From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
Archers are relatively cheap anti-ship missiles, and considered highly-adaptable and long-ranged. They are used as generalist missiles for all purposes, and continued to see use as extremely capable armaments throughout the Insurrection, Human-Covenant War and Post-Covenant War conflicts.
Warships usually carry large numbers of Archer missiles to complement their Magnetic Accelerator Cannons. While individual Archers are vulnerable to point-defense weapons and have limited destructive potential, their sheer numbers make up for their lack of individual effectiveness. Covenant shield technology can withstand large numbers of Archers, though unprotected ships can be destroyed by Archer missile strikes to the hull and superstructure.
The unidentified UNSC heavy destroyer classification is equipped with Archer missiles of an unknown model.
The M42 Archer was employed as early as the mid-25th century, and was employed on vessels of the CMA Navy alongside the Ares missiles. Several CMA warships of the era including the gargantuan Punic-class supercarrier, Mako-class corvette and the UNSC's S-14 Baselard strike fighter equipped the M42 Archer, with the CMA predominantly stocking them alongside the Ares missile series for its warships.
The dawn of the 26th century brought more usage for the M42, with the Point Blank-class prowler employing it. Following the end of the Human-Covenant War, the M42 gained prominence in the fleets of the rebuilding UNSC Navy. The Strident-class heavy frigate and Poseidon-class light carrier are both armed with two M42 pods each. However, its most notable postwar usage would come in the form of a mass stocking on the Punic's spiritual successor, the Infinity-class supercarrier.
M58 Archers are considered long-ranged anti-ship missiles, and can be fitted with various warhead options. As a mainstay munition in the fleet, the M52 is mounted on the majority of warships designed for UNSC usage, starting in the late 25th century.
The number of individual devices per pod varies: the refit Halcyon-class light cruiser Pillar of Autumn was armed with twenty-four M58 Archers per each of its thirty-two pods as part of its refit for Operation: RED FLAG, a notable increase from the standard Halcyon loadout of twenty. while the Paris-class heavy frigate UNSC Commonwealth, mounted thirty missiles in each pod instead.
Prior to the Human-Covenant War, the UNSC found the missiles to be effective against Insurrectionist combatant ships. with a single Archer missile considered capable of crippling all but the largest of UNSC ships. Against the Covenant, however, they realized that the defensive measures employed by the enemy ships such as energy shields and point defense lasers suddenly rendered Archer missiles near-obsolete - lasers were able to pick off up to half of the missiles launched, and those that hit were rarely enough to penetrate the shields. At least one Covenant ship class, the Makar-pattern light corvette, possesses jamming measures that interfere with the guidance systems. Tactics were developed to counter this, using the more devastating but slower-firing Magnetic Accelerator Cannons to break through the shields, rendering the hulls vulnerable, but on the whole Archers proved to be ineffective weapons against the Covenant. Smaller ships, such as boarding craft or fighters, are much easier targets, and Archers may be used in support of ground forces, launched from orbit to strike a ground-based target.
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