|This article, AV-309 Halberd, was written by Specops306. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Although only produced in limited numbers, the unqualified success of the AV-306 Sarissa Attack Gyrodyne took even its designers surprise, and although most were destroyed during the desperate defence of Earth, the recovering FLEETCOM deemed the design worthy of building upon. The Halberd is the Sarissa's successor, and though built for the same purpose and with most of the design features intact, there were a number of radical improvements, a result of the technological exchange that came after the UNSC-Sangheili Alliance.
Project EXCALIBUR had few successes, but those that were accepted into service became some of the most effective weapons the war produced. The Sarissa Gunship was one of these, participating in the Minorca and Earth theatres of combat. The concept of a stealth gyrodyne gunship is not a new one, but at the time the Sarissa was the most effective such craft ever deployed, especially against the Covenant. The destruction of so many during the First and Second Battles of Earth was a significant blow to the UNSC Air Force, and though they allowed UNSC resistance to linger on a few weeks longer, too few remained after the war to be of any real effect. After the withdrawal of the Covenant through the Ark Portal, the death of Truth, and the UNSC-Sangheili peace treaty, a period of technological exchange took place. Although the most advanced technologies, such as active camouflage and anti-gravity, were kept a closely guarded advantage by the Sangheili, others were freely given, allowing many improvements on design flaws inherent in UNSC craft. In particular, the metamaterials used in the Sarissa were abandoned completely in favour of a newly developed replacement, created using advancements gained from former Covenant technology. Other design features were altered further - the Halberd also mounts two jet thrusters to the sides, allowing improved VTOL, and extending its range and loiter time considerably. The end product was a gunship more effective than the Sarissa was, that was introduced into limited frontline service in 2554, seeing action during the joint UNSC-Sangheili assault on the Brute colony of Unmoving Virtue, along with the last of the Sarissa gunships. Its successful deployment also served as combat testing, and even the Sangheili reported favourable opinions on its performance, spurring the design of the Revenant-class Gunship.
The advanced technologies that became available to the UNSC allowed the Halberd to be developed rapidly, and many flaws in the design of the Sarissa to be corrected. Rather than a pure gyrodynel, the Halberd also mounts two pivoting jet thrusters to the sides of the craft, improving its VTOL capacity and loiter time. The rotors themselves are recessed into the hull, reducing their radar cross-section, and improving their efficiency.
Most of these were minor improvements, affecting the craft's role very little. The most important change in design was the use of the XDD44 Stealth Metamaterial, developed by Bellum Aerospace Industries, the developers of the design. One of many technological acquisitions made by humanity, either from studying Forereunner artefacts, or from former Covenant technology from the Sangheili. While more effective at reducing the detectability of the Halberds, it does not rely upon angular sensor-deflecting hukll design, and is thus more aerodynamic - further improving its capability.
- "OH MY GOD! I flew a Sarissa back on Minorca, and now I get this baby? I must have some serious good karma built up!"
- "You'd think the Elites would let us fit their active camouflage, but that's one system they refuse to share. I guess I can't blame them for that - and we manage to make do ourselves."
- "I witnessed the human's assault on the Vratheka Shipyards - their aircraft were almost invisible, and struck from nowhere. The Jiralhanae were too confused to do anything - allowing us slaves to rise up. Afterwards, I got to see an inactive version - and it was impressive as I had imagined it to be!"