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The Energy Projector is a Covenant weapon used exclusively by large ships. It fires a thin beam of energized matter which has a very long range and is extremely accurate and destructive, capable of destroying ships effortlessly and glassing planets, systematically rendering them sterile and incapable of sustaining life.
The energy projector was first encountered during the Second Battle of Harvest, where it was used by a Covenant battleship. It was more frequently seen in later years, such as during the Harvest campaign and Operation: TORPEDO. Throughout the course of the Covenant invasion of Reach, the population centres suffered tremendous structural damage due to the Covenant's glassing of the planet. Similarly, several frigates fell prey to the energy projectors during the engagement.
Near the end of the Human-Covenant war, the use of the energy projector became less common compared to the early stages of the war. The Prophet of Regret's assault carrier used one to destroy the Prophet's temple after he had been assassinated by John-117 on Installation 05. In the Battle of Earth, the city of New Mombasa was glassed to uncover the artifact. Later, the city of Voi was glassed by the Fleet of Retribution to stop a Flood infestation.
The weapon fires a thin beam of extremely powerful and energetic particles. It is possible to predict when an energy projector is about to fire as it typically charges the beam before firing, creating a visible maelstrom of energy. The beam has an effective range of over 100,000 kilometers. They resemble pulse lasers but are tinged silver white, which is similar to the scintillation effect that is seen when a Covenant ship's energy shields are hit. The energy projector's beam is seen as only a needle-thin beam that travels at near light speed. The energy projector's long range allows a ship armed with such weapons to 'snipe' targets during ship-to-ship combat. The weapon has been observed to gut UNSC ships from stem to stern, as happened to the frigate UNSC Gettysburg over Reach.
Against UNSC vessels, the weapon is able to pierce dozens of centimeters of Titanium-A armor with comparative ease, rendering any form of physical defense useless. Therefore, a single hit or perforation can potentially disable or destroy vital systems, such as the Magnetic Accelerator Cannon or engines, as seen during the Battle of Earth when a single pulse from an CAS-class assault carrier's dorsal energy projector crippled a Marathon-class cruiser. If an energy projector strikes in a critical area, such as the reactors of a ship, it could destroy the ship completely. The energy projector's beam is also able to take down the shields of a Covenant frigate or destroyer with a single hit.
The beam is functionally similar to the infantry-issued particle beam rifle, albeit on a vastly larger scale. It is also speculated that the beam can be focused to varying degrees. In space, the beam can be focused to a smaller, more concentrated, and thus more powerful beam generally used to decimate enemy fleets from afar. It also seems to drain all or most of the energy in a Covenant ship for a brief period unless the ship is big enough to supply the power without too much of a drain.
When glassing a planet, the beam causes atmospheric and biospheric destruction by exciting the atoms in the air, thus scorching land and air life, and evaporating water with ease, suffocating aquatic life and destabilizing the planet's surface temperature. Therefore, merely firing it through the air would cause biospheric destruction on a planetary scale. In addition, the excitement of atoms could chemically alter the atmosphere or even blow it away.
According to Frederic-104, "Only the big ships have them." Reverence-class cruisers, supercruisers, CAS-class assault carriers, CSO-class supercarriers and CCS-class battlecruisers are known to be equipped with energy projectors. Carriers are armed with one energy projector underneath the bow, one on their dorsal sides, and one near the gravity lift. CCS-class battlecruisers feature one under the bow and one near the gravity lift.
In the Halo 2 level Cairo Station, a Covenant CAS-class assault carrier is seen using it's Energy Projector against the Home fleet during the Battle of Earth. Also, in the level Regret after the player has killed the Prophet of Regret the following cutscene shows a CAS-class assault carrier using it's Energy Projector to destroy the main temple.
In Halo Wars, the Prophet of Regret uses the Cleansing Beam as his leader power. An orbiting vessel "glasses" the target, and has the power to destroy almost anything. The weapon's capabilities can be upgraded to progressively increase power and decrease supply usage at the temple. The upgrades are named Regret's Sentence, Regret's Doom, and Regret's Condemnation, respectively.
To use it, the player must select the Prophet of Regret and press the Y button. The player can then use the left thumbstick to move the beam around the Prophet's field of view. The Cleansing Beam can damage all units, including the player's and allies' forces; however, Regret himself cannot be damaged by the beam. The beam's color is dependent upon the player's team color.
- Interestingly enough, the projector's color is not the same in all games. In Halo 2, it is purple colored, in Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo Wars they are blue, while in Halo: Reach, there are some projectors which are red, and some which are blue, though it may just be an indicator of the intensity of the beam used and the class of ship using it. It may also be simply artistic variation.
- The Energy Projector can be considered a counterpart, albeit vastly more deadly, to the UNSC MAC cannon. Both are the most devastating weapon of their faction. Also, both are the leader ability of their faction leader in Halo Wars - the Prophet of Regret has the Cleansing Beam and Captain Cutter has the MAC Round.
- Like other ship-based weapons, the ship firing the weapon must lower a section of its shields. In this time the ship is vulnerable to a counterattack as with Spartan-B312, who used a mass driver to disable the CCS cruiser that was moving to attack the Pillar of Autumn.