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Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk)

United States (2008)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk) VTOL Micro Air Vehicle.

 Entry last updated on 11/18/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk)  
Picture of Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk) VTOL Micro Air Vehicle

The Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk UAV provides a portable VTOL UAV system to forward-deployed troops.

The Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk is a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) currently in limited service with the United States Army and Navy. It has also been procured by the United Kingdom and is under consideration with the military of India. The system allows for backpack-sized portability and operation by a single person with a vertical launch capability allowing it to be used out of confined, open-air spaces. The RQ-16 is utilized by ordnance disposal technicians to receive an overview of a given potentially lethal situation. To date, the MAV has proven robust in the field and has served operators well. One RQ-16 system was used to provide a close-up view of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactor that had fallen victim to the massive earthquake and tsunami. One T-Hawk MAV was lost on the roof of Reactor Number 2.

Honeywell International is the RQ-16's contracting authority and manufacturer. RQ-16s were initially trialed in the Iraqi Theater (successfully) and have since gone on to see extended use in the Afghanistan Theater.

The RQ-16 sports a 3W-56 56cc Boxer Twin piston engine developing 4 horsepower and can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 10,500 feet. Overall weight is 20lbs and the system is broken down into two major components for transport. Two carrying bags are provided.

On September 19th, 2012, it was announced that the United States Navy has awarded Honeywell International a $8,286,161 contract for support of the RQ-16B T-Hawk system (Block II Micro Air Vehicle) for use in ongoing operations concerning Operation Enduring Freedom.

The "T-Hawk" receives its name from the "Tarantula Hawk", a predatory wasp common to the American southwest.
Any available statistics for the Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk) VTOL Micro Air Vehicle are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Honeywell RQ-16A T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk) Specifications
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United States
Year: 2008
Status: Active, In-Service
Type: VTOL Micro Air Vehicle
Manufacturer(s): Honeywell International - USA
Production: 372
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Empty Weight: 18 lb (8 kg)

Installed Power
1 x 3W-56 Boxer Twin piston engine developing 4 horsepower.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 81 mph (130 kph; 70 kts)
Service Ceiling: 10,499 ft (3,200 m; 1.99 mi)


Operators List
India (possible); United Kingdom; United States

Series Model Variants
• G-MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) - Initial Product Designation.
• RQ-16A T-Hawk - Base Series Designation; US Navy usage; 372 examples on order (2008).
• RQ-16B T-Hawk - Improved production model
• XM156 (Class I) - US Army Designation