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As the name reveals, they are primarily designed to penetrate tanks and other vehicular armor, such as that on Warthogs. The 102mm HEAT charges are almost as large as the 105-120mm shells that the 21st century tanks used to fire. When fired from the M19 rocket launcher, the charge will lock on the target and follow it until it is destroyed or out of sight. Instead, when fired from the M41 SSR MAV/AW rocket launcher, it seems to travel slower and it will not arc or lock on the target.
The HEAT 102mm charge has the ability to destroy the following:
- Scorpion/Wraith tank in two direct hits.
- Banshee Ground Support Aircraft/Hornet in one direct hit.
- Spartan in Mjolnir armor with one direct hit or if the target is within a two-foot blast radius.
- Covenant Infantry, of any caste or rank, Hunter included with one direct hit. It will take two hits from blast radius damage to kill a Hunter.
- Ghost/Chopper/Mongoose will die in one direct hit.
- Warthog/Spectre/Brute Prowler in 1 to 2 hits depending on hit location.
- HEAT missiles were first developed in World War II for anti-tank usage by the Allied forces. They were used in their M9 Bazookas against Axis tanks.
- It can be sniped out of the air.
- If timed correctly, a Gravity Hammer, explosion, or even a sniper rifle or battle rifle can cause it to spin out of control, and eventually explode. This method can also cause the rocket to flip backward at the person who fired it. If done right, and if the explosion is placed correctly, the missile could potentially kill the player who launched it. (Halo 3 only).
- In Halo 3, the rocket has approximately the same speed as it did during Halo: Combat Evolved, while in Halo 2 it is slightly faster.
- Ammo casings for these rockets do not seem to appear in Halo: Reach or Halo 4.