The Hornet is the ultimate choice when it comes to the best competition electric winch for your vehicle. The RED Winch engineers have designed and developed this high-performance twin motor electric winch for the 4×4 competition and Motorsport markets.
It has been designed with the competition in mind and has many features ideally suited to high-performance Motorsport events.

This page is for our 12v version of the HORNET 2, standard length drum driven by our ever-reliable standard gear set. The winch motor voltage and the winch IN and winch OUT signal voltage from your vehicle have to be all 12v dc.

RED winches have been supplying winches to the competition, commercial, overland, 4×4 and MOD sectors for many years and have built an excellent reputation for quality and reliability through our highly engineered innovative products.

All products at RED winches have been through an extensive design and testing program before going on sale (engineered to meet J706 standards).

The winch body is CNC machined from high-grade heat-treated aerospace aluminium from solid billets. We only use the best machine tools and machining processes to ensure stress in the material is kept to a minimum and strength to its maximum. With its air free spool and air brake system, the Hornet offers control and reliability previously unavailable on a winch to the off-road and motorsport sectors.


When you order your Hornet will come with the following:

Hornet-2 winch with anodised RED CNC machined body and air brake system
Solenoid for brake operation built onto the winch during assembly
High-efficiency copper bus bar assemblies for the motor power connections
Albright heavy-duty Ultimate solenoids x 2
Hard Anodised Aluminium fairlead
Plasma Lock
Mounting Bolts
User Manual


Spring pressure applies a steel disc to the brake material when the winch is not in use.
This applies the brake at the motor drive and stops the winch from spooling out.

The brakes work in a way that they only come off or release when a voltage is applied to the motor solenoid signal terminals. When a signal is sent to the winch to operate either forward or reverse that same signal is used to energise the air solenoid that feeds the brake system.

An air solenoid is fitted in-between the motors at the top of the winch. This is fed by an air supply from your truck or remote compressor. Min 5bar (70 PSI) required.

When you winch in or out you energise the signal terminals on the motor Albright solenoids this also energises the air brake solenoid valve. This then allows air to go into a specially designed chamber inside the air brake unit that releases the brake disc instantly.

When you remove your winching finger from the controls the air solenoid dumps the air and the springs apply the brake disc onto the brake pads. We can vary the number of springs in the brake to suit the weight of the vehicle if necessary but so far this has not been needed. More springs equal larger braking force but more abrupt stopping which can cause snatching which we do not recommend for the sake of your rope life.

One nice feature is when you are lowering out you can switch your isolator off to the winch (no power to the motors) and just flick the winch out button on your dash. This still activates the air solenoid and releases the brake and your vehicle only pulls out rope off the drum for the amount of drop your vehicle needs or moves. This means compared to normal winching you do not get overrun or excess rope coming off the drum and out the back of your truck causing snatching and jerking as the vehicle takes up the slack rope that has been spooled out.
We would expect a set of brake pads to last at least 2 seasons if not 3 seasons due to the material they are made from. This air brake design has been submitted for full patent and is patent pending.


Line pulling power with electrics is in a world of its own as you probably know…and depends heavily on the quality of your electrical setup as described in the electrical section.
As a guide, for the standard Hornet winch you will need this as your electrical setup:

• Twin alternators, one for the vehicle and one for the winching batteries of 200A Min
• Two batteries supplying the winch with enough power, and one battery for the vehicle electrics
• At least 70mm² high-quality electrical cable, ideally one 70mm² cable per motor
• Clean electrical joints and if in areas prone to water joints should have conductive grease applied

The Hornet can give you speeds of 40m/min (131ft/min) for the standard 12v model, and 60m/min (197ft/min) with the Hornet ‘Overdrive’ gear set giving you a choice so you have the power and speed when you need it.


The gearbox has been specifically designed for strength, power, and ease of service. All gears are manufactured from 655-M13 nickel chromium-molybdenum steel and case hardened to give maximum strength (1100 N/mm²) and excellent durability. Straight cut gears provide strength where its most needed.

The end cover is sealed via an O-ring and groove, ensuring a watertight seal. Once the cover is removed access to all gears is possible and only takes 5 mins to service / inspect all gears and re-assemble. The gearbox runs in grease, not oil making it much easier to service in the field.


(1) Check winch as per the safety instructions
(2) Check winch is situated correctly for the task at hand
(3) Check rope is on drum securely and is not tangled
(4) Check power connection to winch
(5) Ensure Compressor is on and the winch has air pressure to it
(6) The winch is now ready to operate


The winch can release and winch in rope very fast, this is much faster than a normal winch, so please operate with caution when first using the winch.
The winch gearbox is slightly noisier than other winches due to the rotational speeds of the gears, especially when not under load. Do not be alarmed by the noise, this is normal.
The compressor will run and vibrate whenever it needs to top-up the air in the system, the winch uses very little air to operate but this compressor could start when the winch is not being operated if the air pressure in the system drops.


The Hornet can give you speeds of 40m/min (131ft/min) for the standard 12v model, and 60m/min (197ft/min) with the Hornet ‘Overdrive’ gear set giving you a choice so you have the power and speed when you need it.

Important Note:
A vehicle with driver has to be 1800kg or less for overdrive gear set to work successfully

You can also overvolt the winch motors (24v onto 12v Motors), its a very common practice in competition use. We ask you to consider this option with caution, as the motors are working much harder than normal and need to be looked after more than if they were being used in normal operation. The winch must not be operated for long periods (5 secs or more) when not under load.
So no-load line retrieval you would use short bursts when winching in
But, many people do overvolt and it works very well for them, it gives the winch incredible power and speed.

As standard, the winch is capable of pulling a minimum of 4500kg with 12v and the standard gear set.
Under load, the speed will drop like all-electric winches do, if overvolting the speed and pulling power will remain much higher for longer.

This twin motor Hornet winch can easily get you out of trouble quickly and with minimum effort time and time again.


A piston in the end of the drive shaft moves a large clutch plate in and out.
This clutch plate locates over 4 drive pins that are mounted into the drum
The clutch plate moves in and out on a splined shaft that is greased.


The electrical power of this winch is supplied by our top-end ultimate winch motor, the OX motor.

This copper bus  bar assembly we use supplies an excellent quality connection to the motors.
Don’t be fooled by thinner copper bars, our extensive testing has shown thinner doesn’t support the demand the motors require from the electrical supply.

The high power Albright solenoid packs are used to switch the direction of the motors and to also provide a feed to the air solenoid for the brake system.

Power, speed, and stamina of the winch is very much variable due to how your vehicle is set up and the quality of the components used in your electrical system and alternator supplying the winch. It also depends on the scale of electrical losses or inefficiencies in your wiring system.

The control voltage selection on the motor solenoid / Albright is for the voltage that will be used/applied to the 3 spade terminals on the Albright motor solenoid.
The Albright power terminals on top can transmit 12v & 24v through them as standard.

We test with x2 Odyssey PC1750 batteries, 12V supply and power, and negative connections made with 70mm² cable.


Standard Drum:
The Std drum can hold 65m of 10mm plasma or synthetic rope.
The Std drum can hold 55m of 11mm plasma or synthetic rope.
The Std drum can hold 45m of 12mm plasma or synthetic rope.

XL Drum:
The XL drum can hold 90m of 10mm plasma or synthetic rope.
The XL drum can hold 78m of 11mm plasma or synthetic rope.
The XL drum can hold 67m of 12mm plasma or synthetic rope.

These figures are the maximum amount of rope when precision wound. We always recommend using 15% less rope to allow for line crossing and bunching.

The drive onto the drum is mechanically provided by a solid steel hardened clutch plate. This is a very tough hardened plate that engages via spring pressure and disengages using an air supply (Air Freespool). The clutch plate is driven from the gearbox by a solid steel central shaft. The drive system has been built for strength and durability. When not engaged the ‘free-spool’ of the Hornet drum is only between two roller bearings so it is extremely free moving to allow the co-driver to run freely with the rope.

The winch is supplied with a “Plasma Lock” to hold the synthetic rope onto the drum. It’s a proven method and very reliable. It is a nice simple solution to ensure you always have the minimum amount of line wraps on your winch drum. Its robust, cheap, and easy to keep spares just in case…..


The Hornet has been designed with both competition use and servicing in mind. A mounting block is provided to interface between the winch and the mounting frame. This reduces the risk of stripping the threads in the winch casing. The free-spool assembly is held in place with machine screws for ease of service. The brake assembly is held on with x4 socket head bolts, allowing full access to the brake pads for service. Brake pads can be changed in 15 minutes.


  • Standard Winch: 55kg (Without Rope)
  • Shipping Weight: 70kg (with no rope or accessories)
  • XL Winch 65kg (without Rope)
  • Shipping Weight: 80kg (with no rope or accessories)


We are confident to stand behind our products in competition use.

All RED Winches are backed with a 2-year mechanical warranty. This covers all mechanical parts.

Wearing parts, bearings, brake pads, etc are excluded, as are electrical components, motors and solenoid packs



Yes, but we have more mounting bolts on our winch.
The two inner bolt mounts will fit onto the standard mounting holes of a GP or Warn 8274
The actual winch is physically smaller than a GP or Warn 8274 with a twin top housing fitted


These notes are supplied to allow you to install and operate the Hornet winch in a safe, efficient and correct way. If these notes are followed you will have problem-free winching for many years.

Important note:
If the instructions are not followed this may lead to poor performance, damage to the winch and possible damage to your vehicle. The electrical elements of the winch are not covered by the warranty. Likewise damage caused by poor installation is not covered.

Electrical Setup
The Hornet is a high performance winch that delivers both speed and pulling power, demanding high current from the batteries. Because of this, the electrical setup on your vehicle must be well maintained, efficient and of adequate capacity to cope with the demands this winch will place on it. The following are a few points you must check / follow:

1. The main earth connection for the winch motors must go to the batteries and not to the frame of your vehicle.
2. The earth connections for the Albright solenoids must not come from the winch motor earth connection.
3. The positive connection for the motors must come to the winch via an isolation switch rated to at least 750A.
4. The positive switching for the Albright solenoids must not be taken from the positive supply to the winch. It must be separate from the battery. Ideally from a battery not used for the winch.
5. The power cables for the motors (Earth & Positive) must have a minimum cross sectional area (CSA) of 70mm². Ideally you should use high capacity / high efficiency/ low resistance cables.
6. All cable lugs should be crimped with a proper crimping tool, to keep losses to a minimum, maximize performance and reduce voltage drop.
7. If the winch is to be used in the wet / under water the breathers on the top of the solenoid valves
8. (brake and Freespool) must be replaced with 6mm tube running to a high point on your vehicle

12v or 24v System
The Hornet winch is designed for a 12v supply voltage to the motors. The motors we use are rated at 12vDC. Some owners run 24vDC on their vehicles for their winches.
The Hornet motors can run on 24vDC and will provide you with a really strong fast winch and we have had some great results from the 24v system. However, as mentioned before we do not warranty the electrical side of the winch for 2 years like we do with the mechanical so you have to be sure your 24v setup is correct before attempting to run the winch on it. We recommend periodically checking and cleaning of the brushes on each winch motor. If running on 24V through 12V motors, we recommend checking the brushes, and cleaning the brush end cap after each event.

12v Heavy Duty Albright Solenoids
The Hornet winch comes with our unique ‘Heavy Duty’ Albright solenoids. These can cope with 1000A and have a stronger spring inside to ensure better contact times and more sustained power through the internal contact tips.
WARNING: The Albright solenoid signal wires run on 12v not 24v. Applying 24v to these units can damage them and affect the performance of your winch.

Gear Ratios
The winch can be supplied with standard or overdrive gear sets. The Standard set gives you a fast winch that pulls in 30m of rope in around 28secs when operating from a 12v supply. The overdrive gear set will give you another 20% increase in speed and in practice with a good installation, can bring in 30m of rope in 23secs when operating from a 12v supply.

Servicing and Maintenance
The end covers on each end of the winch are easily removed with a 5mm & 4mm Allen key.
After prolonged underwater or wet muddy conditions the winch must be inspected for water ingress in both the gearbox and Freespool chambers. The grease must be replaced every 3 months if the winch is constantly being used in wet conditions.
The grease must be replaced every year under normal conditions. Under constant severe wet and muddy conditions the seals on the bearings supporting the winch drum must be removed and the bearings re-greased after every couple of events to ensure the life of the bearings.

We recommend Castrol Spherol L-EP 2 or BP Energrease LS-EP 2 grease.
Waterproof grease can also be used but is expensive.
As long as the grease is a medium viscosity and has high load characteristics you will be OK.
On a cleaned and totally dry gearbox spraying a coating of motorcycle chain lube over the gears helps as it stays on the gears during their first use reducing initial dry rubbing.

Winch Tray
Your winch tray must be of sound condition and securely attached to your truck. These winches can pull over 5000kg so you need to ensure it isn’t going to leave the front of your truck when under load.
The thickness of the winch tray is also important. We have shown in operation that the plates in the tray supporting the winch must have a minimum thickness of 8mm, ideally 10mm and be flat within 0.25mm.

If you are mounting the Hornet on the bottom and front in the winch tray one very important factor is to ensure that these surfaces are exactly 90 degrees / square to each other. If not when you bolt the winch in you can affect the winch performance and Freespool. You can under certain conditions damage the winch if used under load when the mounting surface are not flat or square to each other.

If in doubt please consult your local RED Winch partner or buy from a reputable winch tray / bumper supplier that has winch trays specifically for the Hornet or Trydent.

Equipment Damage
Report any damage immediately it is noticed, especially damage to the rope, which should replaced at once. In the interim do not use the winch. We cannot be responsible for damage if the winch was continued to be used.


1. Always leave the drum and rope neatly spooled after use
2. After a prolonged dirty wet winch session clean and wash the rope and also check gearbox and Freespool chambers for water ingress.
3. Never attempt to disengage the Freespool whilst the winch is under load.
4. Do not operate the winch for more than 2 minutes with the engine off and under load as it will flatten your batteries.
5. Store the winch in gear (Freespool locked) when not in use.
6. If the winch overloads, i.e. it stops under load, release the control button immediately and assess the situation otherwise you will damage the motors.


Before contacting Red Winches for technical support, use the table below for initial fault-finding.


  • Check supply and ground cables are clean and tight at winch, isolator, and battery.
  • Check Winch supply voltage is correct (12V / 24V) between supply terminal and ground.
  • Check that the solenoid has 12V present between terminal and ground.
  • Check that you have adequate air supply to the brake solenoid to lift the brakes.
  • If you have checked all of the above and still have issue, it may be that you have a fault with either an individual motor or an Albright solenoid


  • Check alignment of winch tray.
  • Any mis-alignment here will distort alignment of drum resulting in poor performance of the Freespool.


  • Check that an adequate air supply is available to the solenoid.
  • Check that the Freespool solenoid has a true 11.5 – 12V when operated and has an audible ‘click’ when operated.
  • Check air pipe to the Freespool swivel push fitting on the end of the shaft is not blocked or dirt has been allowed to get in.
  • If after checking the above Freespool operation is still inadequate, the Freespool end plate will need to be removed and the mechanical operation checked for possible water or dirt ingress.


  • Check that an adequate air supply is available to the solenoid.
  • Check that the brake solenoid has a true 11.5 – 12V when operated and has an audible ‘click’ when operated.
  • Check air pipe to brake is not blocked or full of dirt


  • Swap the two control wires to the Albrights.
  • Do not disturb the factory wiring between the two Albrights.



Our whole business has been built on supplying what the customer needs at a price that is fair to the performance you receive.

This involves a few basics

  • Listening to the needs and wishes of our customers to deliver customer focused solutions and products
  • Ensuring the products we deliver are to the highest possible standards we can achieve
  • Reacting in good time when a customer requests help or advice

Machined in our UK factory from solid billet high grade aluminium.
Designed and engineered to meet the most demanding conditions worldwide. 


If you are unsure what gearing your winch has it’s easy to identify by the tooth count on the gears.

  • Hornet – Standard Gearing 15t and 50t, Hornet Overdrive Gearing 22t and 43t
  • Hornet 2 – Standard Gearing 15t and 51t, Hornet 2 Overdrive Gearing 17t and 48t


This winch is part of a range of winches produced by RED Winches Ltd that are designed for high speed and high power. This winch will pull rope onto its drum quickly and with power. If operated without care and attention this winch could easily damage fingers, hands and in some cases eyesight.

The winch is powered by DC voltage, in most cases 12v, but also 24v systems can be used to power the winch. The current draw on this DC voltage can be high so care and attention must be taken when operating the winch that the electrical power to the motors is not exposed to the operator.
The winch should only be operated by a person who has been authorised to do so or has been trained and responsible to operate it safely.



Ensure all fasteners and connections are adequately connected or secured before using the winch
Maintain the equipment in good condition (use an authorised servicing agent if required)
Replace or repair damaged parts.
Use genuine parts only. Unauthorised parts may be dangerous and will invalidate any warranty.
Use a qualified person to lubricate if required and maintain the equipment.
Before use, ensure all parts are clean and free of contamination / dirt.
DO NOT use solvent cleaners to clean this winch

Use the equipment in a suitable work or operational area, keep winching controls clean and tidy and free from contaminating materials, and ensure that there is adequate lighting while setting and operating the winch.

Keep the winch and winch rope clean for best and safest performance.
The maximum line load is 4500kg.
DO NOT exceed this rated capacity.

When operating remove any ill-fitting clothing. Remove ties, watches, rings and other loose jewellery, and contain long hair.
Maintain correct balance and footing, do not over reach. Ensure the floor / ground is not slippery and wear appropriate footwear.
Before using the winch check that there are no overhead or surrounding obstructions.
The speed during operation must be kept steady and constant.

DO NOT generate sudden movements or shock loads.
DO NOT use the winch for a task it is not designed to perform.
DO NOT use the equipment if damaged.
DO NOT exceed the rated capacity of the equipment.
DO NOT use the equipment when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating medication.
DO NOT allow untrained persons to use the equipment unsupervised
DO NOT attempt to transport a load outside JLR designated safe load / unload areas.
DO NOT make any modifications to the equipment

DO NOT operate the winch and handle the synthetic rope without approved
winching gloves and appropriate PSE

Model # HORNET2-12V
Brand Red Winches
Shipping Weight 55.0000kg
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