From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
The Chopper serves as a rapid attack and scout vehicle for the Covenant's Jiralhanae troops. The vehicle is characterised most notably by its shape; the front a pair of extremely large wheels, with the driver located at the back. The driver's seat hovers off the ground when the vehicle is active, and is shielded from the front angles by the wheels, though is completely exposed to hostile fire from the sides and back. The front of the vehicle is equipped with a large ramming targe, capable of allowing the Chopper to cut through obstacles in its path at high speeds. The vehicles also come equipped with weapons on either side of the vehicle; early models simply bearing Spikers as improvised weapons, with later production models employing larger quad-mounted 35mm autocannons firing high-explosive projectiles.
Choppers weigh around 1.1 tons (1 tonne), and can reach a maximum speed of 74KPH (46MPH), with a maximum range of 272 kilometres (169 miles). While driving, the vehicle can conduct short bursts of speed to briefly double its top speed to 120kph (75mph) thanks to two boosters on either side of the vehicle, capable of allowing the vehicle to plow through armoured barricades and light vehicles.
Choppers are often hand-painted by their riders.
The first Choppers were, somewhat ironically, originally constructed for peaceful intentions by the Huragok Lighter Than Some. Intended as a peace offering to humanity, the engineer built the vehicles from parts of a damaged Spirit dropship as farming tools - echoing the design of the JOTUN agricultural vehicles widely employed by the humans on Harvest. However, these vehicles were co-opted by Maccabeus' clan - who believed the vehicles to be weapons of war - and pressed into service during the First Battle of Harvest as cavalry. These early Choppers were jury-rigged with the Brutes' Spikers as weapons. Following the battle on Harvest, the Brutes made improvements to the design, affixing the vehicles with twin pairs of heavy spike cannons and other modifications to suit the vehicle to its role better. By 2531, ramming targes and 35mm autocannons were common weapons employed by the Choppers of the Fleet of Glorious Interdiction, with such autocannons sometimes fitted with stabilizers.
Throughout the Human-Covenant War, the Chopper was primarily manufactured by the Jiralhanae often using scavenged battlefield remains of human and Covenant vehicles. Such Frankenstein-esque vehicles made use of the damaged gravity drives of the Ghost and the armor plating of humanity. Choppers were additionally capable of being manufactured by the factories attached to Covenant citadels. In 2552, production of the vehicles was taken over by the Sacred Promissory of High Charity, using the vast nanofabrication faciltiies of High Charity to produce a vast fleet of top-of-the-line models. Nonetheless, Jiralhanae psychological quirks and poor maintenance habits meant even these vehicles still retained a more utalitarian look and crude functionality when compared to other similar vehicles produced by the Covenant.
Following the Fall of High Charity and the end of the war with humanity, the Chopper did not fall out of production despite the loss of the Sacred Promissory. Instead, the vehicle saw proliferation among many Brute packs and insurgent groups of other species, with Jiralhanae worlds under the rule of warlords and the Banished continuing to produce their own vehicles for use in personal conflicts.
Choppers were first-employed by Maccabeus and his clan during the First Battle of Harvest in 2525. They quickly gained usage elsewhere in the Covenant, with Jiralhanae forces of the Fleet of Glorious Interdiction, under the Chieftain Thrallslayer, employing the vehicles in the Battle of the Etran Harborage. The vehicles continued to see use throughout the war, though saw a prominent resurgence in 2552 as vast quantities were manufactured in secret in preparation for the Great Schism. The war's final days saw the Chopper in a heavy front-line role in the battles of Earth and Installation 00. The vehicle was later one of many pieces of equipment included in Doctor Robert McLees' report Machines, Materiel and Munitions from the Human-Covenant Conflict, 2525 - Present.
Choppers continue to see proliferation in the Post-Covenant War conflicts and the ongoing Sangheili-Jiralhanae war. They have become a vital part of the Banished vehicle fleet, with the organisation employing their own designs of the vehicle.
Jiralhanae Chopper drivers occupy a unique position akin to Cossacks, holding ranks within Jiralhanae society outside of the Covenant military command structure. The vehicles are extremely popular in the Banished, with Banished troops often competing to become a member of the Banished outrider squadrons; a major source injury and death among Atriox's pilots. Jiralhanae would often hand-paint the sides of their vehicles, with the vehicle speculated by an unknown Marine speculating them to be seen as status symbols or mounts within Jiralhanae culture - rather than mere equipment.
The Chopper's origins lie in concept art produced for Halo 2, with a sketch produced by Eddie Smith showing a remarkable resemblance to the final design that would end up in the final build of Halo 3. The design retains the vehicle's general profile, with the only major difference being the inclusion of a canopy on the vehicle's aft. For Halo 3, Bungie designed the chopper analogous to a motorcycle, considering it a vehicle for "tough guys".
List of appearances