- “Look at the size of that thing!”— Edward Buck after an Assault Carrier arrives over New Mombasa.
These ships possess an extensive hangar bay, capable of transporting large numbers of Seraph fighters, Phantom dropships, boarding craft, and large fleets of Ghosts and Wraiths, along with a number of massive Scarab Walkers, and - later - the frigates UNSC Forward Unto Dawn and UNSC Aegis Fate would dock inside the vessel's launch bay, a testament to the vastness of these ships.
Assault Carriers are also used as Flagships, leading Covenant Fleets into battle. Though designed for planetary combat, they also excel at ship-to-ship combat, possessing multiple point-defense pulse laser turrets, Plasma Torpedo launchers and at least two energy projectors.
Assault Carriers are much larger than CCS-class battlecruisers, Covenant supercruisers, DDS-class carriers and most other Covenant ships; they are more rare and more heavily armed than either of them. They are armed with at least two Energy projectors, as well as plasma torpedo launchers and pulse-lasers. They also possess gravity lifts, used for ferrying supplies, personnel, and vehicles from the ship and to any solid surface. From their name, and actions in Halo 2, it would appear that an Assault Carrier is designed to fight through an enemy world's defenses and head right into the planet's atmosphere and drop off its troops.
Two such crafts led the Fleet of Sacred Consecration to Earth, where they engaged the UNSC Home Fleet in orbit above Africa. Solemn Penance, carrying the Prophet himself, managed to penetrate Earth's orbital defenses. The second attempted to follow, but was subsequently destroyed by John-117.
Solemn Penance fled to slipspace, as UNSC forces were likely to recapture the city of New Mombasa and board the ship, with UNSC In Amber Clad following close behind in its slipspace wake, leading Human Forces to Installation 05.
Another Assault Carrier was later repossessed by Rtas 'Vadum and the Sangheili, and became the flagship of the Fleet of Retribution, leading it to Earth in pursuit of the Flood-infested Indulgence of Conviction, arriving in time to glass the infected area of the planet. Shadow of Intent and its escorting Cruisers joined forces with the remnants of the UNSC Navy to launch a joint attack on the Covenant at the Ark, destroying their Fleet and providing a distraction while ground forces engaged the Loyalists that had landed. It later evacuated the UNSC and Sangheili personnel and returned to Earth for a short time before returning to Sanghelios.
Because these enormous vessels are often employed as capital ships, it is necessary for them to be heavily armed. Assault Carriers possess energy projectors which are powerful enough to cut through UNSC capital ships on its ventral and dorsal surfaces. They also possess multiple pulse-laser turrets used for intercepting enemy missiles and fighters, and plasma torpedoes for engaging in ship-to-ship combat and assaulting planetary defenses.
Assault Carriers are also equipped with at least one gravity lift, capable of dispatching troops, personnel, vehicles and equipment to the surface of a planet rather quickly. They also possess a large main hangar, capable of carrying multiple Seraphs and Banshee fighter crafts, Phantom dropships and boarding crafts, or a UNSC Frigate. In addition, Assault Carriers possess the ability to launch Drop Pods, tactically delivering Sangheili warriors into areas without resorting to bulky and obvious dropships. These ships also carry the dreaded Scarab walkers in their holds for quick deployment. Thanks to these innovations, a single Assault Carrier can easily launch large-scale invasions quickly and effectively.
Assault Carriers, like the vast majority of other Covenant ships, are characterized by their bulbous, whale-like front, sleek silhouette and pale white/blue hull. However, they also tend to be characterized by their unique "hooked" bow section that would (theoretically) be a massive weakness as the ship could be blown in half comparatively easily, given its shields were down. Rather than possessing multiple smaller hangar bays, like smaller cruisers, Assault Carriers use a single, gargantuan hangar bay for storage of fighters, dropships, boarding craft and small capital ships, at least 500 meters long, 320 meters wide and 120 meters high. In Halo 3, however, there is a second hangar bay visible, near the stern of the Assault Carrier, above the main engines. For propulsion, Assault Carriers rely on large deuterium-tritium fusion reactors, housed in cavernous chambers, which power the ship's vital systems, as well as the three aft-mounted plasma drives that propel the ship, capable of operating in a vacuum or in an atmospheric environment. They also employ non-reactive gravity drives for standard maneuvering and hovering above the surface of a planet, resisting its gravity.
The Assault Carrier is also fitted with Modular Dispersal Technology, giving it the ability to completely detach sections of its outer hull as well as whole corridors, as seen during the Battle of the Unnamed Star System. They can also separate into two distinct sections which leaves the rear section (with the main engines) behind and allows the fore-section to move away with previously hidden engines, the fore section (and likely the rear) are still slipspace capable. Unlike its unorthodox means of use by the Fleet Master in an attempt to disperse the advancing Spartan forces, the dispersal feature is actually intended to be used in order to detach sections of the Carrier that sustained extensive damage in order to increase the chances of saving what is left of the ship and its crew for future use.
The frigates UNSC Forward Unto Dawn and UNSC Aegis Fate were small enough to fit inside Shadow of Intent's Hangar together. Therefore, it would be plausible that the Assault Carrier could easily carry small Covenant ships, such as a CRS-class light cruiser or several SDV-class heavy corvette, or even DDS-class carriers.
Known Assault CarriersEdit
- Breath of Annihilation
- Clarity of Faith
- Resplendent Fervor (Flagship of the Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence)
- Shadow of Intent (Flagship of the Fleet of Retribution)
- Solemn Penance (Flagship of the Fleet of Sacred Consecration and the High Prophet of Regret)
- Song of Retribution (Flagship of Jul 'Mdama)
- An early draft of Halo 2 was intended to feature a level called Covenant Ship, in which John-117 would board an assault carrier and destroy it from within. This level was cut from the final game due to time constraints. To replace the level, Bungie added the antimatter charge to the level Cario Station in order to find a way to destroy the carrier without the level.
- In the modern US Navy, the term "Assault Carrier" refers to the Amphibious Assault Ship, which is used to transport troops over water and offload them via hovercraft or helicopter.
- In Halo 2, Regret's carrier has visible structures on the surface above the engines. However, in Halo 3: ODST, these structures are not visible, but are rather obscured or replaced by what seems to be a second hangar bay.
- Interestingly, Assault Carriers are identical to the much larger Supercarriers in terms of appearance, but not in size.
- When Edward Buck says "Look at the size of that thing!" in reference to one of these leviathan Covenant craft, it may be a reference to the first Star Wars film, where a pilot exclaims the same utterance upon witnessing the vast size of the Death Star, a vast Imperial superweapon.
- Halo 2 (First appearance)
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Reach
- Halo 4
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Uprising
- Halo Wars: Genesis
- Halo Legends
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Halo: Escalation
- ↑ HBO image that demonstrates the size and scale of starships in the Halo Universe
- ↑ Halo Encyclopedia, page 264
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 28
- ↑ Halo Waypoint - Universe - Shadow of Intent
- ↑ Halo Waypoint - Catalog Interaction - Page 14
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Halo 3, level Floodgate
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Halo 2, level Cairo Station
- ↑ Halo 3: ODST, level Coastal Highway
- ↑ Halo 3, level The Covenant
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Halo 3, level The Ark
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Halo 2, level Metropolis
- ↑ Halo 3: ODST, level Uplift Reserve
- ↑ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page ??
- ↑ Halo 3 Legendary Edition developer commentary