This article is about command center of a ship. For the construction, see Bridge (structure).
The bridge is the command center of a ship. Normally, this is where the commanding officer resides while in command of the ship and where the bridge officers control the ship's vital functions, such as navigational work, weapons, communications, and monitoring the status of the ship's systems. Various screens and scanners are used to monitor the ship's surroundings; starships that do not possess viewports use external cameras to get a view of the space outside the ship.
In the Covenant, a bridge may also be referred to as a "control room".
The UNSC Navy's design guidelines for spacecraft emphasise that the command crew of a given ship require visibility of the surrounding area. This tradition dates back to the era of terrestrial naval warfare on Earth. As such, the bridge of UNSC spacecraft is usually located at the ship's bow or else constructed on the ship's exterior as opposed to the Covenant tendency to build their control rooms in the armoured core of the ship. A ship's bridge is sometimes represented by a red star.
The bridge of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn is an Omega-pattern bridge, and consists of several consoles devoted to various functions. There is a large domed viewport at the front of the room which looks out into space. This was evidently meant to be armored before the Autumn 's mission but there hadn't been time. The navigation and helm control officers are suspended in this dome. There are six consoles which line the sides of the room, and two in the center. The Captain or Commander of the ship stands before a large tactical map which can provide a series of important pieces of information. The holotank for the ship's AI is also located near the Captain's station. At the time of its arrival in the Soell system, the Autumn 's bridge was manned by fourteen officers.
The Pillar of Autumn is piloted by two helm control officers which sit suspended in the ship's domed viewport. These officers are presumably responsible for steering the ship at sublight speeds and executing slipspace transitions.
There is a console located at the front-left side of the Bridge marked 'LPOD'. The ship's lifepod operations are coordinated from this station.
The Pillar of Autumn has three tactical stations located in various positions. These consoles are responsible for controlling and maintaining the ship's weapon systems. Auto-cannons, Archer Missile Pods, the Magnetic Accelerator Cannon and Shiva nukes are launched and controlled by the two tactical officers.
There are two consoles in the Autumn's bridge marked "ENG". They are probably the equivalent of operations consoles. The ship's nuclear fusion reactors and other engineering functions are maintained here.
There exist two consoles marked "COM". The ship's communications systems are operated here.
The bridge of UNSC frigates such as the Stalwart and Charon are is physically located at the top of the ship and have a viewport which looks into space. The commanding officer sits in a chair, in front of which are the tactical and navigation consoles. There are several other stations behind these three. The bridge of the UNSC In Amber Clad, and presumably other Stalwart-class vessels, is equipped with an independent life-support system that is capable of functioning even if the rest of the ship is crippled.
The post-war Strident-class heavy frigate features a state-of-the-art combat management system and a datacore capable of hosting a Smart AI. The ship's AI and automated systems are capable of handling target detection, threat evaluation, tracking and calculation of firing solutions. The crew sets priority and authorises weapons release.
By the late 25th century, the bridge of a UNSC destroyer such as the Las Vegas had the navigation, operations, engineering, communications and weapons stations arranged in a narrow oval shape. UNSC heavy destroyers introduced in the late 25th century, such as the UNSC Gorgon, had a raised center with a padded command chair. The Halberd-class destroyer's bridge was fitted onto the top of the ship, overlooking the primary MAC array.
UNSC super-heavy cruisers
The Valiant-class super-heavy cruiser Everest possessed a large, cavernous bridge with two dozen bridge stations, used not only to control the ship and its systems, but also to coordinate the activities of the entire battle group. The bridge had massive view screens that stretched from the floor to the ceiling.
Phoenix-class colony ships
The bridge on Phoenix-class colony ships, such as the refit UNSC Spirit of Fire, is located toward the fore and top of the ship. The bridge is moderately sized, with one main viewport and an elevated platform near the front and smaller windows over the bridge stations. In the center is a large holographic table for displaying tactical information, accompanied by a smaller holo-pedestal reserved for the shipboard AI. Following the ship's disappearance in the Battle of the Etran Harborage, the AI Serina upgraded the combat bridge's fire control matrix and trunk lines to provide an additional 50% bandwidth.
The bridge of the Winter-class prowler has five crew stations, though only a single commander and navigator are required to function. On surveillance missions, the bridge can accomodate for an additional technician, tactical director and surveillance controller.
Orbital defense platforms
The bridge of the Cairo orbital defense platform dwarfs the other two encountered. Its ceiling is covered by large windows allowing an unobstructed view of space. There are two raised platforms on either side which overlook the many consoles below. Like the Pillar of Autumn, there is a tactical map located at one side where the station's CO stands. Its large size is presumably because it was designed not only to control the station's systems, but also to coordinate large-scale operations.
The control room of the Covenant cruiser Truth and Reconciliation is far more cavernous than its human analogues and appears to require far less controlling crew. It consists of a large room, within which is an "aesthetically barren" raised platform which is surrounded by transparent holographic displays and two larger displays mounted on one of the walls. Only the Shipmaster was present on the platform when the John-117's incursion happened. Physically, it was located deep within the ship; a contrast to the exposed bridges of many UNSC ships.
Due to their age, the bridges of ORS-class heavy cruisers' controls and data feeds only display now-cryptic messages in early Sangheili dialects. Because of this, ORS bridge crews require special interpreters and scholars.
Covenant assault carriers
The command center of the Covenant assault carrier Shadow of Intent is far larger than that of Truth and Reconciliation, having two levels with multiple control stations. In the center lies a massive holotank. The bridge also has a hovering command chair for the ship's commander.
The bridge of a Covenant corvette is cavernous and mostly circular in general shape. Like the command centers of other Covenant vessels, the corvette's bridge has multiple stations from which the ship's various functions are controlled. In the center is a large, circular holotank. Noticeable features not shared by other Covenant vessels are the bridge's placement next to the dorsal exterior hull and its massive windows.
Small Kig-Yar privateer ships such as Minor Transgression, used as the Ministry of Tranquility's missionary vessels, possess a small, dimly lit bridge. Near the center is a large holotank, connected to the ship's Luminary, and an elevated command chair. The door to the bridge is composed of two angled halves.
List of appearances