But even among this collection of steadfast soldiers there were a select few with a bond deeper than the others could ever begin to imagine, as these unique IIIs were a secret even to their peers.
The Headhunter special operations program was a classified program conducted by the Office of Naval Intelligence, intended to separate the most elite SPARTAN-III and later SPARTAN-IV candidates and use them in classified special operations. Candidates would be placed in binary or lone wolf teams and be sent far behind enemy lines on near suicide mission in hopes that their efforts would greatly impact the enemy.
The Original headhunters program was comprised of SPARTAN-IIIs who had survived rigorous training secessions and interview to see who they could best be paired with. These SPARTAN-IIIs would then perform missions far behind enemy lines and would likely die in combat. At the height of the program there was a maximum contingent of six squads - six teams with a total of seventeen soldiers rotating in to fill gaps when one or both members of a team were lost.
The Program underwent various changes after the war. With the creation of the SPARTAN-IVs ONI created a very select list of SPARTAN-III and SPARTAN-IV operatives who could be called upon when they are needed.
During the War The Headhunters wore a more advanced version of SPI armor than typical SPARTAN-IIIs, their version included motion sensors, energy shielding, VISR technology, and a prototype Active camouflage module. The active camouflage system can only be sustained for three to five minutes and diverted power from other systems while it recharges. This active camouflage system may not have used panels like normal SPI.
After the creation of the SPARTAN branch all Headhunters were given MJOLNIR GEN2 armor. This armor was upgraded to include technology from their old armor including VISR and a built-in active camouflage module.
- The concept of the Headhunters is quite similar to that of the SPARTAN-II Program's Gray Team. Both groups are separated from their fellow SPARTANs and are sent far behind enemy lines for special covert operations. However, while the SPARTAN-IIs were aware of Gray Team, the Headhunters were secret even to their peers.