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YSS-1000 Sabre

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Sabre redirects here. For the SPARTAN-III team, see Team Saber.
YSS-1000 Sabre
Sabre-class Starfighter.png
Production information


Space fighter


Planetary/orbital defense

Technical specifications


24.6 meters (80.7 feet)[1]


18.9 meters (62.1 feet)[1]


  • Two main engines and wing-mounted thrusters
  • Detachable multi-stage booster rocket system



  • One pilot[1]
  • One radar intercept officer[1]
Chronological and affiliation


Human-Covenant War






The YSS-1000 Prototype Anti-Ship Spaceplane[note 1], commonly known as the Sabre, is a highly classified planetary defense starfighter used by the UNSC Navy in surgical orbital combat.[1][3][4][5]


Animated schematics of the Sabre fighter.

Design details[edit]

The YSS-1000 was designed to offer the UNSC a swift, versatile, and lethal defense interceptor that could engage Covenant forces in deep space and low orbit, preventing them from establishing a dominant position before ground engagements.[6] It can be launched vertically from a ground-based launch platforms using a system of seven-stage detachable rockets to propel itself out of a planet's atmosphere into low orbit[4][7] without the use of asynchronous linear-induction, nuclear technology,[3] or other traditional means of surface-to-orbit transit. The Sabre also possesses powerful energy shielding technology, which covers all areas of the craft and quickly recharges when depleted.[1][3][4]

The Sabre is designed for the dual purposes of peak acceleration and maneuverability in orbital combat, due in large part to a powerful afterburner system. This emphasis on speed and responsiveness enables the Sabre to perform feats that other human single ships cannot accomplish, and even allows the craft to compete favorably with the Covenant's more technologically advanced Type-31 Seraph fighter. The Sabre is capable of performing complex aileron rolls, Split S maneuvers, and Immelmann turns.[8] The starfighter's engines are maintained and repaired by engine service modules in Sabre engineering facilities inside orbital refit stations. The MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor/Aviator helmet is recommended for use by Sabre crew members.[9]


The Sabre's armament includes twin M1024 30mm autocannons as well as twin-linked ST/Medusa missile pods; these missiles are capable of maintaining a lock on even fast-moving and highly evasive craft which could likely "shake" most projectiles. The Sabre's targeting computer can identify enemy contacts from a long distance, as well as show the distance to a target. The craft is intended for lethal encounters, not for simply disrupting or disabling targeted craft.[1][3]

Operational history[edit]

The Sabre was developed by the Sabre Program in 2547,[2] a top-secret project in which SPARTAN-B312 was a pilot at some point.[5] However, the fighter proved too expensive to enter full production given the loss of critical Inner Colony manufacturing hubs to the Covenant and the shortage of skilled pilots, though most of these issues had been resolved by 2552.[2] The craft's existence has been denied by three separate administrations[8] and the program has remained secret throughout its existence.[1][3]

The earliest known use of the Sabre was during a counter-insurgency operation on Mamore on May 10, 2552. SPARTAN-B312 demonstrated great skill in piloting the Sabre, thus gaining the approval of Colonel Urban Holland and resulting in the Spartan's assignment to NOBLE Team.[10]

A Sabre fighter in the repair bay of Gamma Station.[11]

Multiple Sabres were stored in launch facilities across the surface of the planet Reach, including the newest facility near Farkas Lake.[1][3] In addition, the orbital platform Anchor 9 had several Sabres stored in its launch bays[8][12], and Gamma Station was equipped with repair facilities to service Sabre fighters.[11] When the Covenant arrived in the Epsilon Eridani system in the summer of 2552, the UNSC replaced select F-41 Broadsword squadrons with Sabres to combat the Covenant.[2] During the Fall of Reach, SPARTAN-B312 and Jorge-052 of NOBLE Team used a Sabre during Operation: UPPER CUT, in which multiple Sabres were used to board the Covenant corvette Ardent Prayer in order to use it to deliver a makeshift slipspace bomb to the Covenant supercarrier Long Night of Solace. Before assaulting the corvette, the Sabres were used to defend Anchor 9 against several Banshee interceptors, Seraph starfighters, and Phantom gunboats.[8] SPARTAN-B312 and the other pilots were able to land on the corvette after disabling its engines and destroying its fighter escorts in order to use it and the slipspace drive to destroy the supercarrier.[8] The mission succeeded but the Sabres were destroyed, as the strike team was unable to return to them due to damage to the corvette and was thus forced to abandon them.[1][8][13]

Sabre production continued after the Fall of Reach,[9] with only a few hundred craft total being built during the Human-Covenant War. In spite of this, the operational squadrons were able to rack up an impressive kill count.[6] Had Reach not fallen to the Covenant, the UNSC planned to attach all Sabres to the UNSC Navy's remaining carriers and then deploy the fighters to lead ships in the most experienced squadrons and battle groups—organized in the specialist Orthrus Battle Group formation.[2] Although the fighter never saw mass production due to its experimental nature, it remained in service at Office of Naval Intelligence facilities in the Sol system and other confidential locations following the Covenant War. However, upgrade packages inspired by the Sabre have been fitted to GA-TL1 Longsword‎s and Broadswords,[14] notably including the energy shielding system applied to the latter.

Identified Sabres[edit]


The Sabre is usable only in the space combat segment of the level Long Night of Solace.

Like other vehicles in the Halo games, the Sabre is piloted from third-person view. The heads up display, located near the center of the screen, shows the weapon currently in use, thruster heat, as well as the hull and shield integrity of the Sabre. Enemy ships are identified by type and highlighted with a distance marker once the targeting reticle is moved on them. The HUD is slightly different depending on the weapon used at the time.

Pitch and direction change is controlled by the right thumbstick, while the left stick controls speed.[15] However, if the player holds down the Right Bumper, a few changes are made. The auto-level functionality is disabled and left and right on the left thumbstick give full control over roll.[16] This was a function that was initially always enabled and was cut during testing, only to be re-instated at the very last minute by holding the RB button down, and so is not mentioned in the manual, the official guide, or even within the game itself.[17] The Sabre also has a boost function, which uses its wing-mounted thrusters. This fills up the thruster heat bar,which needs to cool down after continuous usage. A variety of maneuvers such as aileron rolls - often misidentified as 'barrel rolls' - and Immelmann turns can be performed by using the left bumper.[18] The weapon in use can be switched between the machine guns and missiles with the Y button. The autocannons have an additional reticle leading the target, and the missiles can lock-on to enemy ships.[19]

In Halo: Reach, crucial aspects of astrodynamics are overlooked for the sake of gameplay. For example, when thrust is cut, the Sabre no longer maintains a constant velocity. In reality, a spacecraft's momentum would propel it forward indefinitely as friction is not present.


  • Like the Longsword, Shortsword and Broadsword, the Sabre is name after a bladed weapon.
  • Although Bungie experimented on implementing the Sabre into multiplayer, it only appears in the campaign due to balance issues.[19]
  • Despite being highly classified and officially non-existent, some sources erroneously describe the Sabre as being the primary defense fighter of the Inner Colonies.[20][21]
  • The Sabre launch sequence in Halo: Reach appears to have been inspired by NASA's Space Shuttle program, in both components and angles used for the cinematic. Several angles of the Sabre's launch sequence use similar camera angles seen during Space Shuttle launch, and the on-board cameras are used to examine foam loss on the external tank. The design of the Sabre's own external tank is somewhat based on that on the Shuttle, especially its orange color.
  • The Sabre has a very similar overall shape to the F-99 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle, including the position and shape of the vertical stabilizers.
  • It is possible for the player to ram the Sabre into an enemy Seraph or Banshee and destroy it. This will award the player the Splatter Medal. Interestingly, colliding with or ramming a Covenant drop pod will destroy a fully-shielded Sabre and kill the player, despite the pod's small size. The death will register as "Collision Damage" and the player will receive a "Collision Damage" kill, but will not receive a splatter medal.
  • Early in Halo 2 development a Strike Fighter was planned but ultimately cut. Concept art for the Strike Fighter bears strong resemblance to the Sabre, suggesting this concept art may have served as a starting point for the Sabre.


Animated gifs[edit]


Concept art[edit]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ The "Y" in the designation designates the Sabre as a prototype vehicle in accordance with the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system, while Halo: Warfleet p.17 clarifies the "SS" hull code to designate an Anti-Ship Spaceplane.