Stealth infiltration and exfiltration, electronic intelligence, mine laying
|Chronological and affiliation|
Human-Covenant War, post-war era
The prowler is a variety of stealth-capable corvettes within the UNSC Navy. Most prowlers are crewed by Office of Naval Intelligence personnel serving under the Prowler Corps, with only a few ships operated by FLEETCOM.
Although most prowlers are classified as corvettes, the term can be used to refer to a stealth ship of any size; the stealth cruiser Point of No Return was noted as being the largest prowler-class vessel ever built.
Prowlers are used to gather electronic intelligence. Their primary role is to stay hidden while safely gathering such intelligence, avoiding direct combat due to its light weapons and armor. Because of their tactical value and potential to change the outcome of any given combat situation, every UNSC battle group has at least one prowler assigned to its ranks. The prowler's only combat role, besides active combat monitoring and recording, is discreetly laying cloaked fields of HORNET nuclear mines in orbital regions. Prowlers must have the capability to hide even within their own fleet to avoid being tracked in the event a UNSC ship fell into enemy hands.
A prowler's stealth systems mask the ship from both visual and sensor detection. The outer hull is coated with stealth ablative coating, which hides the ship's radar signature and doubles as active camouflage. This camouflage is maintained by a system known as the texture buffer. Engine emissions are hidden via systems known as ablative baffles and engine dampers, which enable the prowler to appear to sensors the same temperature as the surrounding space, thus avoiding detection by infrared-range sensors.
A prowler is able to stay in stealth mode for days or weeks. However, past fifteen minutes in a combat theater, detection by Covenant sensors is noted to grow at a geometric rate. There is also a tradeoff between speed and stealth, and prowler commanders are forced to walk a fine balance when optimizing their stealth systems and engine power.
The active camouflage systems of Covenant War-era prowlers were crude in comparison to Covenant active camouflage. For example, the UNSC Wink of an Eye's active camouflage systems were fairly unstable, making the ship waver to and from visibility uncontrollably especially when exposed to rapidly changing backgrounds, such as the clouds of a gas giant. However, over the course of the war, research into Covenant technology allowed the UNSC to develop more effective forms of cloaking, namely a form of camouflage field which surrounds the ship similar to Covenant active camouflage.
Prowlers are equipped with a wide variety of sensor equipment and electronic warfare devices, many of them mounted in a sensor array located in the craft's nose. The ships possess an X-ELF radar system, a mass spectrometer, lidar, as well as EMP dampers which isolate the ship's electronics in the event of electromagnetic pulse strikes. The post-war prowler UNSC Port Stanley was upgraded with a high-fidelity real-time holographic mapping suite which enables the generation of highly accurate images of a given area when working in concert with the prowler's subsidiary drones and other sensors.
A prowler's primary offensive armament is an array of HORNET nuclear mines with vacuum-enhanced loads and a dedicated chamber to cool them down to the temperature of the vacuum of space. However, it is impossible to maintain stealth when exiting slipspace with nuclear weapons onboard, as they emit a detectable Cherenkov radiation flare upon transmission from slipspace to normal space. As a result, prowlers are forced to jettison their nuclear mines into slipspace if a cloaked exit is necessary.
Known prowler classes
- Eclipse-class prowler
- Razor-class prowler
- Sahara-class heavy prowler
- Winter-class prowler
- Stealth cruiser
Red Horse navigates Installation 04's debris field
Red Horse releases a Pelican dropship from her ventral launch bay
List of appearances
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: The Cole Protocol
- Halo Wars: Genesis
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Fall of Reach
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo 4
- Halo: Initiation
- Halo: Escalation
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
- ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 281
- ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 162
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 43
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 329
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 318
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 186
- ^ Halo: Glasslands
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 291
- ^ a b Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, pages 187, 43
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 288
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 289
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 293
- ^ Halo: Evolutions, "The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole", page 477
- ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 190
- ^ Spartan Ops, Catherine
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 184
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 290
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 185
- ^ a b Halo: Mortal Dictata, pages 290-291
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 328
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 376
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 325-326, 329
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 50
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 320