From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
10.0 meters (32.9 ft)
182 metric tons (179 LT; 201 ST)
- "Death From Above"
The AC-220 Gunship, colloquially known as the Vulture, is a heavy gunship manufactured by Ushuaia Armory and fielded by the United Nations Space Command. It is the preferred aerial combat vehicle during prolonged air-and-ground engagements, particularly against heavily fortified enemy strongholds.
The Vulture is the largest combat aerodyne currently fielded by the UNSC. Unlike most smaller UNSC craft, the Vulture is suspended in the air by a series of ducted fans visible near the rear of the aircraft, housing jet engines like the D77-TC Pelican. Due to its much larger mass and cross-section, it is slower than other UNSC aircraft, such as the AV-14 Hornet and the AV-22 Sparrowhawk.
The Vulture requires a large number of highly trained UNSC pilots and gunners to operate servicing a crew of six. This makes them expensive to deploy in terms of personnel (as opposed to the Sparrowhawk and Hornet, which require a single pilot and possibly a copilot). It lacks radiation shielding, preventing it from traveling in space. Despite this, they have some level of spaceflight capability, and are typically deployed directly from an orbiting warship to the ground.
The Vulture is intended to act as a "flying tank", and boasts an according level of heavy weaponry. These include two twin medium-GAU-23/AW/Linkless Feed Autocannons, two top-mounted Argent V missile launchers and two pods of four internally-reloaded A-74 Sylver Vertical Missile Launchers, each boasting a single Anvil-IV air-to-surface missile or Phoenix tactical missile. The combined missile payload are specifically tailored to unleash a unified barrage on a given target, allowing it to overwhelm heavy armor and shielding.
The Vulture's core attributes of design can be traced back to the older AC-47, AC-119, AC-130, and AC-163 gunships. The Vulture's flying tank-like design was conceived in 2498 to curtail the spreading Insurrection in the Outer Colonies. By 2545, few Vultures remained in service against the Covenant due to irreplaceable combat losses. By 2557, the Materials Group was considering the possibility of restarting production of the Vulture with the benefit of incorporating new technologies and applying improved materials. During the Second Ark Conflict, AI Isabel's upgrades and logistical expertise was able to dramatically simplify Vulture production and maintenance.
The AC-220 Vulture was used during both the Insurrection and Human-Covenant War. In 2531 the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire used several Vultures during the Battle of Trove against the Covenant, Flood and Sentinels. Following the Human-Covenant War, few Vulture gunships remained in service with the United Nations Space Command armed forces due to irreplaceable combat losses by 2545. By April 2553, the Insurrectionists on Venezia had acquired several Vultures and hid them in the old sandstone quarry next to Mount Longdon Road for use by the Venezian Militia. On March 11, 2558 several AC-220 Vultures belonging to the Spirit of Fire, alongside multiple AV-22 Sparrowhawks, attacked the UNSC Infinity when the Pilgrims' Pride was pulled into the Infinity's docking bay.
In 2559, the Spirit of Fire continued to employ Vulture gunships in the Second Ark Conflict. After receiving coordinates for a supposed Keepers of the One Freedom and Covenant loyalist rendezvous point, three Vultures were dispatched from the Spirit of Fire. The Vultures engaged ten landed Seraphs, with nine being destroyed before they could escape. However, it was quickly discovered that the Seraphs were not Covenant Seraphs, but rather Banished Seraphs. Castor had simply been using the UNSC to get rid of some of his pursuers.
In-game, the Vulture is considered an "über unit", and is constructed at the airpad, and requires 6, 900, and a tech level of 4. It can be upgraded with the Mega Barrage upgrade, potentially doubling its barrages' power; this upgrade is purchased at the air pad and costs 800 resource points and requires a minimum tech level of 4. For balance, the Vulture is one of only two vehicle units in Halo Wars that cannot be commandeered by Spartans, the other being the Covenant Scarab. The Vulture is the only air unit that is not immobilized by a single Vampire's stasis drain, though it is still damaged and can be immobilized by multiple synchronous drains.
The Vulture is a slow unit which can take massive amounts of damage before destruction. It is able to fight against both air and ground units due to its weapon configuration: Argent V missile pods are used against enemy aircraft, while GAU-23 autocannons are designed for engaging ground targets. It can use its A-74 missile launcher to launch several Anvil-IV air-to-surface missiles and deliver massive damage to slow and/or static units. The Vulture's main drawbacks are its cost and the large amount of time it takes to build one; it is also vulnerable to fast counter-attacks and takes a great deal of time to repair. The Vulture should be reserved for buildings and ground units for the greatest effect. Although Vultures possess adequate anti-aircraft ordnance, they should be escorted by M9 Wolverines to lessen the threat of aerial attacks.
Halo Wars 2
The Vulture can be built at the Airpad by all UNSC leaders. Unlike its Halo Wars counterpart, the Vultures in Halo Wars 2 can be hijacked by Spartans, as the G81 Condor is now the UNSC's only Super Unit. Its barrage has been replaced with a "Phoenix missile", a large, powerful thermobaric warhead that does massive damage. It is effective against vehicles, aircraft, and structures, while only being moderately effective against infantry. In Blitz, Vultures costs 140 energy.
Ground-attack gunship with tactical missile payload.
AC-220 Vulture gunships engage ground vehicles with twin medium autocannons, air vehicles with anti-air missile pods, and enemy bases and staging areas with Phoenix tactical missiles.
The Vulture is the largest combat aerodyne in UNSC service and is essentially a flying tank. The size and cost of deploying such a unit limits its use by the Spirit of Fire, though Isabel's upgrades and logistical expertise has dramatically simplified Vulture production and maintenance.
|Browse more images in this article's gallery page.|
- The Vulture is the only UNSC unit in Halo Wars that does not come out of the firebase upon deployment. Instead, it seems to descend from the UNSC Spirit of Fire, decelerating just before touching the ground.
- The generic in-game Vulture pilot in Halo Wars is voiced by Anthony Madsen in Halo 4's Spartan Ops. , who later voiced
Concept art of the Vulture for Halo Wars.
Vulture firing a missile barrage at a Deutoros-pattern Scarab.
Concept art of the Vulture's Phoenix missile for Halo Wars 2.
A Vulture on Harvest.
A Vulture on the cover of Halo: Escalation Issue 4.
A toy Vulture from MEGA Brands.
A Vulture in the Halo Wars 2 Open Beta.
External Render of the Vulture from Halo Wars 2.
List of appearances
- Halo Wars (First appearance)
- Halo: Mortal Dictata (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Escalation
- Halo Mythos
- Halo Wars 2
- Halo: Point of Light (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Divine Wind
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 202
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 155
- Official Halo Wars Community Site, Vulture (Retrieved on Mar 22, 2018) [local archive] [external archive]
- Halo Waypoint, AC-220 Vulture gunship (Retrieved on Mar 25, 2011) [local archive] [external archive]
- Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Vulture
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 250
- Halo Wars, Vulture in-game unit
- Halo Wars: Official Strategy Guide, page 46
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Feet First (Retrieved on Feb 11, 2019) [archive]
- Halo: Mortal Dictata, chapter 4
- Halo: Escalation, issue 4
- Halo Wars 2, Vulture in-game unit
- Halo: Divine Wind, chapter 11