Type-33 fuel rod gun
This article is about the model introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved. For the model introduced in Halo 5: Guardians, see Type-58 fuel rod cannon.
The Type-33 Light Anti-Armor Weapon (T-33 LAAW), colloquially known as the fuel rod gun, is a shoulder-fired mortar/radiation weapon, formerly used by the Covenant military and now in service with the Swords of Sanghelios. It is also sometimes called the flak cannon or fuel rod cannon though the latter term is usually reserved for vehicle-mounted weapons based on the same technology.
The weapon's energetic component has been the subject of nearly three decades of intense human study. The Merchants of Qikost, the fuel rod gun's current manufacturer, are only able to replicate its manufacture using prehistoric Forerunner machinery that occasionally requires Huragok maintenance and has proved nearly impossible to study. Both Misriah Armory and Materials Group have acquired the aforementioned Forerunner machinery, but are reluctant to produce potentially dangerous feedstock isotopes.
The fuel rod gun, which was first encountered by UNSC personnel in 2531, is essentially a man-portable version of the fuel rod cannon that is mounted on Covenant vehicles - it is a support weapon that is commonly employed in both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle roles. It appears to be recoil-operated and fires 3.8 cm explosive ballistic incendiary gel projectiles, that travel to the target in a parabolic arc.
The design of the Fuel Rod Gun is unique, more akin to large ornament than deadly weapon; the barrel of the weapon is long and black covered by thick gold plates that make up the body of the weapon; the ammunition is loaded on the top aft section of the fuel rod gun, and can hold up to 5 ballistic projectiles, which seem to be held together by straps, before needing to be reloaded. Because of the weapon’s visibility it is just as effective as a psychological weapon, it is often the case that soldiers will ignore closer, more obvious targets in order to eliminate a Type-33 and its operator.
The fuel rod gun is unique in the way it operates, its ammunition is placed one on top of the other to form a clip and then is loaded into the weapon; it is unknown what exactly holds the rods together. When the large "trigger" is pulled the weapon ejects the projectile at high speeds. It can be assumed that the instant the projectile leaves the barrel of the weapon, the large flash associated with firing the fuel rod gun destroys the caps that are on each end of the fuel rod projectile. The rods are equipped with an activation delay that protects the wielder from explosions caused by carelessly firing fuel rods into nearby objects, however a fuel rod will detonate if fired into enemies at point-blank range. The fuel rod gun is used by most Covenant infantry; Grunts are commonly seen wielding fuel rod guns, and more rarely, higher ranking Elites and Brutes are seen wielding them. The fuel rod gun is extremely powerful, and as such the Covenant went to great lengths to ensure it does not fall into enemy hands - for much of the Human-Covenant War, the prevalent model of the fuel rod gun was equipped with a fail-safe that activates under certain conditions, either by the user dropping the weapon without first engaging a safety, or if the weapon runs out of ammunition and is not reloaded after a certain amount of time. In late 2552, models without the failsafe became more commonplace, preventing the weapon from being self-destroyed.
The Covenant fuel rod gun fires radioactive projectiles colloquially termed as "fuel rods". These projectiles have devastating effects on their targets. When the fuel rod impacts an area, or target, it is instantly subjected to temperatures as hot as standard plasma weapons. The fuel rod gun's projectiles use a form of incendiary gel similar to a Mgalekgolo's assault cannon. Unlike the globs or beams fired by the assault cannon, however, the fuel rods are compressed canisters of the gel approximately 38mm in diameter which explode upon impact.
The fuel rod gun is an extremely devastating weapon in the hands of a skilled infantry unit. The destructive power of the fuel rod gun is so effective that human forces often focus all of their attention on infantry wielding the fuel rod gun. Unsurprisingly, one strike from a fuel rod will instantly kill any light organic target, even one that is heavily armored. Infantry outside of the initial blast zone will be affected by the concussive force of the impact, which is strong enough to send them flying, and the radiation the rods release. Against light-armored vehicles the fuel rod gun is extremely effective as well, with the ability to flip small vehicles in only a few hits if it doesn't destroy them outright. The gun also takes less time to reload than the rocket launcher, can hold more ammo in both the magazine and reserve, has a very slight tracking ability, and a faster rate of fire. In the context of the Halo games, the fuel rods' strength and lethality are compensated for both the sake of gameplay and ratings.
Rods from the fuel rod gun have a smaller explosive radius than the M41 rocket launcher. In addition, the fuel rods will arc once in flight and lose their accuracy over long distances. The large size of the weapon obscures the wielder's peripheral vision, and it reduces the speed of weaker infantry holding it, because of its significant weight, unless it is a Spartan carrying the weapon, due to their superior strength. The bright color of the weapon makes the wielder easy to spot, even when the weapon is backpacked; the green flash that occurs when the weapon is fired, can also give away the users position. The fuel rods are also extremely slow in flight. As a result, Fuel Rods are particularly weak against most reconnaissance vehicles (Ghosts, Warthogs, Banshees, Brute Choppers, Mongooses) at long range. This is because the intended target will easily dodge the fuel rod. It also lacks the lock-on and destructive capabilities of the Halo 2 rocket launcher or Halo 3 missile pod. Also, in Halo 3, the fuel rods usually bounce off the ground, missing their intended targets, unless it is a direct hit or you are directly facing the surface, such as walls and even the Scarab's exterior, although very rarely would it ricochet off vehicles and infantry.
The weapon is not wieldable in the Xbox version of Halo: Combat Evolved; it was, however, made available in multiplayer mode for the PC version. In the PC version, it is a battery operated weapon, and can fire a total of 28 rounds, five rounds each before overheating, from its 100 battery unit charge. The weapon's metal plating is purple with a gray barrel.
Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2
Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3
Changes from Halo 3 to Halo: Reach
Changes from Halo: Reach to Halo 4
Changes from Halo 4 to Halo 2: Anniversary
List of appearances