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A pair of Banshees flying over the control room of the Halo Installation 04.

"Banshees of legend warned of death, and today all UNSC veterans know the cry of this glittering alien terror.[1]"

Banshee is the name applied to a series of Covenant atmospheric/exatmospheric support aircraft.[2] The Office of Naval Intelligence has typically type-classified encountered banshee variants used during throughout the Human-Covenant War under the designation of the Type-26 Ground Support Aircraft (T-26 GSA).


Design details[edit]

A blueprint of the Irdnekt-pattern Banshee.

A prolific aircraft, the Banshee has been used by ancient Sangheili, Covenant forces and Covenant remnants.[2] 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.[3][4] 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).[1][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]

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,[5] the year in which is manufactured, the branch to which it belongs,[6] and even the aesthetic preference of the one who commissions the craft.[5] 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.[5] 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.[7]


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.[8][9] 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.[10]

The fuel rod cannons mounted on the Anti-Air Wraith and the Banshee use the heavier Class-3 fuel rods, which have a greater range and a capability to track heat signatures.[11][12] The Seraph is additionally equipped with four fuel rod cannons, which are capable of locking onto air targets.[13]


Personalized variants

Non-canon and dubious canon appearances[edit]

Silver Timeline[edit]

Main article: Silver Timeline

Is'belox-pattern Banshees are used by the Covenant against humanity.[19]

In 2552, a surviving Sangheili escaped from Madrigal on a Banshee after witnessing John-117 activate the Forerunner keystone.[20]

Related vehicles[edit]

  • Seraph – A Covenant space fighter.[21] Used alongside the Elsedda-pattern Banshee and in a ground support role.[22]
  • Bkowe'nei-pattern Vampire – A seldom seen atmospheric aircraft used by the Covenant,[23] with impressive anti-aircraft capabilities.[24]


  • In Celtic mythology, a banshee is a female spirit who wails for the death of a particular person before they die. Banshees must steal souls from people to continue their existence. The high-pitched sound made by the Covenant Banshee is a reference to this, especially while performing tight maneuvers making it easy to hear them before one sees them. This also fits the theme of Covenant vehicles, with the exceptions of the Excavators, being named after supernatural entities.
  • In Halo: Reach, on the Firefight map Holdout, AI Banshees have been known to abruptly dive and boost straight into one of the platforms at full speed, destroying the Banshee, and often killing a player in the process. It is unknown whether this is a programmed "suicide attack" or a glitch. Oddly enough, the Banshees at the start of the campaign level Tip of the Spear have also been known to do this, even though they are scripted to destroy the warthog and fly away.
  • The Banshee can be obtained as an avatar prop by purchasing the Halo: Reach controller for the Xbox 360.
  • Skyjacking a Banshee in Halo: Reach campaign will reward the player the achievement "Banshees, Fast and Low".
  • Banshees use anti-gravity pods on the ends of their wings to fly. However, in Halo 2, and appearing again in Halo: Reach a Banshee can have both of these pods shot off and still fly normally. It is unknown if Bungie intended for the Banshees to have an emergency propulsion system, or if this was simply overlooked in the making of the game.
  • On the cover of the Halo: Combat Evolved, the two Banshees appear to be un-piloted as the top canopy enclosing the pilot is up. Also, the two Banshees that shoot down Foehammer in the level The Maw had open canopies. In addition, the Escort Banshees used to escape Truth and Reconciliation in Keyes arrive and land in the hangar with their canopies open. These instances seem to indicate that a Banshee canopy opens during scripted events in Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • In Halo: Reach, if a player shoots or melees the Banshee to its damage threshold and attempts to turn the vehicle in the air, the Banshee will be unable to turn in midair because there are no wings to support its turns. It is possible that the pilot relies on the Banshee's rudders and the player's body weight when at this critical degree of damage.
  • A well-aimed sniper shot can go through the crack between the canopy and the body of some incarnations of the Banshee, killing the pilot without doing damage to the Banshee itself.
  • In Halo: Reach, with enough precision a rocket can be shot through the crack between the cockpit and hull and not harm the Banshee.[25]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ The Art of Halo: Creating a Virtual World (page 128) list the Banshee's maximum flight ceiling as being estimated to be between 100 and 300 meters; Halo: First Strike (page 27, 2003 edition) also places the Banshee's flight ceiling at "about three hundred meters". Halo 2 shows Banshees operating roughly midway to the top of High Charity's dome (a height of several kilometers) as well as in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant. Halo 4 reveals that modified Type-26 Banshees can operate even in space, making the original data suspect.
  2. ^ The Banshee's inability to hover in most games is more likely a gameplay conceit than an element of canon. Presumably, all versions of the craft are capable of hovering.


  1. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 265
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Halo Waypoint: Banshee
  3. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named H4VG
  4. ^ Halo 4, campaign level Dawn
  5. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint - Banshee
  6. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 18
  7. ^ Halo Waypoint - Canon Fodder: The Art of War(s)
  8. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved, game manual
  9. ^ Halo: The Flood, page 51
  10. ^ Halo Wars
  11. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 9
  12. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 283
  13. ^ Halo: Reach, Seraph in-game vehicle
  14. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 287
  15. ^ Joyride Heretic Banshee description
  16. ^ Halo 2: Anniversary, campaign level The Oracle: "Hot Pursuit" cutscene
  17. ^ a b c Halo 5: Guardians
  18. ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder #100 - Sweet Centennial
  19. ^ YouTube - Paramount+, Halo The Series (2022) Official Trailer (Retrieved on Mar 14, 2022)
  20. ^ Halo: The Television Series, episode Contact
  21. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, p. 169
  22. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level, Long Night of Solace
  23. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, p. 200
  24. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), p. 283 (2011)
  25. ^ YouTube - Achievement Hunter : Halo: Reach - Fails of the Weak Volume 66