This article is about the main Wraith model used during the Human-Covenant War. For other types of Wraith, see Wraith.
The Type-26 Assault Gun Carriage is the primary armored ground vehicle used by the Covenant. The Covenant deploys Wraiths in tactical ground engagements, where they serve in both anti-infantry and anti-armor roles. The Wraith's firepower also makes it ideal for destroying structures in the way of ground forces attempting to advance in an area.
Like all Covenant ground vehicles, the Wraith is sleek, bulbous and more reminiscent of an aircraft than a traditional ground vehicle. The Wraith is divided into four main sections: chassis, fins, rudders, and plasma mortar. The chassis houses the cockpit, which includes movement, targeting and firing controls. Holographic control surfaces and displays show the pilot a 360-degree view outside the Wraith. Underneath the cockpit is a boosted gravity propulsion drive, which propels the Wraith and keeps it suspended a short distance above the ground. The Wraith's engine vents excess heat and plasma through an exhaust port at the rear of the vehicle; this port is one of the more vulnerable spots on the Wraith. The wide, sweeping fins at the front of the vehicle stabilize the vehicle on uneven terrain, as well as provide extra thrust during a boost. At the rear of the Wraith are two rudders, which control the turning of the vehicle using independent propulsion drives. The fourth major component is the Wraith's main weapon, a heavy plasma mortar, which rests above and behind the cockpit and can be retracted within the main body. The entirety of the Wraith is covered by nearly two feet of armor plating, which is composed of a polymer that is still poorly understood by human physicists.
The main weapon of the Wraith is its 35 cm plasma mortar. The Wraith's mortar is attached to a fixed mounting, meaning that a Wraith must be facing its target in order to hit it. The plasma mortar works by creating a magnetically encapsulated blob of superheated plasma and firing it at a relatively low velocity. Once fired, the bolt is magnetically guided in a ballistic trajectory until it strikes the ground or target. When the bolt hits, the magnetic bubble collapses and the plasma rapidly expands from its compressed state, creating a superheated explosion that will vaporize everything within twenty meters of impact. Titanium battleplate, concrete, or flesh is instantly obliterated by the blast. Anything just outside of the kill zone is at risk of injury or death — after the initial impact, the plasma begins to cool and thermal expansion takes over, creating a wave of fire traveling outward that can travel away from the initial blast zone. Infantry within range can sustain burns and heat trauma. The explosion also generates a large amount of concussive force, which can splinter bones and destroy vital organs. Flammable materials are especially at risk of igniting due to the intense heat release and can cause further damage. Once the heat from the explosion dissipates, the blast zone will have been converted into a glass-smooth surface - much like the swaths of vitrified soil created by "glassing".
The Wraith is also equipped with an anti-infantry plasma turret. All Wraiths in service up to 2549 were equipped with two automated plasma cannons, while later models swapped these for extra-passenger space and a Type-52 DESW ring mount. Both varieties of turret are able to burn through armor and flesh, with predictably gruesome results. Against infantry, the cannon's plasma causes severe fourth-degree burns.
With the exception of the Scarab, the Wraith is the Covenant's most destructive mobile armor. Its huge bulk is well shielded from small arms fire, and it is resistant to medium explosive weapons. Its ability to be deployed with the aid of dropships makes insertions into the battlefield fairly easy. Its plasma mortar can easily decimate infantry and vehicles alike, and its destructive powers are so well known to UNSC forces that the mere sight of one on the battlefield can induce psychological effects. One of the benefits is the mortar function due to the trajectory that can suppress any incoming enemy from behind the wall, or those who are stationed at the rooftop that can't be reached by a Scorpion Tank's trajectory. While it's not suitable for head to head battle, it is most suitable to conduct a suppression fire mainly against enemy infantry.
The Wraith's main disadvantage is its slow speed, due to the vehicle's massive weight. While the boost drive can propel the vehicle to moderately high speeds, the maneuverability of the vehicle is compromised — turning becomes difficult during a boost, and the momentum that is built from it makes it is possible for the vehicle to inadvertently plow through friendly forces, crash into and get lodged between stationary objects, or overshoot its mark and skate off of a cliff or into a body of water. The Wraith is also poorly suited for scaling inclines.
Like most tanks, the Wraith has a "dead area", a zone in which the plasma mortar cannot fire without risking damage to itself. The slow speed and cumbersome nature of the Wraith makes it prone to boarding action — while the front of the tank is harder to board because of the plasma turret(s), the rear is highly susceptible to boarding. A small rotating cylinder exhaust port in the back is a vulnerable spot that, if hit with a medium explosive device or anti-materiél weapons fire, can damage the tank severely. The exposed gunner operating the Type-52 DESW is also an easy target for marksman and sniper fire.
Since its weaponry is designed to be used against non-mobile or low-mobility targets, and its weight and wide profile prevent it from maneuvering with any deal of speed and accuracy, the Wraith is a very soft target for high mobility vehicles, such as a Warthog or a Ghost, and is at a high risk of destruction against a vehicle with a much more accurate heavy weapon (such as the Scorpion with its direct-firing 90mm cannon).
The Plasma Mortar is also ill-suited for long range combat, as it moves so slowly that even units with low mobility-such as the Scorpion tank-can dodge it.
Honor Guard Wraith
The Honor Guard Wraith is a variant of the Type-26 Wraith, but has Honor Guard-colored armor.
The Type-26 Wraith has numerous turret configurations.
The Type-26 Wraith has a configuration with no turret.
Single turret configuration
The Type-26 Wraith has a configuration with one turret.
Two turret configuration
The Type-26 Wraith has a configuration with two turrets.
Type-52 DESW configuration
All Type-26 Wraiths made after 2549 had Type-52 DESW ring mount.
The Wraith has been in service to the Covenant for over a century, and has served in countless engagements during the Human-Covenant War. After the retaking of Harvest in 2526 by Admiral Cole, the Covenant, attempting to scout and recover an artifact, deployed multiple Wraiths during the assault on Harvest.
Throughout the war the Covenant deployed Wraiths during ground campaigns against civilian and military targets. Wraiths would commonly target civilian evacuation transports still on the ground and platforms and structures leading to them, or would fire and kill large groups of civilians crowded together. In 2531 during the first assault on the colony world Arcadia, multiple Wraiths were used in this situation to kill panicking civilians attempting to flee the Covenant invasion. The tanks assisted in destroying structures and platforms holding civilians waiting for evacuation. In addition, the tanks were used against UNSC military forces attempting to assist with evacuation efforts. During the Battle of the Etran Harborage Wraiths were used by Covenant forces against not only the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire but also the Flood and Sentinels as well.
As the war dragged on, ground campaigns conducted by the Covenant continued to employ the Wraith as their main heavy armored vehicle. During the assault on Algolis the Wraiths 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.
As the war with humanity was reaching its apex, the Covenant began updating and building up their military campaign against humanity. A new model of the Wraith was introduced to help address some issues with older models. During the invasion of Sigma Octanus IV in July 2552 the Covenant deployed numerous tanks to take out strategic areas on the planet including military bases and civilian structures. No sooner had that battle finished the Covenant launched a surprise assault on Reach, humanity's heavily fortified epicenter of military and economic power outside of Earth. Multiple divisions of Wraith tanks were employed to inflict mass casualties on civilian and military forces alike. Their campaign was successful destroying major military and civilian transports, structures and killing countless in the process.
When the UNSC Pillar of Autumn escaped, many Covenant ships followed it to a Halo installation. With its discovery, the Covenant rushed to destroy the human ship as fast as possible, but when the Autumn crash landed, the Covenant was forced to land on the ring and hunt down the humans. During the campaign on Halo the Covenant deployed Wraiths to protect structures and destroy human encampments. Their campaign ultimately failed when the Halo was destroyed by John-117.
During the opening of the Battle of Earth, the Solemn Penance managed to reach the city of Mombasa. In the short but bloody campaign, the Covenant was able to land armor and troops into the city. Wraiths quickly moved in to cut off civilian evacuation by the city's rail system. With 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 Covenant laid waste to many parts of the planet and Wraiths were on the forefront of the ground assault.
As the Battle for Earth raged on, SPARTAN-117 with the full support of the UNSC In Amber Clad launched a counter-strike against Regret, who had jumped to Installation 05. Wraiths were deployed in the same manner as they were on Installation 04, but with the threat of the UNSC, the Covenant relied on more aggressive tactics with their Wraiths to do anything possible to stop the advance of SPARTAN-117. The subsequent outbreak of the Flood and internal conflict that consumed the Covenant, however, left all involved to fend for themselves, after the conclusion of the battle for Installation 05 the Covenant reorganized and made a final push offensive on Earth.
With the uncovering of the Portal, the Covenant moved all their troops and armor to prevent the UNSC military from getting close to it. They deployed Wraiths to dispatch military forces attempting to break through their formation. 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. Wraiths were front and center in this operation, although ultimately, they lost to their human enemies. During the post-war era Wraiths were popular during War Games matches aboard Anvil Station and the UNSC Infinity. Wraiths were used by Merg Vol's Covenant during the Battle of Draetheus V in 2554. Many would be destroyed by both Spartans Sarah Palmer and Edward Davis with the help of the UNSC Marine Corps and UNSC Army.
Four years after the end of the Human-Covenant War, Jul 'Mdama's Covenant continued to use the Wraith. Multiple Wraiths were used in the attack on the UNSC Infinity's crash site. Several were later used in defense of the Forerunner particle cannons. Wraiths were also used during the Didact's Raid on Ivanoff Station in their attempt to secure the Composer. The faction utilized a number of Wraiths during the Battle of Installation 03. Wraiths were deployed to many sites across the interior of Requiem during the combat within the planet six months later. 'Mdama's faction would again use Wraiths during the conflict on Aktis IV. A rebel offshoot of 'Mdama's faction led by Sali 'Nyon also possessed at least one Wraith. During Operation: ATHENA 'Mdama's forces used multiple T-26 Wraiths in an attempt to stop a team of Spartan-IVs.
List of appearances