Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 2: Modern UAVs
Copyright © 2009 Andreas Parsch

Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk

The Honeywell MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) originated from the DARPA "Organic Air Vehicle" (OAV) program in the early 2000s, which evaluated - among others - ducted-fan VTOL micro-UAV designs of various sizes. The prototype of the design that eventually evolved into the RQ-16 made its first tethered flight in January 2005, and the first free flight occurred in June that year. This was followed by an extensive evaluation by the U.S. Army infantry. The air vehicle was also known as G-MAV (the "G" denoting a gasoline engine), and has since been named T-Hawk (short for "Tarantula Hawk", a wasp species) by Honeywell.

The T-Hawk backpackable UAV is to be used at platoon level for short-range surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition and battle management. The initial military evaluation focused on the detection of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). The current design features two pods on the outside of the duct, which house flight control electronics, video camera, GPS receiver and radio.

Photo: U.S. Navy

In 2007, the U.S. Navy acquired 20 Micro Air Vehicles, designated YRQ-16A, for evaluation in Iraq by the U.S. MultiService Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group. The evaluation was apparently successful, because in January 2008 the Navy announced a requirement for 186 MAV systems, each consisting of ground equipment and two RQ-16A UAVs. Honeywell received the first actual production contract, for 90 systems, in November 2008. The T-Hawk has also been selected to fulfill the Class 1 UAS requirement for the U.S. Army's Future Combat System (FCS).


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for RQ-16A:

Weight11 kg (25 lb)
Speed74 km/h (46 mph)
Ceiling> 1500 m (5000 ft) (above ground)
Endurance40 min.
Propulsion3W-56 56cc Bower Twin piston engine; 3 kW (4 hp)

Main Sources

[1] "Jane's Helicopter Markets and Systems", November 2008
[2] Stephen Trimble: " US Navy unveils surprise order for ducted-fan UAVs", article in Flight International, January 2008

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 2

Last Updated: 5 February 2009