M145D Rhino

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M145D Mobile Artillery Assault Platform
HW-M145DRhinoMAAP.png
Production information

Manufacturer:

Chalybs Defense Solutions[1]

Model:

M145D

Technical specifications

Length:

15.6 meters (51 ft)[1]

Width:

9 meters (30 ft)[1]

Armament:

Zeus 320mm plasma cannon[1][2]

Crew:

One operator[1]

Usage

Year introduced:

2525[3]

Role(s):

Plasma artillery platform

Affiliation:

UNSC Marine Corps

 

The M145D Mobile Artillery Assault Platform (MAAP), commonly known as the Rhino, is an artillery tank used by the United Nations Space Command. It is unique among UNSC vehicles in its armament, a plasma cannon that was reverse-engineered from Covenant technology.[1][2]

Overview[edit]

Development[edit]

During the Harvest campaign the Office of Naval Intelligence procured large amounts of Covenant matériel in the hope of reverse-engineering it. These efforts yielded varied results, one of the most substantial being the Zeus 320mm cannon, which, like most Covenant weapons, is capable of focusing and directing plasma as a projectile.[1] Chalybs Defense Solutions, the creators of the M808 Scorpion and M850 Grizzly main battle tanks, was contracted to manufacture the M145D Rhino as a platform for the weapon.[1][note 1]

By February of 2531, the UNSC was field-testing the Rhinos. Several prototypes were kept on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, apparently for this purpose.[4]

Design[edit]

The architecture of the M145D is similar to that of the M808B and M850, though it is longer and wider than the former vehicles. This larger chassis is designed to support the vehicle's six-bogey tread configuration, which in turn facilitates a lockdown mode - akin to that of the SP42 Cobra - when the cannon is fired.[1] The tank's middle tread bogeys extend farther outward than the forward bogeys. The rear bogeys lie between the middle ones and jut from the back of the tank's chassis; stabilizer mechanisms are mounted to the rear tracks.[1] The Zeus cannon is mounted to a large turret, akin to that of the Grizzly; the weapon is capable of traversing upward at a roughly forty-five degree angle. As with all plasma-based weapons, the Zeus is potent against energy shielding.[4][5]

Operational history[edit]

Human-Covenant war[edit]

The Rhino first entered service by at least 2525, where at least one of these artillery platforms were stationed aboard the UNSC Atlas.[3]

On February 9, 2531, they participated in the invasion of Arcadia. Prior to their arrival, the Covenant established a large base at a complex of Forerunner ruins near an ONI base, over which they deployed an enormous energy shield dome. The crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire, the only remaining combat-ready UNSC forces in the system, requested several Rhinos from the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, which had been damaged in the initial stages of the attack. During a costly battle, Spirit of Fire's Marine complement, aided by a firebase built nearby, worked to escort the Rhinos into position. Professor Ellen Anders was able to determine that they needed five of them after an attempt to use three in conjunction with one another caused part of the dome to flicker but not fail. Finally, when five Rhinos were used simultaneously on the dome, they overloaded the shield's power supply and caused a section of it to disappear, allowing the Spirit of Fire to safely use its MAC guns to take out the shield generators and Covenant air defenses, destroying the dome.[4]

Some of these Rhinos were then deployed to the ruins, where the Marines encountered a Scarab excavation platform that was still under construction. The remaining Rhinos then assisted in the destruction of the Scarab.[5] The Rhino continued to see impressive use throughout the war, though it was rarely deployed.

Post-war[edit]

Some Rhinos still exist as of 2558, though they have been used sporadically due to insufficient resources and a lack of refinements to the prototype. However, the data gleaned from the Rhino's development and use was later used on other projects. The Rhino initiative has seen renewed interest in development due to the interest of Isaac Richardson, one of the UNSC's top procurement officers.[1][6]

Gameplay[edit]

Although the Rhino's firepower is weaker than that of the Scorpion, it has superior armor. A group of these tanks is powerful enough to destroy heavy armor, but the vehicle is intended to play a fire support role alongside a large UNSC force. Its secondary ability deploys it into a 'lockdown' mode like that of the Cobra and the Elephant, giving the Rhino a more powerful attack with increased range.

The Rhino is exclusive to two campaign missions in Halo Wars: Dome of Light and Scarab. Besides its importance to the plot, the Rhino functions almost identically to the Cobra in terms of speed and firepower. The sound effect of its deployed artillery cannon is shared with the Cobra. Preventing all the Rhinos from being destroyed in the level grants the player the Rhino Hugger achievement.

Unlike the other vehicles in the game, a Rhino cannot be constructed through the vehicle depot and instead can only be gotten by the player through using the Arcadia ONI facility's landing pad to request one from the UNSC Pillar of Autumn which then sends a Pelican to drop one off. This means that more cannot be summoned during Scarab as the pad is no longer available. In that level, the player only has access to the Rhinos that they started with.

Trivia[edit]

Main-Superintendent.png Browse more images in this article's gallery page.
  • As with most UNSC vehicles, the Rhino is named after an animal.
  • The Rhino's turret and gun barrel resemble the turret from the Tiger II heavy tank used by the German Army during World War II. Both are designed based on long range bombardment, with a large caliber cannon to perform that role, and both have heavy armor. The turrets of both vehicles rotate slowly.
  • A lightning bolt is painted on the side of the Rhino's turret. This is likely a reference to Zeus, the chief deity of the Greek pantheon, who is the namesake of the Rhino's cannon. Zeus used lightning bolts as weapons and as symbols of his power.
  • Like its fellow artillery unit the Cobra, the Rhino's lockdown mode bears striking resemblance to the Terran siege tank from the StarCraft series.
  • On the Halo: Spartan Assault level The Mirror Mantle Counter-Assault, what appears to be plasma fire can be seen in the background originating from the UNSC lines and landing near Covenant vehicles. The plasma may be fired by off-screen Rhinos.
  • In Halo Wars, the Rhinos that the player uses comes from the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, the vessel featured most prominently in Halo: Combat Evolved as well as expanded media and briefly in Halo: Reach.

Gallery[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ The "D" in the Rhino's designation suggests that it is the fifth version of the M145. In the opening cutscene of the level Dome of Light, Professor Anders refers to the vehicles as "plasma-based Rhinos". The most straightforward explanation is that is she noting the experimental tanks' armament, suggesting their use in eliminating the shield dome. However, it is also possible that she is differentiating the M145D from previous Rhino models, from which one may infer that the M145D is based on an existing design rather than built specifically for the Zeus cannon.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 155
  2. ^ a b Halo Wars: Official Strategy Guide, page 28
  3. ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach Animated Series
  4. ^ a b c Halo Wars, campaign level Dome of Light
  5. ^ a b Halo Wars, campaign level Scarab
  6. ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder 4/4/2015: Issue 18 Clarity & Grace