Hornet AV-14 Attack VTOL
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 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.
The 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 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.