The B-65 Suborbital Long-Range Bomber, commonly known as the Shortsword, is an atmospheric strategic bomber produced by Misriah Armory. It is fielded by UNSC Air Force reserve units and was formerly operated by the Navy.
The Shortsword is similar in design to Misriah Armory's GA-TL1 Longsword interceptor, though its airframe is less angular. The bomber features elongated primary wings as well as smaller winglets attached to a large boom apparatus at the rear of the fuselage. A large air intake is mounted on the dorsal surface of each wing; pronged structures, possibly ailerons, are located at the rear tip of each wing. The B-65 is not designed for space combat but rather to provide suborbital air support. Despite this, it is capable of functioning in outer space; Shortswords are often deployed from parent vessels in low orbit.
The MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor/Aviator helmet is recommended for use by Shortsword crew members. Following the Human-Covenant War the UNSC no longer required every available combat-worthy airframe to be used in service against the Covenant. Instead the remaining Shortswords were either transferred to UNSC Air Force reserve units or scrapped, depending on the condition of a given craft. Some Shortswords were found on the Venezian black market after the war.
The Shortsword is typically armed with conventional bombs for performing carpet bombing runs. When releasing its payload, the Shortsword "punches" its munitions into the ground; the munitions then explode a short time later. As the bombs detonate in the order in which they are dropped, carpet bombing runs carried out by the Shortsword resemble twentieth-century napalm strikes. Bombers equipped with the M/RODAS delivery system can carry less conventional payloads such as the XGBU-302 disruption bomb or the GBU-1105 "cryo" bomb. Shortswords are additionally equipped with M955 ASW/AC 30mm machine-linked autocannons that fires 30mm projectiles.
The Shortsword is only ever seen during gameplay briefly, where it can be seen flying over the battlefield dropping ordnance wherever the player chooses. The use of the Shortsword differs depending on which leader character the player uses. Professor Ellen Anders uses it to drop cryo bombs, a simple point-and-click power which can be used to effectively freeze a large area of the battlefield, as well as the units or buildings in it. Sergeant John Forge uses it to perform carpet bombing runs, where the beginning of the bombing run must be selected, an arrow appears and can be rotated around the start point, setting the angle of the bombing run. Carpet bombing runs are useful for hitting a number of enemies in different formations. All UNSC leaders can call on a Shortsword to deliver disruption bombs which can be used to block enemy leader powers. The Shortsword cannot be attacked, or destroyed, in-game.
List of appearances