AV-30 Kestrel

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

This article is about the vehicle introduced in Halo: Spartan Strike. For the vehicle initially cut from Halo: Combat Evolved, see JOV-99 Kestrel.
AV-30 Light Assault VTOL
HSS Kestrel.jpg
Production information


Misriah Armory[1]
REAP-X department



Technical specifications



One operator


In service:

Post-Covenant War conflicts


Ground support, fast attack[1]


United Nations Space Command


The AV-30 Light Assault VTOL, more commonly known as the Kestrel, is a combat vehicle used by the United Nations Space Command, manufactured by Misriah Armory.[1]


Design details[edit]

The Kestrel hovers above the ground by three independently-powered ducted air fans rather than using traditional wheels or treads. These fans allow the Kestrel to easily navigate narrow spaces and partake in acrobatic aerial maneuvers.[2] The vehicle's airframe bears a broad resemblance to the AV-49 Wasp aircraft used by the UNSC and the older JOV-99 Kestrel models - though fails to achieve the same flight performance characteristics of either of those two craft. As such, the vehicle predominantly hovers close to the ground.[3]


The standard production model of the Kestrel is armed with a set of twin-linked GAU-10/A heavy autocannons. Some experimental models are also armed with a pair of M302 rocket pods - a Class-1 Guided Missile Launching System.[1][4][2]


Development history[edit]

The AV-30 Kestrel is based on the JOV-99 aircraft of the same name developed by the Vestol Corporation for the Colonial Military Authority (CMA). When the CMA was effectively dissolved at the tail end of the Insurrection, Misriah Armory lobbied for Kestrels earmarked for transfer to UNSC Army garrisons to be replaced with their own fledgling AV-49 Wasp project instead.[3] The basic philosophy behind the Kestrel continued to live on in the Reverse Engineering and Prototyping–Xenotechnology department (REAP-X) department of the Office of Naval Intelligence; during the Human-Covenant War, ONI invested heavily into prototyping new weapons and equipment for the modern battlefield. Most of these designs failed to progress past the initial theoretical stage, though for the AV-30 project, the craft was deemed to have a perfect mix of lethality and survivability. ONI skunkworks engineers started off development on the AV-30 program with several competing design philosophies encompassing various shapes, armament combinations, and turbine layouts, ultimately leading to the final AV-30 design that was handed off to Misriah Armory for serial production.[1]

While Misriah's AV-30 Kestrel was ultimately based on both REAP-X's prototype,[2] they also incorporated elements of the older JOV-99 model before manufacture began in earnest. Despite this, the AV-30 would ultimately fail to achieve the flight performance characteristics of the JOV-99 Kestrel.[3]

Operational history[edit]

In July 2557 AV-30 Kestrels were used by headhunters during the Battle of Installation 03 and the Skirmish in New Phoenix.[5] During the defense of Onyx of October 2558, UNSC forces used Kestrels against the Created as part of a larger air attack including Pelican dropships and AV-14 Hornets.[6]

Production notes[edit]

Halo: Combat Evolved predecessor[edit]

The Kestrel was originally an aircraft that was cut from Halo: Combat Evolved at an early stage of the game's development, though the name remained in the game's code.[citation needed] Various pieces of concept art for the craft are shown on the Halo 2 Collector's Edition disc. Its design inspired the canonical version introduced in Halo: Spartan Strike. In 2022, it was announced that, as part of the Digsite Alpha initiative for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the original Kestrel design would be added back into Halo: Combat Evolved and made canon as the JOV-99 Kestrel.[7]

MEGA Bloks[edit]

MEGA Brands released toy building sets of the UNSC siege bike and the so-called Light Assault VTOL, later identified as the Kestrel. In a Q&A edition of the Halo Bulletin, Frank O'Connor confirmed the vehicles exist in canon, though not necessarily in the manner depicted by MEGA Bloks.[9] Background information seemingly at odds with the canonical depictions was provided for the toys.

The Light Assault VTOL is said to be an aircraft designed for used in confined environments to provide ground and air-to-air support. Developed by the Office of Naval Intelligence's REAP-X division as part of a line of exotic attack vehicles,[9] the VTOL is armed with a pair of twin-linked GAU-10/A HAC autocannons and a single M302 Class-1 Guided Missile Launch System.[4] In contrast, the canonical version is represented as a ground combat vehicle armed only with a pair of autocannons; indeed, it performs similarly to the Brute Chopper, but maneuvers much like the Karo'etba-pattern Ghost.


  • Following the UNSC tradition of naming vehicles after animals, the AV-30 is named after the Kestrel, a group of falcons capable of hovering in still air.


Concept art[edit]

MEGA Construx[edit]

Canon version[edit]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Halo Waypoint, Kestrel (Retrieved on Feb 15, 2021) [archive]
  2. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 157
  3. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint, Cutting Room Lore (Retrieved on Jul 26, 2022) [archive]
  4. ^ a b Mega Construx, UNSC Light Assault VTOL (Retrieved on Feb 15, 2021) [archive]
  5. ^ Halo: Spartan Strike, Kestrel in-game vehicle
  6. ^ Halo: Legacy of Onyx, chapter 25
  7. ^ Halo Waypoint, Cutting Room Floor (Retrieved on Jul 26, 2022) [archive]
  8. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Did the Kestrel ever get out to the public?" (Retrieved on Mar 3, 2021) [archive]
  9. ^ a b Halo Waypoint, The Halo Bulletin: 3.28.13 (Retrieved on Apr 30, 2013) [archive]
  10. ^ Facebook, Mega Construx: "Our designer friends sent us their latest creation. Check out their concept for the Halo ONI REAP-X Light Assault VTOL." (Retrieved on Jul 18, 2023) [archive]