The GA-TL1 Interceptor/Strike Fighter, or Longsword, is the mainstay multi-mission platform in service with the UNSC Air Force and UNSC Navy. Longswords are capable of atmospheric and exoatmospheric (A/X) operation and can be fitted for myriad roles simultaneously. Among those roles, Longswords most often operate as fleet defense fighters, orbital defense and deep space interceptors, or as strike fighters, among other, more specialized tasks.
The GA-TL1 Longsword is designed primarily as a fighter, though it can also be used for interception, suppression, bombing, or direct attack. There are a number of variants of the craft, with some variants measuring 64 meters (210 feet) long and 75 meters (246 feet) wide. Their crew sizes can vary between two and four individuals; the crew may be assisted by an onboard artificial intelligence.
While there are several noticeable external and presumably internal differences among variants, all Longswords share a common overall architecture. The craft features a wide, manta ray-like design with a rear-facing boom apparatus protruding from the center of the fuselage, similar to that of the B-65 Shortsword bomber. The exhaust ports for the Longsword's twin fusion engines are also visible at the rear of the fuselage.
The Longsword can be remotely piloted, as was performed during the Battle of Chi Ceti in 2525. The MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor/Aviator helmet is recommended for use by Spartans acting as Longsword crew members.
The standard armament of the GA-TL1 is the M9109 50mm cannon. Some variants are armed with 110mm rotary cannons or a turreted 120mm ventral gun that can be retracted into the hull, though the latter is likely a secondary weapon. The Longsword can also accommodate any of several supplementary weapon systems, including four ASGM-10 missiles, a variety of bombs, Moray space mines, or even a single Shiva-class nuclear missile; when remotely piloted, the Longsword itself can be used as a delivery system for the Shiva warhead. As well as Shiva nuclear missiles, Longswords are capable of deploying HAVOK tactical nuclear weapons. Longswords are also capable of dropping and deploying certain variants of ordnance pods to resupply troops on the ground.
Development and service history
The Longsword, manufactured by Misriah Armory, was designed during the 25th century by Gov Aukland and Thomas Levesque, whose names inspired the GA-TL1 designation. Longswords saw service during the Insurrection. Later, Longswords were deployed on the front lines of nearly every major engagement of the Human-Covenant War under the UNSC Navy. Longsword Squadron Delta, assigned to the frigate UNSC Commonwealth, engaged Covenant forces during the Battle of Chi Ceti, the first space battle of the war. The Longswords were destroyed when the Commonwealth was forced to sacrifice them to get a shot on the Unrelenting with a Shiva-class nuclear missile. The Longswords that survived the firefight were destroyed when the nuclear weapon detonated.
During the Fall of Reach, two Longswords were launched against a Covenant SDV-class heavy corvette to protect Sword Base. The Longswords pushed the corvette away from the base far enough for a Super MAC round fired from orbit to take it out. Longswords also participated in the Battle at Szurdok Ridge after SPARTAN-B312 took out two Covenant anti-aircraft emplacements, clearing the way for air support. The Longswords were able to destroy three Scarabs, opening the path for the UNSC's ground assault force. Later, the Halcyon-class light cruiser UNSC Pillar of Autumn launched a remotely piloted Longsword equipped with a Shiva-class nuclear missile during a battle with an unidentified Covenant warship. After the ship's shields were taken down, the "smart" AI Cortana crash-landed the Longsword on the ship. The nuke's detonation destroyed the Covenant vessel.
During the Battle of Installation 04, a number of Longswords escorted the Pillar of Autumn. They destroyed the Covenant's initial recon picket which Cortana described as being "nothing serious," however Cortana detected multiple CCS-class battlegroups approaching. Later, Spartan John-117 and Cortana used a Longsword to escape from Alpha Halo before it was destroyed. They later linked up with a Pelican dropship and launched an attack on a nearby Covenant flagship, Ascendant Justice, using the Longsword to board it and destroying its Seraph fighters with the Longsword's Moray space mines.
During the Battle of Voi, several Longswords aided a trio of frigates in attacking the Prophet of Truth's ship, once John-117 cleared the way by destroying an anti-aircraft battery. However, the attack proved unsuccessful and Truth's fleet was able to evacuate through the Portal at Voi which they opened moments after the failed attack. Longswords subsequently took part in the Battle of Installation 00 after the Fleet of Retribution followed Truth through the portal to prevent the firing of the Halo Array. At least one was shot down during the battle and crashed on the Ark which was witnessed by the ground team.
On July 26, 2557, Spartan Blue Team used a Longsword to reach Halo Installation 03. On March 11, 2558, several Longswords defended UNSC Infinity when she was attacked by insurgent aerospace craft after the freighter Pilgrims' Pride was pulled into Infinity's primary docking bay.
During Operation: WHISTLE STOP on May 8, 2558, Infinity deployed three Longswords to escort two D77H-TCI Pelicans to rescue Spartans Naiya Ray and Gabriel Thorne from the pirates inhabiting the planet. One of the fighters deployed HAVOK tactical nuclear weapons, destroying the pirate base. At least one Longsword was deployed during the Battle of Oban on July 16, where it destroyed two Covenant Phantom dropships. A few days later, three Longswords from Infinity escorted two D79-TC Pelicans to the surface of Aktis IV during a battle on the planet.
There are multiple variants of the GA-TL1 Longsword that are designed to perform specific functions, such as the C708, the C709, and the C712. However, these variations are not static; Longswords can be modified on a craft-by-craft basis to fit the needs of a given mission.
The C708 variant is a variant of the Longsword.
The C709 variant is designed to apply force in exoatmospheric engagements. It is armed with a 110mm rotary cannon. Despite its focus on exoatmospheric combat, the C709 features large air intakes and a non-polarized canopy.
The C712 variant (designated SS-110 by the UNSC Navy), specializes in short-range atmospheric/exoatmospheric (A/X) strike runs. It can carry an assortment of missile and mine delivery systems. The C712 features a large, polarized canopy and integrated air intakes. It can also much more easily fit within ships as it is roughly half the size of the other variants.
Halo: Fleet Battles
UNSC Longsword Bomber Flights
List of appearances