Suspa Al-pattern Individual Assault Carapace
The Suspa Al is a single-occupant design of insertion pod, hosting only a single Sangheili warrior. The pod is a teardrop-shaped design, with the bottom of the pod serving as an armor-piercing ram capable of punching through the fortified hull of a warship or deep into an armored bunker to deliver their payload deep into the heart of an enemy area. The pod's occupant sits in a shock couch, cocooned in a series of crushing gravitic webs. All of the pod's life-support and safety systems are optimised for use by Sangheili warriors, and the pod's controls give the occupant a great degree of freedom in how the pod maneuvers during a drop, as opposed to the SOEIVs employed by the ODSTs.
When landing, the pod's door explodes off the front of the craft to allow the warrior to swiftly exit and engage the enemy. The door contains inertial compensation stasis generators, which mitigate the risk of the occupant being killed or injured during transit and pre-impact deceleration.
During the empire's height, the Suspa Al design pattern was rarely employed, as artisans allied with the Covenant's Zealot orders jealously guarded the secrets of their construction. Only the most pious of commanders were granted the honour of requisitioning their use, and only their use in battle guaranteed replacements. Many of the Sangheili troops selected for such orbital drops were themselves taken from the Zealot order, or otherwise aspired for membership in their chapterhouses.
Following the collapse of the Covenant, the usage of the Suspa Al remains largely similar to how they were employed during the empire's reign, though the Zealots are now divided in loyalty amongst a large number of successor factions, and exercise less discretion in judging the worthy.
The Suspa Al pattern of drop pod was first seen in the E3 2010 trailer for Halo: Reach. The drop pods were seen used by the Covenant troops attacking the Sabre Program Launch/Research Range at Farkas Lake in an early build of the level "Long Night of Solace", but were later replaced by an alternate visual variant in the final game release. The final design is notably sleeker and rounder, effectively rendering the original E3 model cut content. The later 2017 release of Halo: Warfleet – An Illustrated Guide to the Spacecraft of Halo featured a high-resolution image of the Suspa Al pattern, with a great deal of information provided about its usage by the Covenant empire - effectively bringing the drop pod back from non-canon status.
List of appearances