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Combat harness

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This article is about the combat harness used by Sangheili. For those used by other Covenant soldiers, see Combat harness (disambiguation).
Combat harness
Production overview


Sangheili harness


Standard combat armor

Technical specifications

The combat harness is the standard armor system used by the Sangheili soldiers of the Covenant and its splinter groups. The armor is made primarily of nanolaminate plating[1] and comes in several variations based on occupation and personal taste.[2]



The combat harness is a widely varied platform, with numerous variants based on the user's occupation, personal taste, rank, fleet assignment and more.[3] In general, combat harnesses consist of a thoracic cage covering the central body mass, with shoulder pauldrons and leg armor additionally overlaid on top of a base tech suit. The helmet covers the majority of the head and (sometimes) the mandibles of the Sangheili, with the sides of helmet typically having two spike-like protrusions (of varying shape and size, depending on specific model). The front of the helmet is open, showing the Sangheili's face, eyes and allowing them to extend their mandibles. Combat harnesses typically do not provide much protection to the neck and throat of the occupant, relying more on energy shielding for protection. This helmet has remained unchanged for eleven hundred cycles, and the thoracic cage has remained unchanged for fifty generations.[4]

The armor of the combat harness is covered in a nanolaminate plating, bolstered by the aforementioned energy shielding. Combined with the undersuit, the harness can enhance the strength and speed of the wearer in a similar fashion to the Spartans' MJOLNIR armor.[5] Depending on specific model, combat harnesses can employ a wide range of additional equipment such as built-in active camouflage,[6], flashlights,[7] and an energy dagger built into the gauntlet.[8] Its primary emphasis, to be iconic and inflict psychological trauma, can be linked back to the martial/physical preeminence of the Sangheili people.[4]

The UNSC-developed Saturnine VISR is fully compatible with the combat harness' power and data feeds, leading some to believe it's intended for export.[9]


There are many different variants of combat harness, worn to the personal taste of the individual, their commander, role and assignment.

Common combat harness[edit]

This combat harness model has been seen widely employed by Sangheili across the Covenant, including the fleets of Sacred Consecration, Particular Justice[10], those of High Charity's defense forces and - following the empire's fall - the Swords of Sanghelios. It features black stripes running down the sides of the helmet, but an otherwise solid-color depending on role and rank. This armor design is angular, when compared to the other combat harness models.

Due to its wide use and service, this harness has been seen in a wide variety of coloration including; blue (Minor), red (Major), White (Ultra and Special Operations Commander), dark blue (Special Operations), brown and silver (Stealth) and gold (Zealots and similarly high-ranking officers). This armor also forms the basis of the suits worn by Sangheili Honor Guards and High Councilors. Swords of Sanghelios troops employ this harness with a red-and-white color scheme, as opposed to those of the Covenant.

An alternate version of the common harness design was also employed during the events of October 2552. It is very visually similar to the commonly used harness, though is typically flatter on the surfaces than the other common variant.

Minor harness (Fleet of Valiant Prudence)[edit]

This harness has been seen primarily employed by the Sangheili Minors of the Fleet of Valiant Prudence, during the Fall of Reach.[11]. During the Battle of Installation 04, some Minors of the Fleet of Particular Justice employed it.[12] This harness is typically seen in a light blue coloration, and has a noticeably rounder and more curvilinear form as compared to other combat harnesses.

A similar harness style was employed by Sangheili during the Harvest campaign, Battle for Arcadia and Battle of the Etran Harborage serving under Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee. This armor, notably employed by Minors, cyan-colored Stealth Sangheili and Honor Guards and a gold-colored Field Master features an almost identical helmet design, with slightly more angular edges to the armor plating. This armor design also features more distinct shoulder pads.[13] During Operation: WARM BLANKET, Luro 'Taralumee and Thel 'Lodamee (amongst the other Sangheili of the ) employed this alternate design in gold and red coloration, sometimes employing helmets from other harness models.[14]

Combat harness (Fleet of Retribution)[edit]

This combat harness was employed by those Sangheili serving in the Fleet of Retribution during the Battle for Earth and Battle of Installation 00.[15][16] This armor was used in a dark blue coloration for Minors, and with varying shades of crimson/ maroon for Majors, with an additional silver-white variation employed by Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadum. The Special Operations Sangheili N'tho 'Sraom employed a blue combat harness.

This harness includes a failsafe in case the wearer is infected by a Pod infector; when activated, it will explode and kill any Pod Infectors nearby.[17]

Other notable patterns[edit]

While the aforementioned combat harnesses are among the most common observed models, a number of designs are known to be used by the Covenant and its successors with less frequency.


Combat harness variants are worn by many ranks of Sangheili in the Covenant, ranging from Minors to Supreme Commander. The strength of the armor's energy shield vary depending on rank and role, with higher ranking officers bearing more formidable shielding. However, due to the general variance in the Covenant military based on many other factors, many Sangheili above the Minor rank may also wear their own specially-fitted harnesses. These dozens of individual design patterns and variants have their own Sangheili nomenclature, with the general "combat harness" grouping one given by the UNSC.[2] HArnesses could be comissioned on the basis of an individual fleet or shipmaster[3] or even by personal preference of the individual warrior, with color dictating rank and role.[2]

While some Sangheili roles such as Storm, Commander and Warrior have seen a resurgence in the post-war era in factions such as Jul 'Mdama's Covenant, the combat harness is still widely employed even by Sangheili who no longer follow the ways of the old Covenant,[18] notably the infantry of the Swords of Sanghelios - who have adopted their own color scheme in place of those of the Covenant.[19] The post-Covenant empire factions have also seen much more leniency in armor color-coding and configuration compared to the Covenant.[2]

In-game information[edit]

Halo 3[edit]

Helmet characteristics[edit]

  • Unlock: Starter/Default.
  • Description: "The pattern of the basic infantry helmet has remained virtually unchanged now for eleven hundred cycles; it has been burned into the psyche of the known galaxy as the primary symbol of military prowess."

The helmet is largely angular, featuring a set of spikes at the rear of the helmet and a pair of cheek guards. It features a metal plate guarding each mandible.

Shoulder pauldron characteristics[edit]

  • Unlock: Starter/Default.
  • Description: "Iconic deltoid protection emphasizes at extreme distance to inflict momentary psychological bewilderment upon enemy personnel; reinforces awareness of Sangheili physical/martial preeminence."

The shoulder pauldron is a set of overlapping plates that spike upwards, downwards and to each side.

Thoracic cage characteristics[edit]

  • Unlock: Starter/Default.
  • Description: "The basic infantry combat harnesses' thoracic cage has allowed the fighting spirit of our noble race to burn brightly for fifty generations - even during the dark cycles whilst bound to the prophets' will."

The thoracic cage is made up of a pair of plates over either side of the chest with a gap between them and a pair of rectangular lights angled downwards on each side.

Halo: Reach[edit]

  • Unlock: Default.
  • Description: "All who walk the blessed path will find salvation... even in death."

Halo 2: Anniversary[edit]

  • Canon Fodder description: The standard Combat design has established itself as an extremely capable and adaptable pattern that remains popular across all Sangheili factions, even those who have eschewed the ways of the Covenant.


Halo: Combat Evolved[edit]

The armor used by the Elites in Halo: Combat Evolved has a few differences from the armor used in later games. Some Elites have a "curled-back" headpiece, different thigh armors, and smaller shoulder pieces. They also have shoulder armor with a three-pronged design. In addition, they have orange glowing sections on their arms and legs, which often give away their position. Their eye color is also the same as their armor color; a Minor with blue armor will have blue eyes, for example.

Halo 2[edit]

In Halo 2, there are no curled headpieces and the eyes are not the same color as the armor, rather a dark purple or black color. Also, the shoulder pieces are larger than in the previous game. They also have glowing orange sections on the backs of their legs and on their arms which act as shield indicators, glowing brightly when the shield is fully charged and dimming or going out altogether depending on shield level.

Halo 3[edit]

In Halo 3, the armor now features larger shoulder pieces, longer and more numerous spikes on the headpiece, and a small tube connecting to each mandible guard. The tube is only included in the Halo 3 incarnation. There are also downwards-angled lights on both sides of the chest plate. The large orange shield indicators are replaced by two small green lights on the harness' back and chest plate, which are dull when the shield is fully charged and glow bright when the shield is depleted.

Halo Wars[edit]

In Halo Wars, the Elite's armor is more reminiscent of the Halo 2 version as opposed to the Halo 3 version. The shoulders are much more rounded and the coloring in the armor seems worn out.

Halo: Reach[edit]

While the Elite combat harnesses in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary are identical to the ones in Halo: Reach the combat harness is different from the earlier iterations in a number of ways. The other types are also much more varied, depending on the Elite's rank or specialty. Only the Minors' armor greatly resembles the combat harness seen previously. An addition to the armor is the energy dagger which is emitted by the gauntlet when the wearer performs an assassination.

The Elite's HUD compass has Covenant markings instead of cardinal directions. Night vision uses a purple color, as opposed to the green color used by Spartans. The Elite's HUD also features a target tracking system when used with compatible (Covenant) weapons.

Halo 2: Anniversary[edit]

In Halo 2: Anniversary, unlike in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, all of the Elites (with the exception of Councilors, wear the same kind of combat harness albeit with different coloring depending on the rank.


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Halo Waypoint, The Finals Countdown
  2. ^ a b c d e Halo Archive Forums, Canon Fodder and Random Lore Chat - Page 64: "Those are all variations on the "mainline" (as the humans say) combat harness. I'm sure the Sangheili have more specific nomenclature delineations between them ;-) They aren't as divergent as say the Assault, Flight, or Ranger harnesses though. In the first image comparison (the one from this week's CF), it shows two Elites wearing the same base combat harness variant, but one is a minor rank and one is a command rank. Theoretically you might see more mix and match of certain armor styles and color (rank) than you do actually in-game, but there's obviously a balance there for ease-of-identification and gameplay purposes. Keep in mind that the more clearly identifiable color coding seen in the original trilogy isn't necessarily adhered to in post-imperial Covenant factions."
  3. ^ a b Twitter, Jeff Easterling: "The combat harness overall would likely just be pattern commissioned by a particular fleet or shipmaster, and can be used in a variety of different capacities. The executioner's detail should focus more on the helmet, as harness is more an artifact of efficient model use."
  4. ^ a b Halo 3, Combat harness armor permutation description
  5. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, p.125
  6. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Arbiter
  7. ^ Halo 3, Co-op campaign
  8. ^ Halo: Reach, Sangheili assassinations
  9. ^ Halo 5: Guardians, Saturnine visor description
  10. ^ Halo: Fireteam Raven, Sangheili in-game models
  11. ^ Halo: Reach, Sangheili Minor in-game model
  12. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Sangheili Minor in-game model
  13. ^ Halo Wars, Sangheili cutscene models
  14. ^ Halo Legends, The Package
  15. ^ Halo 3, Sangheili in-game models
  16. ^ Halo 3: ODST, campaign level Tayari Plaza
  17. ^ YouTube, Halo 3 AI Battle - Endless Infection Form Waves: timestamp - 4:13
  18. ^ Halo 2: Anniversary, Elite armor permutation description
  19. ^ Halo 2: Anniversary, campaign level The Heretic