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Covenant ship classification system

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This article's title is a callsign, an alias, or a nickname, as no proper name for the subject has been revealed.

The Covenant ship classification system is an organizational method that is used by the Covenant to categorize their warships.

Major categories[edit]

Analoguous to the UNSC Navy's formalised starship classifications, the Covenant fleet is divided into several major groupings, each which fulfil a particular niche required by their navy. For the Covenant, these roles are analagous to how the UNSC classifies ships such as cruisers or destroyers.

Advocates[edit]

Advocates served as the core of most Covenant fleets, and consist of frontline warships with crews eager for honour and victory. They carried out the orders of their superiors without question or delay.[1]

Attack Ships[edit]

Attack ships were the most common warships available to the Covenant, but were considered beneath the notice of most Fleetmasters except for use as diversions to distract enemies from more valuable targets, generally being pawned off to Kig-Yar or Jiralhanae and other profit-focused crews.[1] They were usually assigned to patrol Covenant space, inspecting and escorting shipping that carried the tithes of Covenant worlds or pilgrims to High Charity.[2] Sangheili crews that found themselves assigned to such vessels tended to regard them as inglorious assignments, eager to prove themselves worthy of transfer to more prestigious assignments in battle, such as examiner type ships,[3] but were unenthusiastic about protecting executioner ships when assigned as escorts.[2]

Coadjutators[edit]

Coadjutators served as special-purpose vessels originally built for the Covenant ecclesiarchy, and as such their initial role was obscured in record. Many of them wound up serving exclusively as escorts and occupation security roles.[1]

Conservators[edit]

Conservators are conventional warships in the Covenant, elevated with a greater purpose and degree of prestige. They were usually found operating as squires for pilgrim ships, missionaries and emissaries from High Charity.[1]

Examiners[edit]

Examiners were valuable and rare ships usually crewed by experienced crews, with personnel considered judicious and bold. They frequently employed Forerunner technology in their construction, and Ministries that wished to crew and deploy one needed direct approval from a Hierarch. However, they were easily reassigned.[3]

Exarchs[edit]

Exarchs were the largest and most powerful warships within their respective domains, and even the Covenant as a whole. Their crews saw the opportunity to serve on these vessels as an unimpeachable honour.[1]

Executioners[edit]

Executioners were unusual in Covenant ship standards, as they represented some of the only warships built with no other goal in mind except for warfare. Due to this, they were typically regarded as a distasteful reminder by the Prophets that the Great Journey depended on the use of violence, and were assigned far from High Charity during times of peace, across the Covenant's expansive border. This made them difficult to bring to bear when the Covenant mobilized for war with humanity, delaying their assignment to the frontlines by years.[5] Their sheer destructive potential meant their construction was rationed.[1]

Procurators[edit]

Procurators were far more common, but were independent of military chains of command or system governors, though usually complied to requests, and needed Hierarch approval to attach to fleets in order to curb the power of the Sangheili. They were also commanded by San'Shyuum Shipmasters, rather than Sangheili, further forcing Sangheili fleets and colonies to depend on the Prophets for their supply lines. When High Charity fell to the Flood and the Prophet of Truth was killed, many of these ships departed Covenant space with their Prophet commanders and loyal escorts, joining the rest of the San'Shyuum fleeing Sangheili retribution, making them a rare sight in the post-war era.[6] Procurators often houses Assembly Forges, food reserves and the Huragok personnel needed to maintain Forerunner equipment.[1]

Procurator ships include the following;

Vestiges[edit]

Vestiges were old warships that served during the War of Beginnings, when the Sangheili were united against the overwhelming power of the San'Shyuum's Keyship. Fleets of Vestiges were sent off to drift in space or buried in caverns beneath airless worlds, with any records of their history or battle-honors deleted from all data archives by clans that wished to overturn the Writ of Union. Forgotten by all but a few dedicated lineages, these vessels were reclaimed by Sangheili Covenant remnants after the Great Schism to be pitted against other Sangheili forces and burn what they were built to protect.[7]

Vestige warships include the following;

The Useumru-pattern voidpiercer , constructed in the first two years of the Covenant's existence, may also count as a Vestige warship.

Three-letter classification codes[edit]

During the war, the United Nations Space Command and Office of Naval Intelligence attempted to classify Covenant ships based on observation and limited intelligence about the Covenant's own ship codes. This allowed UNSC analysts to create a schema for identifying Covenant vessel types roughly synonymous with human naval hull codes. These codes the form of three letters forming the Covenant ship's "class" name (ie CCS-class), with each of the three letter codes derived from the Covenant's internal mission codes.[1] Following the end of the war with the Covenant, cooperation with the Swords of Sanghelios revealed the true complex extent of Covenant naval organisation to human analysts, and a shift away from the three-letter codes.[1]

The three-letter codes are transliterations of a given ship's primary, secondary and tertiary classification codes used in the Covenant fleet, with the letters' ordering determining the importance of that feature, role or ability in the ship's mission.[8] For example, the ORS-class heavy cruiser would be broken down as follows;

  • O - Ordained: This is not a mission type but instead denotes that the ship is enhanced with Forerunner technology.[8]
  • R - Reverence: Reverence mission codes mean that a ship is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions and excavating Forerunner artefacts.[8]
  • S - Salvation: Salvation mission codes refer to a dedicated warship capable of cleansing their enemies with "holy fire".[8]

As such, the ORS' primary characteristic is that it is a Forerunner-enhanced ship, primarily intended for reconnaissance and excavation missions - with pure combat only a tertiary focus.[8] As such, Covenant ships (such as in the case of Incorruptible) may sometimes be referred to off-hand as "Reverence"-class ships, though in reality any ship bearing the R in its letter code (such as the ORS and CRS-class cruisers, CAR-class frigate, etc) could be described as a Reverence-class.[8]

The known letters used in the classification system include A, C, D, O, P, R, S, and V. Of these known letters, only the O, R, and S designations are known (listed above), though it should be noted that the letter classification codes do not have any correspondance with the class designations used by the Covenant (detailed at the top of this article). Equally, it is unknown what significance repetition of the letters in a class name (such as the CCS-class) signifies. Due to the limited understanding of Covenant ship organisation and manufacture, some human-ascribed three-letter codes correspond to multiple individually-recognised design pattern variations, similarly to the errors present in their type classification system for ground equipment.

List of three-letter classifications[edit]

Carriers
Cruisers
Destroyers
Frigates
Corvettes and light warships
Support ships

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 260
  2. ^ a b Halo: Warfleet, page 72-73
  3. ^ a b Halo: Warfleet, page 64-65
  4. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 269
  5. ^ Halo: Warfleet, page 60-61
  6. ^ Halo: Warfleet, page 68-69
  7. ^ Halo: Warfleet, page 78-79
  8. ^ a b c d e f Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Have S'moa (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2021) [archive]