This article is about the Banshee introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved. For the space fighter variant, see Type-27 Banshee. For the variant introduced in Halo 5: Guardians, see Type-54 Banshee. For the Banished variant, see Banished Banshee.
The Type-26 Ground Support Aircraft (T-26 GSA), more commonly known as the Banshee, was the Covenant's standard ground assault aircraft.
The Banshee is a versatile single-pilot ground assault aircraft. It is usually piloted by Sangheili, though Jiralhanae pilots became common after the outbreak of the Great Schism. The cockpit, in which the pilot rests prone, is encased in a curved, reflective cowling with no discernible windscreen. Though the Type-26A and Type-26C variants leave the pilot partially exposed (particularly the feet and lower legs), the Type-26B version features an enclosed cockpit and thus is capable of space flight with the proper modifications.
The craft has two wing canards, each of which terminates in a boosted gravity propulsion drive including a jet and an anti-gravity pod; these leave a vaporous exhaust trail behind the Banshee. The craft is capable of achieving a velocity of over 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph).[note 1] The Banshee is capable of performing complex maneuvers such as aileron rolls and flips. The Banshee is also capable of hovering, though this ability is not often used.[note 2]
The Banshee sports two weapon pods attached underneath the fuselage; each pod contains a Class-2 plasma cannon capable of firing in the 100-250 kilowatt range and a Class-2 fuel rod cannon. The plasma cannons are deadly to infantry; one bolt can instantly kill a lightly armored target. Armored targets such as the M808 Scorpion MBT can withstand only a few bolts before being destroyed. A direct hit from the Banshee's fuel rod cannon is almost invariably fatal, even to armored infantry. Repeating plasma cannons, which have a greater rate of fire than the standard armament, can be installed at the front of the anti-gravity pods.
Several variations on the standard design exist, though combat performance is fairly standard among all variants. A given craft's architecture is based on its functionality, the year in which is manufactured, the branch to which it belongs, and even the aesthetic preference of the one who commissions the craft. Amphibious attack and escort Banshee variants were commissioned throughout the Covenant's history for the Covenant's oceanic installations and during deep-sea artifact retrieval missions, although they have rarely been encountered by the UNSC.
Banshees used by Sesa 'Refumee's heretic faction.
A technologically advanced variant of the Type-26 Banshee that saw limited service with the Covenant military prior to the Human-Covenant War, the T-26B began to see widespread use in the war around 2550 after human forces diminished the Covenant's stock of older models. Many T-26Bs were commissioned by Jul 'Mdama after the Covenant War for use in his reformed Covenant. The T-26B can be modified to operate in space.
A modified Banshee variant utilized by the Banished. Incorporates design details more closely related to an aerial predator hailing from the Jiralhanae homeworld of Doisac. Many of the Banshees in Atriox's fleets have been modified with brutal and experimental weaponry, usually designed to inflict maximum damage from both a physical and psychological perspective.
The Banshee was first used among Sangheili exploratory fleets prior to their war with the San'Shyuum. The Banshee's design is based on the 'sKelln, a predatory aerial animal native to Sanghelios. The earliest model of the Banshee was the Uztet'sKelln, which, along with other early models, was often used by the Covenant Honor Guard; Sangheili kaidons often commission such craft as their personal transports. The QezoY'asabu ("Obsidian Wing") is another ancient iteration used in stealth operations by Covenant Special Operations units. It is equipped active camouflage and sensor bafflers.
After the retaking of Harvest in 2526 by Admiral Cole, the Covenant, attempting to scout and recover an artifact, deployed multiple T-26A Banshees to scout areas of interest and slow down advancing enemy forces, during the assault on Harvest.
In 2531, during the first assault on the colony world Arcadia, T-26A Banshees were used with Type-29 Vampires to destroy human held positions, killing and causing panic among civilians attempting to flee the Covenant invasion. In addition, the Banshees were used against UNSC military forces attempting to assist with evacuation efforts. During the Battle of the Etran Harborage, the Covenant would deploy T-26A Banshees in efforts to stop not only the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire, but also the Flood and Sentinels too.
As the war dragged on, ground campaigns conducted by the Covenant continued to employ the Banshee as their main attack aircraft. During the assault on Algolis, T-26C Banshees were called in to weaken military forces attempting to protect and destroy valuable data. The UNSC was able to hold off the Covenant just long enough and all ground forces were eventually destroyed with the detonation of a nuclear weapon attached to a prototype armor suit.
Late into the war in 2552, the Covenant launched a surprise assault on Reach, humanity's heavily fortified epicenter of military and economic power outside of Earth. Multiple squadrons of T-26B Banshees were employed to scout and inflict casualties on civilian and military forces alike. When the UNSC Pillar of Autumn escaped, many Covenant ships chased after it. Upon exiting Slipspace, the Pillar of Autumn arrived at Installation 04 and met with multiple enemy contacts. With the Magnetic Accelerator Cannon offline and sustaining extensive damage across all systems, the Pillar of Autumn was forced to crash land onto the construct. Covenant forces deployed T-26B and T-26C Banshees in order to hunt down the remaining UNSC personnel who escaped onto the ring and later engage both Flood and Sentinel forces.
During the opening of the Battle for Earth, Regret's carrier Solemn Penance managed to land in the city of New Mombasa and deploy T-26A and T-26B Banshees. T-26A Banshees were utilized in engaging John-117's M808B Scorpion in an attempt from the Covenant to stop him from getting to sections of the tunnels. With the UNSC entering the city and civilians cut off the Covenant began systematically destroying anything they could before the Prophet of Regret's ship jumped out of New Mombasa, destroying parts the city. In the aftermath of Regret's retreat, the full-scale invasion of Earth began, the Prophet of Truth's Jiralhanae led forces laid waste to many parts of the planet and T-26C Banshees were employed to aid the Covenant in their assault.
During the Raid on the Threshold gas mine Sesa 'Refumee's heretics utilized several T-26AZ Banshees against the Covenant Special Operations group led by Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee and Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee.
As the Battle for Earth raged on, John-117, with the full support of the UNSC In Amber Clad, launched a counter-strike against Regret, who had jumped to Installation 05. T-26A Banshees were deployed in the same manner as they had on Earth. Numerous Jiralhanae-piloted T-26A Banshees would attempt to stop Thel 'Vadamee and Sergeant Johnson as they assaulted Installation 05's control room, to no avail.
With the uncovering of the Portal at Voi, the Covenant moved all their troops and armor to prevent the UNSC military from getting close to it. They deployed T-26C Banshees in the remnants of Voi to dispatch military forces attempting to break through their formation. This task was ultimately accomplished. After the opening of the portal and the arrival at Installation 00 the Covenant deployed all their assets in a last-ditch effort to stop humanity and activate the remaining Halo installations. T-26C Banshees were used wherever possible to halt the UNSC and Fleet of Retribution advance towards the Citadel. The Banshees failed to accomplish this mission and as a result, marked the end of the Covenant.
During the post-war era, T-26 Banshees continued to be used extensively by the various Covenant remnants, although the Hesduros-pattern Type-54 Banshee was also adopted to widespread usage within the major splinter factions. During the Battle of Draetheus V, Merg Vol deployed multiple T-26A and T-26C Banshees to support his troops. Many T-26B Banshees were seen in action in use by Jul 'Mdama's Covenant during the Battle of Requiem and Requiem Campaign, in 2557 and 2558, respectively. T-26B Banshees were popular during War Games matches aboard UNSC Infinity during this time as well. 'Mdama's troops used T-26A Banshees during the Battle of Installation 03. During the Battle of Ealen IV Vata 'Gajat's mercenary group deployed several T-26B and T-26C Banshees against the peace delegation.
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