|This article, AQ-21 Kestrel, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The AQ-21 Kestrel is a UNSC Drone.
The Kestrel Unmanned Explosive Aerial Vehicle is a small, highly specialised drone used for short range threat neutralization and obstacle demolition. Similar to the M72 David Mobile Demolition System, it can take a variable explosive payload, and deliver it at high speed to a target. Its often used for demolition of targets, or pinpoint elimination of targets in urban areas.
The Kestrel is small and relatively light, being a teardrop shape, with manoeuvring fins on the rear, and fold out wings. It has a single rocket motor for propelling it into the air, where it usually glides before descending on its target. This gives it a range of only 500 meters, but its loiter time usually gives it substantial air time.
The Kestrel can be fitted with a variety of explosive payloads, including C-14 Plastic Explosive for all purpose missions, C-13 Gertex for high yield explosions, incendiary payloads for eliminating structures and groups of personnel, thermote for eliminating enemy materiel and EXCALIBUR/HEAT explosives for destroying armoured vehicles and can be augmented with sheets of forge fragment material, for anti-personnel duties.
The guidance package for the Kestrel is surprisingly robust. It consists of a closer of thermal cameras, facing forwards, that scan a wide sphere in front of it, ensuring it can look down and find its target, then maintain its lock. It also has a LASER receiver that can pick up the tell-tale LASERs from UNSC designators and track the beam in to destroy the target. It also has a friend-foe tracker, allowing it to determine between friendly forces, and valid targets. It can also link into the War Net to track and engage targets.
To launch, the tail fins and the wings must be folded out, then it must be thrown by hand, with the rocket motor activating in mid air. It'll fly up, reach a certain altitude, then loiter. From here, it targets based on its pre-opted weapon mode. In autonomous mode, it engages at will, engaging the closest target. In designated mode, it flies to a pre-programmed or laser designated target. In remote mode, it is controlled by the launcher with a universal control interface, directing it personally down onto a target.
The Kestrel is usually used by special forces and combat engineers, usually during tight urban combat. In the hands of combat engineers, it can be used to demolish obstacles in their path, destroy structures, clear defences and eliminate bridges. In the hands of special forces, it can be used to eliminate hostile targets in urban combat scenarios, eliminate snipers, target specific individuals, eliminate armoured vehicles with top down attack and eliminate low flying vehicles.