Marines of Alpha and Bravo (Johnson's and Brynes respectively) squad to take down Insurrectionists on Tribute.
- The Hornet bears a slight resemblance to its namesake insect with the "wings" growing slightly wider towards the end (like a real hornet's wing) and with the personnel jump seats mimicking the long back legs that often trail behind the posterior of the insect.
- The Covenant is the only level in the Halo 3 Campaign in which the Hornet is available. It is available twice during the mission.
- In Halo Wars, it seems the Hornet does not use its twin gatling guns, but rather a single, chin-mounted gatling gun. This may simply be a different or earlier variant, as Halo Wars is set over 20 years prior to Halo 3.
- In Halo Wars, when the "Wingmen" upgrade is unlocked for the Hornet, the Marines sit on the wings instead of stand as they do in Halo 3.
- Mega Bloks has released a Hornet with their Halo Wars line of products. The set includes a Spartan to pilot the Hornet and little Grunts to kill.
- A Spartan riding on a Hornet's skids can deploy equipment; however, an Elite cannot.
- There is also another variant of the Hornet known as the Hornet Transport that appears with light Grey color and without missiles, leaving it much more vulnerable.
- Jada toys released images on a new Hornet that includes a pilot and an ODST from Halo 3.
- McFarlane Toys released a Micro Ops edition of the Hornet in August 2012.
- In Halo 4, the Hornet is seen on Skyline as a patrol aircraft with a light attach to the bottom.
List of appearancesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 96
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Halo Encyclopedia page 248
- ↑ Halo Legends:Homecoming
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest page 9
- ↑ Halo 3, level Avalanche
- ↑ Halo Wars
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Halo Wars Prima Strategy Guide page 45
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Halo: Evolutions Dirt page 113
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest page 20
- Kestrel - A Halo 2 deleted craft.
- Sparrowhawk - The upgrade for the Hornet, a heavy aircraft featured in Halo Wars.
- Banshee - The Covenant counterpart of the Hornet.
- UH-144 Falcon - Replaces the Hornet in Halo: Reach.