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There is more information available on this subject at Self-destruct on the English Wikipedia.
Cortana starts the countdown for the self-destruct as John-117 looks on aboard the UNSC Pillar of Autumn.

The self-destruct is an integrated mechanism present in starships and UNSC military bases and is used to cause a massive explosion to completely destroy itself in order to prevent vital navigational data and strategically-valuable information from falling into enemy Covenant clutches, as per paragraph five of the Cole Protocol. Self-destruct mechanisms are also employed by the Covenant and Banished in their citadels and Outposts.


UNSC Prophecy[edit]

Severely damaged during the Harvest campaign, the UNSC Prophecy was boarded by teams from the UNSC Spirit of Fire to purge its navigation database as per the Cole Protocol. After Sergeant John Forge succeeded in purging the navigation database, the ship's self-destruct was initiated by its AI FitzGibbon to keep the ship out of Covenant hands.[1]

UNSC Pillar of Autumn[edit]

Towards the end of the Battle of Installation 04, Cortana and Spartan John-117 were forced to activate the UNSC Pillar of Autumn's self-destruct sequence in an effort to prevent the Flood parasite from getting off of Installation 04, and particularly keeping 343 Guilty Spark from firing the Halo and wiping out all sentient life within a radius of 25,000 lightyears. Cortana and Master Chief's plan would have successfully worked had not Guilty Spark aborted the self-destruct sequence, and as Cortana was unable to reactivate the countdown, so the Chief proposed using explosives to cause the fusion reactors to go critical and explode, thereby destroying the ring.[2]


Fermion self-destructs as several Covenant ships pass nearby.

The UNSC Remote Scanning Outpost Fermion was forced to enact paragraph five of the Cole Protocol and had to flood the station's reactors with deuterium, causing a critical overload in order to destroy the station's science library, which was offline for repairs.[3][4]

UNSC The Heart of Midlothian[edit]

When the destroyer UNSC The Heart of Midlothian was captured and boarded by the Covenant, the ship's AI, Mo Ye, told Sergeant Michael Baird to go to the bridge to reconnect Mo Ye to the rest of herself and the ship in order to enable the self-destruct and destroy the ship along with its data and all the Covenant aboard. The Heart of Midlothian's self-destruct occurred by shaped nuclear charges detonating inward and igniting the fissionable material in the ship's reactor, causing a greater explosion that destroyed the surrounding Covenant ships.[5]

Pilgrims Pride[edit]

In March 2558, the UNSC Infinity found the damaged freighter, Pilgrims Pride, leaking atomic matter with faint life signs aboard. Infinity tugged the ship into one of its deployment bays. An ambush was sprung within the bay when the freighter set itself to self-destruct and multiple UNSC aircraft exited its cargo bay. Fireteam Majestic was deployed along with Fireteams Colossus and Fenrir to repel the attack and prevent the freighter from self-destructing inside the Infinity. The ship was ejected from the Infinity and exploded in space some distance away.[6]

Radiant Arrow[edit]

During the Skirmish over Netherop, the Shipmaster of the Covenant frigate Radiant Arrow activated the ship's self-destruct after it was boarded by SPARTAN-II Blue, Green and Gold Teams. The Shipmaster depressed a dead man's switch to give his crew time to abandon ship before detonating it. As the rest of the Spartans fled the ship, John-117 attempted to stop as many of the crew escaping as possible. With his last breath, the Shipmaster released the dead man's switch, causing the Radiant Arrow to explode. However, John was able to escape using one of the ship's escape pods and only the Radiant Arrow's crew died in the explosion.[7]

UNSC Starry Night[edit]

After being shot down during the Battle of Seoba, the Prowler UNSC Starry Night had its self-destruct, a one-megaton Fury tactical nuclear weapon in the engineering compartment activated by Linda-058. The self-destruct took out the Starry Night and the Covenant corvette that tried to capture it.[8]

Failed attempts[edit]

UNSC In Amber Clad[edit]

Cortana attempted to blow the engines of the UNSC In Amber Clad in an effort to stop the Flood and to keep the Covenant from firing Installation 05, but was kept from doing so when the Gravemind captured her.[9]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Halo Wars: Genesis
  2. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved, campaign level, The Maw
  3. ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 282 (2001 edition)
  4. ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 286 (2001 edition)
  5. ^ Halo Evolutions, Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian
  6. ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #4
  7. ^ Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 3
  8. ^ Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 15
  9. ^ Halo 2 level High Charity