This article is about the Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 version of the Plasma Cannon. For the Halo 2 version, see Type-42 Directed Energy Support Weapon.
The Type-52 Directed Energy Support Weapon, otherwise known as the Plasma Cannon, is a manned automatic plasma turret used by the Covenant. It was rarely encountered prior to 2552 and is likely to be a universal replacement for the older Type-42 Directed Energy Support Weapon.
The Type-52 Directed Energy Support Weapon sports what appears to be shields or targeting displays on its top surface. These could also be heat dissipation vanes; this is supported by the fact that the weapon cannot overheat even if the entire power supply is emptied, non-stop. Additionally, heat/excess plasma appears to be vented by four apertures on the weapon's sides during rapid fire; this probably assists the cooling process.
Used as a heavy support weapons in ground based combat, it provides a rapid-fire stream of powerful plasma rounds to suppress enemy movements and offensive actions. The cannon is basically a mobile support weapon and as such offers no protection for the operator. The weapon is typically operated by a Unggoy Heavy as a fixed weapon emplacement on a tripod, although it is also a favorite weapon for Jiralhanae War Chieftains who are strong enough to fire the weapon on the move. The gunner is completely exposed to enemy fire, so a well-covered emplacement position is desirable for prolonged use, especially if under fire. This separates it from the Shade and Shielded Plasma Cannon, as both of these offer some measure of protection for their operator but are, however, not man-portable.
It is carried and operated in a similar fashion to the M247 GPMG made by the UNSC, with the obvious difference being that the M247 has a much higher muzzle velocity when compared with the plasma cannon. It has an approximately sixty-five degree turn radius and fifty degree pitch. It fires plasma bolts similar to those of the Covenant Plasma Rifle, and fires around three hundred rounds per minute. A battery or plasma core is built into the tripod which allows the gun to fire indefinitely. When removed from the tripods power supply, the gun can only use the two hundred units of power (equal to two hundred shots) that the gun itself contains.
Since the operator is completely exposed, it is logical to kill the gunner and not attempt to destroy the gun itself. The gunners are usually positioned low to the ground and as such can be difficult targets to hit. It is advised to attempt this from cover, since the sheer volume of fire the cannon can lay down is not to be underestimated. Once the operator is down, a well placed grenade or some other explosive should be used to put the cannon out of action permanently (other Unggoy will sometimes man the turret if the original gunner is killed). Plasma Cannons are often mounted on Deployable Lookout Towers for a superior vantage point. Facing them in such situations, distance and/or firepower is key, and rushing such emplacements is not recommended on higher difficulties.
- Jiralhanae War Chieftains and the Arbiter are able to melee with this weapon.
- In the Halo: Reach Beta's game stats, the Type-52 DESW was misidentified as the Type-42 DESW. This was fixed in the final game.
- In Halo: Reach, Sangheili are seen carrying this weapon, but when thrown in the air by a rocket or other explosives, they will put their arms at their sides and "glide" through the air. This is because they do not have the animation when jumping with the turret, and is an oversight by Bungie.
- In Halo: Reach, even though the maximum ammo capacity for the plasma turret when detached is 200, when you kill a Sangheili general or Jiralhanae chieftain in campaign or firefight holding the turret and pick it up, you may find it has over 200 rounds, usually around 250, and rarely, even over 300.
- You can receive credit for destroying them in Halo: Reach's post game carnage stats but only if they are knocked off their tripod while they are being manned.