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 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 during the Human-Covenant War, serving in both the Battle of Arcadia, Battle of Earth, and Battle of Tsavo. Hornet formations deployed strike teams and provided support during the Battle of Cleveland. During the assault on the Forerunner Citadel, it was the primary method by which John-117 traveled.
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 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 serves primarily as an attack craft, it can be reconfigured 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.
The AV-14 Hornet is armed with both anti-infantry and anti-vehicle weapon systems. 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. 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.
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. 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.
- 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 so they can better assist in destroying nearby enemies that are not in your sight.
- When engaging the Scarabs 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 a Scarab is to fly underneath it and attack its weak spot from behind until the Scarab is destroyed.
- Main article: Multiplayer
- The Hornet cannot take much damage before going down. Two missiles from a Missile Pod will take one out. 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.
- The Hornet can be used to relocate a sniper to places that are otherwise inaccessible.
- The Hornet can be used to quickly transport teammates, which is especially useful if the teammate is holding an objective item.
- If a passenger possesses a Bubble Shield, he can deploy it in mid-air to block damage from heavy weapons.
- In the Halo 3 multiplayer map Avalanche, the Hornet does not have missiles, it moves slightly faster, and its rotary cannons have a slower rate of fire.
- Main article: Halo Wars
The Hornet in Halo Wars is the mainline UNSC aircraft and is capable of engaging both ground and air targets. It can be built at the Air Pad for a cost of 250 resources and 2 population with a minimum tech level of 2. It has several upgrades:
- "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 AV-22 Sparrowhawk gunship, which has greater firepower and hitpoints and is faster than a Banshee. This upgrade is available only if Professor Anders is the selected leader.
Halo 2: Anniversary
The Hornet is only used in the multiplayer portion of Halo 2: Anniversary. Just like in previous games, the Hornet is good for transporting team mates quickly and easily. However, it is relatively weak, with only a small fall being able to get it smoking.
Halo Wars 2
In Halo Wars 2, a modified version of the original Hornet, known as the AV-14B Attack VTOL, is used instead of the original AV-14 Hornet. Changes to the AV-14B model are not specified, but they claim that they will "give the UNSC an edge over the Banished".
- The Covenant is the only level in the Halo 3 Campaign in which the Hornet is available. It is available twice during the mission.
- Mega Bloks released 3 Hornets with their Halo line of products. These sets include a variety of figures and all 3 are different variants. Several updated ones were released for Halo 4.
- A Spartan riding on a Hornet's skids can deploy equipment; however, a Sangheili cannot.
- 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 attached to the bottom.
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide - page 96
- Halo 2: Anniversary - Model: Hornet
- Halo Encyclopedia - page 248
- Halo: Contact Harvest page 9
- Halo Wars - Level: Arcadia City
- Halo 3 - Level: The Storm
- Halo: Uprising Issue 1
- Halo 3 - Level: The Covenant
- Halo: Spartan Assault - Promotional Material: Announcement Trailer
- Halo 4 - Map: Skyline
- Halo Legends: Homecoming
- Halo 3 - Map: Sandbox
- Halo 3 - Map: Avalanche
- Halo Wars Prima Strategy Guide page 45
- Halo: Evolutions Dirt page 113
- Halo: Contact Harvest page 20
- Halo Waypoint' - Canon Fodder: THE ART OF WAR(S)