M441 Hornet Remote Explosive System
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Hornet mines are tetrahedron-shaped, large and bulky nuclear explosives. They are considered stealthy and employ plutonium cores, with a nominal yield of 30 megatons and vaccuum-enhanced loads. Despite their size especially when compared to missile warheads, the Hornets are considered small.
Overall, Hornet mines measure a metre or more in diameter.
Hornet mines are primarily carried by Sahara-class heavy prowlers. Sahara-class vessels can seed orbital space around a planet with dozens of these weapons. However, the presence of these weapons aboard a prowler risks a massive release of Čerenkov radiation upon emerging from slipstream space, meaning prowler crews may need to jettison their Hornets if they need to make a stealthy transition to realspace. As such, some prowler classes such as the Winter-class prowler instead employ the non-nuclear M1011 Moray space mine instead.
Against the Covenant
During the Onyx Conflict, the UNSC Dusk laid a field of HORNETs, destroying twelve and damaging four Covenant warships. This helped to prolong the survival of Admiral Patterson's battlegroup, which was facing an overwhelming number of Covenant ships at the time. The severe reduction in the number of Covenant ships allowed the UNSC fleet to score a brief victory, before overwhelming Covenant reinforcements arrived and destroyed the surviving human ships, with the exception of the Dusk.
In 2558, the UNSC Nereid was carrying a number of HORNET mines when the ship lost all power in the wake of an attack from the Created. An attempt those aboard made at restarting its slipspace drive involved using the mines to power it as a sort of radioisotope thermoelectric generator. The effort was futile, however.
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