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This article is about the base starter unit in Halo Wars. For military bases in general, see military base.
A screenshot of the model for the firebase.
Render of a Firebase.

The UNSC Firebase[1] is a prefabricated base of operations used by the UNSC Marine Corps in combat zones or locations that are otherwise hostile.


A firebase deployed near the South Spire's Cartographer in the beginning of the level The Cartographer.
A UNSC Firebase near Installation 00's Cartographer.

The UNSC developed modular firebases due to lessons learned in the early days of the Human-Covenant War, in which large UNSC military installations proved vulnerable to orbital bombardment.[2] The Firebase combines the needs of a tactical communications, a command center and expansion into both a barracks and a production facility capable of assembling combat vehicles. The Firebase unit itself is a variant of the old colony starter units constructed out of polycrete and powered by a small hydrogen reactor. Because gaining a foothold quickly was key to fighting insurrections throughout the colonies, ships can directly deploy the entire assembly unit of a Firebase via large dropships such as the D20 Heron or D81-LRT Condor, making it immediately useful. This ability proved invaluable in the ongoing war with the Covenant and was often considered a key advantage of the UNSC on the ground.[1]



The UNSC have fielded several variants of Firebase.

"Pod" Firebase[edit]

A D20 Heron deploying a Firebase.
A D20 Heron deploying a "Pod" firebase.

"Pod"[3][Note 1] firebases are deployed from orbit via the use of D20 Heron transport craft. These firebase variants are themselves variants of old colony starter units constructed out of polycrete, and can form vast labyrinthine underground complexes. "Pod" firebases are capable of producing unarmed Warthogs, along with the special unit for the selected leader.[1] Firebases were used to great effect in the Human-Covenant War, including the Harvest campaign—in which one served as the core of Alpha Base—the Battle for Arcadia and the Battle of Trove. Although starting out frail, the structural strength of the command center is increased with the addition of each new Firebase addition, making it a good idea to erect multiple Firebase additions as soon as possible.[1]

Beneath the Firebase there is a large underground garage in which resources and vehicle parts dropped down from orbiting warships may be stored. Also, all Firebase additions such as Reactors or Supply Pads emerge up from this subterranean area, pre-built and fully constructed. Firebases also have self-destruct sequences and Lockdown Protocols, the latter of which can be used to deliberately trap one's own newly-trained forces inside the compound.[1]

Expeditionary Firebase[edit]

Expeditionary firebases[3][Note 1] are another type of lightweight firebase module that can be delivered directly to the battlefield by D81-LRT Condor dropships, and were used notably in the Second Ark Conflict. The modules then unpack and can assemble basic structures and UNSC weapons systems, protected by up to four turret emplacements. Upgrading the firebase to a combat station allows basic infantry to be deployed while the command center and headquarters expansions make additional units available. Each upgrade also opens additional build locations for support structures.[3]

The expeditionary firebases fielded by UNSC Spirit of Fire trade a portion of the original Heron-transported "pod" system's operational flexibility for substantial mass and resource savings. Unlike the older pod firebases, additional pre-manufactured base structures must be transported to the firebase rather than assembled on-site, but this method saves irreplaceable strategic resources aboard the Spirit of Fire. The older pod bases remain in reserve, with the Heron dropships used exclusively for mass deployment of cargo and troops in secured rear areas.[3]


A screenshot of a UNSC minibase on Beasley's Plateau, with a UNSC Vehicle Depot built on it.
A minibase sporting a Vehicle Depot on Arcadia in 2531.

Like firebases, there are two known variants of UNSC minibase employed—one resembling the "pod" firebase design, the other resembling the 2559-era firebase. The latter minibases are deployed from Condors to opportunistic locations in the operations zone. Each minibase is built using stripped-down modules assembled and packed aboard the Spirit of Fire before being loaded on the dropship for deployment. Minibases that survive a battle become unmanned sensor and communication relays in the ever-growing system of control nodes being extended across the Ark by Isabel and Captain Cutter.[4] Minibases also serve as the core basis for UNSC Strongholds.


Based on rapid-deploy fortifications in the War Games training simulations set up by Isabel, these bases are vitally important objectives that define the win conditions of the Strongholds training mode. Each Stronghold has infantry, air, and vehicle support structures already attached. Each captured Stronghold increased population capacity. The concept of Strongholds began in War Games, but Isabel continues to run optimization routines on the design templates she uploaded to the Spirit of Fire's databanks. Isabel has gleaned many novel upgrades from the logs kept by the ship's previous AI, Serina, of the many prior engagements of the Spirit of Fire.[5]


A screenshot of a standard firebase with three plots.
A standard Firebase, with only three plots.

Halo Wars[edit]

"You can request to have a small base dropped in from orbit. Eventually, you can expand that into a full base."
— In-game description

In Halo Wars, a default Firebase costs Resources 500 resources to drop in from orbit, and only provides three construction slots and no turret foundations. It has two upgrades, Station and Fortress.

  • The Station is an upgraded version of the Firebase, retaining the command center, but adding two more building sites (for a total of five) and four turret foundations. Captain Cutter's leader bonus allows new firebases to be deployed with the Station upgrade without additional costs.
  • The Fortress upgrade allows two other building sites, totaling to seven building sites and the same four turret sites from the station. It also features a self-destruct sequence allowing it to destroy itself for other allies to make a base in its spot and damage any enemy units nearby. The Fortress also allows for a lock sequence that will not allow any newly trained units to leave the base when done training/being produced.

Each building slot and turret slot can accommodate one additional structure.

Name Type Cost Description
Population Tech Resources
Turret Base Defense N/A Tech level 0 Resources 250 Turrets are good at defending bases against all enemy targets.
Supply Pad Produces Resources N/A Tech level 0 Resources 100 The UNSC Supply Pad produces the resources needed to train units, building buildings, and buy technology upgrades. Bases that have great economic production might have 6 Supply Pads.
Heavy Supply Pad (Sergeant Forge) Produces Resources N/A Tech level 0 Resources 225 The UNSC Heavy Supply Pad produces extra resources (compared to the default Supply Pad) needed to train units, building buildings, and buy technology upgrades. Bases that have great economic production might have 6 Supply Pads.
Reactor Increases Tech Level N/A Tech level 0 Resources 250 (each subsequent Reactor costs an additional 250 than the previous) UNSC Reactors provide the energy needed to access advanced buildings, units and technology upgrades. High-tech bases may have as many as 4 or 5 Reactors.
Field Armory Special Upgrades N/A Tech level 1 Resources 150 The UNSC Field Armory is a combination machine shop and high-tech laboratory. Many advanced technology upgrades can be found here.
Barracks Trains Infantry N/A Tech level 0 Resources 150 The Barracks trains the bulk of the UNSC infantry units. Infantry technology upgrades can also be found here.
Vehicle Depot Trains Vehicles N/A Tech level 2 Resources 150 The UNSC Vehicle Depot constructs the ground vehicles for the UNSC army. Vehicle technology upgrades can also be found here.
Air Pad Trains Aircraft N/A Tech level 2 Resources 150 The Air Pad creates the various UNSC air units. Air units technology upgrades can also be found here.

Among other things, the Firebase themselves can produce units and corresponding improvements for them.

Name Type Cost Description
Population Tech Resources
Station Upgrade N/A Tech level 0 Resources 400 Upgrades base to a Station, which adds two more building sites. Each buildings adds to the strength of the central structure.
Fortress Upgrade N/A Tech level 0 Resources 400 Upgrades base to a Fortress, which adds two more building sites. Each buildings adds to the strength of the central structure.
Warthog Scout Population 1 Tech level 0 Resources 150 Warthogs are the UNSC's fast scout units. They start with an active Ram Ability, but can be upgraded to various guns for extra attack power.
Gunner Upgrade N/A Tech level 1 Resources 250 (125 for Professor Anders)[Note 2] Adds Machine Gun attack to the Warthogs, giving them combat capability.
Grenadier Upgrade N/A Tech level 2 Resources 500 (250 for Professor Anders)[Note 2] Adds a Marine armed with a Grenade Launcher to improve attack strength.
Gauss Cannon Upgrade N/A Tech level 3 Resources 800 (400 for Professor Anders)[Note 2] Upgrades Warthog machine gun to a gauss cannon. Improves damage and defense.
Elephant (Captain Cutter) Mobile Mini-Base Population 2 Tech level 0 Resources 400 The UNSC Elephant is a unique only available to Captain Cutter. It can move around the battlefield and use the active Deploy ability. Infantry can be trained out of a deployed Elephant.
Twin Engine (Captain Cutter) Upgrade N/A Tech level 1 Resources 250 Elephant speed is greatly improved by the addition of a second engine.
Defense Turrets (Captain Cutter) Upgrade N/A Tech level 2 Resources 500 Adds a light auto-cannon to all Elephants. This is only operable when the Elephant is deployed.
Ceramic Armor (Captain Cutter) Upgrade N/A Tech level 3 Resources 800 An additional set of composite alloy plates boost the Elephant's damage mediation.
Cyclops (Sergeant Forge) Building Killer Population 1 Tech level 1 Resources 125 The UNSC Cyclops is a unique special infantry unit. Experimental exo-skeleton suits provide incredible strength, making the Cyclops ideal for destroying buildings or other large things.
Repair Kit (Sergeant Forge) Upgrade N/A Tech level 2 Resources 400 Equips each Cyclops with tools to heal mechanized units and buildings.
High Torque Joints (Sergeant Forge) Upgrade N/A Tech level 3 Resources 900 Massively improved mobility systems increases movement speed of each Cyclops.
Gremlin (Professor Anders) Combat Support Population 1 Tech level 2 Resources 200 The Gremlin is a lightly armored vehicle that fires an EMP gun. It is good against enemy ground vehicles but less effective against infantry.
Focusing Lens (Professor Anders) Upgrade N/A Tech level 3 Resources 200[Note 2] Better components dramatically improve laser attack damage and range for all Gremlins.
Chain Amplifier (Professor Anders) Upgrade N/A Tech level 4 Resources 450[Note 2] EMP Ability can chain to hit multiple targets.


Many players use firebases when laying siege to enemy bases, by constructing Barracks, Vehicle Depots and Air Pads, and other similar structures, allowing for the rapid deployment of forces to the front lines. Firebases' self-destruct sequences are commonly used by players to prevent enemies from earning points for the base's destruction, and to allow other allies to replace the base and damage any nearby enemy units. It cost Resources 500 resources and only Forge and Anders can build these. Make sure the area is clear because it can be shot down as it is dropped from orbit.

Halo Wars 2[edit]

Firebases now cost Supplies 500 supplies and Power 200 energy, while the cost of Supplies can be reduced as long as Fortify Base was researched up to level 3, with each level gain a discount of Supplies 50 Supplies, up to Supplies 150 supplies upon Researching Level 3 Fortify Base. The main structure is delivered to the battlefield via D81-LRT Condors as opposed to D20 Herons seen in Halo Wars. The smaller buildings are deployed via Pelican as opposed to being built automatically underneath sockets surrounding the base. The size of the firebase itself is reduced considerably due to the initial firebase being delivered by a single Condor while the base structures surrounding it, include minibases, are mainly delivered by Pelicans.

  • The Combat Station upgrade will support 2 extra building slots, 4 turret emplacements and unlocks HQ Tech 1 for infantry and vehicular units. It costs Power 400 energy and takes 50 seconds to complete.
  • The Command Center upgrade will add another 2 building slots and unlocks HQ Tech 2 for more infantry and vehicular units. It costs Power 1,000 energy and takes 50 seconds to complete.
  • The Headquarters upgrade will only unlock HQ Tech 3 for the remainder of the infantry and vehicular units, also enable to research level 3 upgrades. It costs Power 1,500 energy and takes 50 seconds to complete.

Minibases are scattered around the map and cost less than standard firebases. 1-slot minibases cost Supplies 200 resources while the 2-slot minibase costs around Supplies 300 resources. The 3-slot minibase is available in certain campaign level such as "Under the Dark", where Alice-130 is put in command of the base in order to use Kodiaks to besiege a gravity lift, and "Fighting Retreat", when Pavium falls back to the second defensive line to hold out against the Flood attack.

Unique units are mainly trained from the Firebase as they can only be unlocked via Leader Power Upgrades.

Marines and Jackrabbits can be trained from this base and the base has upgrades for both Marines and Jackrabbits.

  • Grenade Throw: Can throw Grenades, small area attack, cannot attack air.
    • Cost: Supplies 0 supplies, Power 400 power.
    • Tier: 0
  • Combat Technician: Allow Marines to have Rocket Launcher and can heal any mechanical units.
    • Cost: Supplies 0 supplies, Power 600 power.
    • Tier: 2
  • Support Drone: Gives a drone that allows to heal Jackrabbit when out of combat and deal additional damage.
    • Cost: Supplies 0 supplies, Power 450 power.
    • Tier: 1

Firebase also can be locked down to hold the units inside the structure and assemble them when player decide to lift the lockdown.

Like its counterpart from Halo Wars, in addition to Marines and Jackrabbits, the bases themselves can produce unique units along with their corresponding improvements, exclusive to some UNSC commanders.

  • Protector Sentinel (only for Professor Anders)
    • Info: Core Air, Sentinel Detonation, Sentinel Beam.
    • Tier: 0
    • Cost: Population 3, Supplies 200, Power 15
    • Upgrades:
      • Drone Escort
        • Info: Increased damage, Increased health, Lockdown Bolt unlocked, have additional two Aggressor Sentinels as an escort
        • Tier: 2
        • Cost: Supplies 0, Power 500
      • Defense Grid
        • Info: Increased speed, Detonate on destruction
        • Tier: 3
        • Cost: Supplies 0, Power 600
  • ZAV-48 Frostraven (only for Serina)
    • Info: Support Unit, Freezes enemies, Deals very little damage, Can fire a Seismic Missile
    • Tier: 1
    • Cost: Population 4, Supplies 200, Power 80
      • Upgrade: Heavy Cryo Projector
        • Info: Weapon Upgrade, Improves the Cryo Projector, chilling enemies faster
        • Tier: 2
        • Cost: Supplies 0, Power 400
  • M650 Mastodon (only for Jerome-092)
    • Info: Mobile Garrison, Can carry infantry, The infantry being transported provide supporting fire, Equipped with light machine gun
    • Tier: 1
    • Cost: Population 3, Supplies 250, Power 75
      • Upgrade: Infantry Capacity
        • Info: Increases unit capacity from 3 infantry squads to 4.
        • Tier: 3
        • Cost: Supplies 0, Power 700

Changes from Halo Wars to Halo Wars 2[edit]

  • Firebase is no deployed longer using the D20 Heron; it was replaced by a pre-fabricated building and delivered via Condor.
  • Instead of two upgrades being required to access full capabilities, three upgrades are required.
  • Some research now cannot be performed until the Firebase has been upgraded to the HQ Tech level requirements.
  • Unique units now can only be produced from a Firebase, except the leader-specific units that replace certain units.
    • Any units unlocked through Leader Power will be exclusively made from the Firebase.
  • Leader Units production moved to Field Armory.
  • Pelicans would either drop container materials or disembark marines five seconds after requisition.
    • Disembarking marines is when the player requisites infantry, and container materials is when the player requisite vehicles.
  • Tech level moved from Reactor/Generator to Firebase through HQ Tech level.
  • Time until the plot available after base destruction decreased from 40 to 30 seconds.
  • Base total destruction (8 structures including Firebase and 4 turrets) reduced from 20 to 15 seconds.
  • Base structure construction now requires delivery via Pelican rather than directly from Firebase.
  • Warthog moved from Firebase to Garage.
  • Can now only research Marines, Jackrabbits, and unique units obtained through Leader Power.
  • Firebase armor is reduced considerably when under construction.
    • Additionally, if the player picks Serina as an opponent and uses the chill effect, the base construction would be delayed by at least 50% of the normal construction time. Frozen incomplete firebase would pause the construction time (Which also applies to all structures).


Halo Wars[edit]

Halo Wars 2[edit]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b The "pod" and expeditionary firebase names are mentioned offhand in the Phoenix Log regarding firebases in Halo Wars 2—however, they are not presented as official names. They are used for the purposes of this article to differentiate the two models in the absence of official clarification on the matter.
  2. ^ a b c d e Anders' economic boost halves the cost of all upgrades.


  1. ^ a b c d e Official Halo Wars Community Site, UNSC Firebase (Retrieved on Mar 20, 2011) [local archive] [external archive]
  2. ^ Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Siege Turret
  3. ^ a b c d Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Firebase
  4. ^ Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Minibase (UNSC)
  5. ^ Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Stronghold (UNSC)