|This article, UNSC Hunters Arrow, was written by Specops306. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
One of the Office of Naval Intelligence’s many Prowler-class stealth reconnaissance/intelligence spacecraft, the Hunters Arrow has seen a heavy number of battles since its relatively recent commission. Under Commander Keith Landers, the Hunters Arrow has fought at the Battle of Delta Pavonis and at OPERATION: HOT GATES.
Commissioned in 2550 at the Reyes-McLees Naval Shipyards over Mars, the Hunters Arrow was one of thirteen ships built as one of the IX-991 variants of the “standard” Office of Naval Intelligence Prowlers. Upgrades to the stealth systems, chemical lasers, slipspace drive and real-space propulsion systems make it a superior craft to its predecessors, but its relative scarcity means that few of these were ever fielded. The thirteen-ship batch was cancelled soon afterwards, and only eight made it into frontline service, with the other seven being refit into conventional Prowlers. The Hunters Arrow had her first shakedown in the nearby Alpha Centauri, put through her paces by the UNSC frigates Basra, Geronimo and Twilight Hour, hunted for fourteen hours by in a naval exercise simulating operations against Covenant warships. The Hunters Arrow performed superbly, and was attached to 13th Fleet, under Admiral Jerome Grumman. The Hunter’s Arrow was a part of the strike group deployed to respond to the Covenant invasion of the Delta Pavonis colony. Managing to establish a presence in the system in the first time that a Prowler has ever engaged a Covenant warship in battle and survived, the Hunters Arrow provided support for the main fleet against a counter-counter attack, laying a HORNET nuclear mine in high orbit over the colony. The Hunters Arrow would provide orbital intelligence to ground forces, as well, providing the 427th Marine Regiment and the 506th ODST Battalion with topographical maps of the region, infrared and thermal imaging scans of Covenant-inhabited zones, and tactical updates for combat progress and movement. Orbital bombardment of enemy formations with its lasers assisted in Marine progress, and the capture of an intact Covenant base. The Hunters Arrow’s superior capabilities and stunning progress during the Battle of Delta Pavonis saw it join the preparations for OPERATION: HOT GATES, an intricate trap laid at Alpha Canis Minoris b, Minorca. It and the other seven IX-991 class Prowlers laid down the HORNET minefields at the L2 and L3 Lagrange points, and engaged in electronic warfare operations against the Covenant, preventing communications and coordination, allowing them to be destroyed by Battle group Ark Royal. The Hunters Arrow would participate in a number of support operations for ground forces, providing thermal and infrared scans of dense jungle areas occupied by the Covenant and assisting the coordination process, tracking all friendly and hostile ground units and providing limited anti-air support. They would also plant the twin NOVA Bombs in the Arius Asteroid Belt, which would hammer the Covenant’s second attempt. At the end of the campaign, with the loss of more than thirty Covenant warships and only six UNSC craft, the Hunters Arrow remained behind, risking destruction from a third Covenant assault force to destroy them and the planet with a NOVA bomb. At Earth, the Hunters Arrow was incorporated into the UNSC Home Fleet for Earth’s defence. In the opening hours of the battle, the Hunters Arrow was forced to finish taking aboard supplies and personnel from the UNSC Athens as it prepared to join the battle, scouting out the Covenant warship’s status and harassing their sensors and communications channels. It, and the UNSC Aeneas, were within the capture radius of the Covenant Assault Carrier Bringer of Holy Light as it made a desperate slipspace jump – their current whereabouts are unknown.
As a Prowler of the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Hunters Arrow is designed to optimise its stealth capabilities. As such, many of its other features lag far behind the capabilities of other ship designs. Its real-space speed is significantly slower than even the older Mako-Class Corvettes, and it is neither as manoeuvrable nor as well armed. It is armed with three chemical lasers, recent innovations developed prior to the introduction of innovations based on study of Covenant technology, but are functional nonetheless. What it excels at, though, is electronic warfare. Its stealth systems are multilayered. Radiation and heat emissions are captured by diverting them into heat sinks pockmarked throughout the inner hull, preventing their detecting by enemy sensor equipment, and its outer hull is covered in a layer of photo-reactive panels, allowing the Prowler to elude visual detection. Movement while stealth features are active is facilitated by crude but functional chemical rockets, rather than its conventional Hall Effect thrusters, to prevent ion emissions. These features are not perfect – the Prowlers heat dumps can only accumulate so much of its emissions before the radiation and temperature levels reach unsafe levels for the craft’s internal crew. Likewise, the optical illusion of invisibility can be detected by the characteristic warping of light or the lack of it. But they allow the Prowler to accomplish its tasks. The Hunters Arrow was primarily designed with electronic intelligence gathering operations in mind, with its LIDAR and MASER sensors able to scan orbital regions for debris and Covenant Intel Drones. Its infrared and thermal imaging gear enables it to scan occupied regions of a planet, allowing ground forces to pinpoint, locate and destroy even hidden Covenant forces. Its internal payload allows it to carry fourteen HORNET or twenty four MORAY space mines, able to seed areas of space with mines even during combat conditions, and its Electronic Warfare gear is able to confuse enemy sensors and provide false-positive “dummy” targets, and harass their communications channels with false orders, static, or transmit computer viruses. Its propulsion system is based on 21st Century Hall Effect Thrusters, using an electrical field to accelerate a propellant. The design traps electrons in a magnetic field and then uses the electrons to ionize the propellant, efficiently accelerating the ions to produce thrust, and neutralising the ions in the plume. The Hunters Arrow’s propulsion system is capable of using a wide variety of materials as propellant but normally employs hydrogen.
One of eight in-service IX-991 class Prowlers, the Hunters Arrow features a number of improvements over the standard-production Prowler series. Its Hall Effect Thrusters are more efficient, allowing far quicker acceleration rates. Upgrades to its chemical laser turrets allow repeated firing at a higher rate, using superconductive materials for durability and additional heat sinks in the hull to dump the excess heat produced. Its active camouflage systems make use of improvements upon the original photo-reactive panels, increasing the extent to which it can remain invisible, allowing better camouflage for longer durations. Its hull makes use of a diffractive/refractive coating, increasing the level of protection the Prowler has against directed energy weapons, and a hardened reinforced hull to resist the stresses caused by space debris and other free-floating natural or artificial objects, and to prevent the attachment of Covenant Intel Drones. Though all of these upgrades are improvements upon the basic design, the enhanced capabilities and performance of the design warranted reclassification to the IX-991 designation. Though the original line was cancelled after eight were constructed, the Fleet Command is considering beginning production of the line again after evaluating the Hunters Arrow’s exceptional performance.
- Commander Keith Landers (former executive officer, current commanding officer)
- Lieutenant Commander Michael Jones (current executive officer, Tactical Officer)
- Lieutenant Ziva Tavor (Weapons Officer)
- Lieutenant James Colt (Navigational Officer)
- Lieutenant Andre Famas (Sensor Officer)
- Lieutenant Amanda Dalby (Communications Officer)
- Chief Petty Officer Leroy Jacobs(Engineering Officer)
- "Prowlers are meant to be Top-Secret, with even the families of their crew-members unaware their loved ones are serving aboard the most advanced ships in the UNSC Navy. So its rare to find one so well known among the Navy, even if it is only the stuff of legends."
- "I don't see why we don't just build a thousand Prowlers - they have stealth, so they can sneak up on the enemy, and then blast them to dust with lasers!"
- "Sure, Prowlers are good ships, and have won us more than one victory against the COvenant. But you've got to consider the economic factors too - for the same cost and time to build a single Prowler, the UNSC could have built two Destroyers, or four Frigates. And they're hard to replace."
- "The Hunters Arrow? My brother says he knows a Helljumper who was aboard it once, before he got dropped into Minorca's atmosphere. And the CO says he knows the Captain, some kiwi named Landers. I'm not convinced it isn't just a publicity stunt by Section II - like the Spartans! Nobody I know thinks they exist!"