Zanar-pattern light cruiser
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
Described by UNSC personnel as resembling a "luminous manta ray", the Zanar is essentially a smaller, weaker version of the Ket-pattern battlecruiser. The design originated as a mutation (albeit a stable one) in the design pattern of the larger Elefen-pattern and Ket-pattern battlecruisers used in a more general role by the Covenant military—resulting in a vessel several times smaller than its forebears though retaining similar proportions and silhouette.
The ship's bow contains a cluster of four sensor vanes, which are prone to exhibiting aberrations during assembly that result in them making the ship appear friendly to Forerunner systems. This can be used to allow the ship to bypass Sentinel installations unharmed. The ship's rear contains the two repulsor engines and their control coils. The Zanar's control coils require careful fine-tuning to prevent disorientation and hallucination when operating at full power.
Unlike the blue-purple lighting used on Covenant military vessels, the light cruisers used in Jul 'Mdama's Covenant fleet exhibited green lighting—though whether this was an intentional design choice or a facet of the Zanar-pattern as a whole is unknown.
The Zanar-pattern is fitted with a relatively modest armament compared to its larger cousins. Despite ostensibly appearing to be a weaker form of its forebears, it is still considered more than a match for most UNSC starships. Its primary weapon systems are a pair of Erex-pattern plasma beam emitters and six top-mounted Sintra-pattern plasma torpedo silos. The torpedoes are swift in flight but difficult to control, resulting in them being used primarily for surface bombardment. On the ship's underside lie four Pok-pattern beam lasers, with two dedicated augur arrays allowing the weapons to target dozens of targets in rapid succession. Unlike the bombardment-focused plasma torpedoes, the high-energy lasers are primarily used for picking off targets of opportunity when minimal collateral damage is required—primarily a function of the vessel's policing usage among Covenant colonies.
Crew and complement
The small size of a Zanar-pattern cruiser means that they have minimal crew facilities—including a total lack of permanent crew quarters. Instead, Zanar-pattern ships are intended to rotate fresh crew members aboard between missions. They are crewed by a single Superior who holds the title of Shipmaster, and eight Menials. They additionally typically hold no on-board troop complement due to their intended function as policing vessels.
The Zanar is fitted with a hangar bay capable of hosting at least a handful of Phantom dropships or other aircraft, alongside an escape pod bay stocking at least ten pods including Gloto'kas-pattern and Gloto'kef-pattern Assault Carapaces. Some ships used by the Covenant's remnants in the post-war era, such as Panom's Canticle, have additionally demonstrated the capability to host a small on-board troop complement—likely a result of the cruiser's converted use as a mainline warship. In extreme circumstances, such as those of Spear of Light's guerilla campaign, a light cruiser may even host as many as fifty warriors.
Within the hull classifications of Covenant ships undertaken by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Zanar is designated the CRS-class light cruiser—owing to the vessel's similar shape to the larger battlecruiser classes more commonly seen during the Human-Covenant War and its origins as a pattern mutation thereof. Despite this, the Zanar was never used in the Covenant military in a role analogous to a cruiser, and the term is simply one applied by humanity. The "R", for Reverence, in the cruiser's three-letter classification code indicates that the cruiser is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions and is capable of excavating Forerunner artifacts. The "S", for Salvation, denotes that the CRS-class light cruiser is a dedicated warship. Zanar-pattern ships are considered effective when used in interference, attack, interdiction and support roles.
Within the Covenant, the Zanar is considered to be an attack ship—something beneath the notice of most fleetmasters or Supreme Commanders and rarely considered in the wider schema of naval warfare. They were used to fill a role similar to that of a police cutter—used for internal patrols and security throughout Covenant space and rarely considered to be a mainline warship. During the empire's reign, Zanars could be found conducting routine inspections and enforcing travel laws, alongside enforcing the policies and edicts of High Charity. Their status as an attack ship means that Zanar-pattern ships do not merit a shipmaster's chair and associated honors—and they were generally considered unpopular assignments for Sangheili crews and thus most frequently assigned as vessels for lower-caste species such as the Kig-Yar and Jiralhanae. Serving aboard a Zanar-pattern cruiser was most often seen as a stepping stone to serving aboard more important ships such as the examiners, leading to their crews being highly aggressive in combat in order to prove their worth for reassignment to more notable capital ships.
During the Human-Covenant War, Zanars proved themselves surprisingly effective against the UNSC Navy early in the war, leading to some Covenant commanders reconsidering their status and beginning to add them to their fleets throughout the conflict. These vessels most often served as internal fleet security, or as escorts for larger warships. Despite the lowly status of a Zanar-pattern cruiser, their crews still believed themselves above the "distasteful" assignment of escort of executor-type ships such as the Sinaris-pattern heavy destroyer. As such, they could rarely be counted on to do little more than basic duties.
Zanar-pattern cruisers emerged in the post-war era as a particularly common vessel to the remnant warlords, due to their versatility and commonality. In many cases, these vessels were picked up and promoted from their policing duties to tools of war. Many Zanar-pattern vessels served as loyal escorts for the procurators of the San'Shyuum flotilla who fled the Fall of High Charity in 2552, while a large stockpile were secured for use by Jul 'Mdama and his Covenant thanks to their raid of an old imperial stockpile on a moon once orbited by High Charity. Jul's Covenant in particular emphasised the use of Zanar-pattern cruisers for the long-term occupation of Requiem, and were used as escorts for his Kerel-pattern assault carriers and Maugen-pattern armored cruisers throughout his campaigns.
Ships of the line
The Zanar-pattern emerged during the Sixth Age of Conflict as a stable mutation of the larger battlecruisers of Covenant usage. It continued to see use internally throughout the Covenant's imperial fiefdoms until the emergence of the Human-Covenant War, during which they saw action in some of the war's first engagements such as the Battle of Chi Ceti—though were ultimately rarely seen by human forces. Their nonetheless successful combat record against humanity during the war did mean that some officers began to consider adding them to their own fleets, if for no other reason than serving as internal policing roles—freeing up other ships for more important assignments. As such for the majority of the war, Zanar-pattern ships were assigned in rear echelon assignments to ensure Covenant supply lines were well protected. This made them a prime target for opportunistic warlords during and after the Great Schism to expand their fleets, using them in more combat focused roles than they were intended for. Light cruisers were later employed during the Battle of Psi Serpentis in 2543 and the Fall of Reach. Simultaneously with the Fall of Reach, multiple Zanar-pattern ships participated in the Battle for Tribute, besieging Casbah City alongside a number of Ceudar-pattern heavy corvettes Later during the same year, they were deployed during the occupation of Earth.
At the onset of the Great Schism at the war's end, Zanar-pattern cruisers were widely seized by warlords across the former-empire. The heavily-modified light cruiser Spear of Light acted as the vessel for Prelate Tem'Bhetek who used it to rescue the Minister of Preparation during the Fall of High Charity and personally destroyed a number of Sangheili-controlled vessels such as the CAS-class assault carrier Eternal Reward. Convinced that Rtas 'Vadum was responsible for the death of his family, the Prelate formed a faction to get revenge upon the Sangheili. The cruiser attacked two Sangheili colonies and ambushed the Shadow of Intent at the second one with the crew abandoning the Spear of Light to board the Shadow of Intent. After the boarders were repelled, the cruiser was captured and its navigation database led the Sangheili to the prototype Halo installation.
Perhaps the most excessive usage of the Zanar was that of Jul 'Mdama's Covenant. After raiding an old imperial moon once-orbited by High Charity, Jul 'Mdama was able to obtain a large stockpile of light cruisers which were used to form the backbone of his fleet as began to consolidate power. Numerous examples accompanied him to Requiem prior to and during the Battle of Requiem—during which they were dispatched in 2557 to investigate the wreckage of UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, before subsequently being destroyed by the firing of one of the ship's Hyperion missiles. Three cruisers made a slipspace jump into Requiem's core to deploy troops around the satellite containing the Didact's Cryptum. At least one of these cruisers, was sucked into the gravity well created by the Didact's Cryptum entering slipspace and was destroyed. Numerous light cruisers were later sent to attack the UNSC Infinity after it crashed into Requiem, but at least two were destroyed by Infinity's defensive turrets and surface-to-air-missile launchers. At least three cruisers were present during the Didact's Raid on Ivanoff Station, deploying Phantoms to stop the station's evacuation efforts.
Zanar-pattern light cruisers continued their occupation of Requiem throughout the remiander of 2557, with Panom's Canticle being specifically tasked with overwatch of the Refuge site. during the Requiem Campaign in February 2558. Many provided escort for an Maugen-pattern armored cruiser that was destroyed immediately after Infinity's emergence from slipspace. They immediately engaged Infinity's Strident-class heavy frigates, though they were quickly destroyed or routed. Light cruisers would proceed to be the bane of Infinity throughout the campaign, with deployments at Two Giants resulting in one such vessel being eliminated via MAC strike by Infinity Sub-Vessel 3 and Panom's Canticle being destroyed via boarding action by Fireteam Shadow during Operation: VERTICAL UMBRAGE. Another Zanar was later used to reinforce the capture of Fireteam Crimson and remained in station over the "Lockup", with a further trio later deployed to the "Warrens" in response to another raid by UNSC forces there. Several ships were later used as a part of the boarding attempt on Infinity, with one being destroyed by the supercarrier's weapons. During the campaign's final moments, many Zanar-pattern vessels were able to escape the planet before it was destroyed, escorting Maugen-pattern armored cruisers to safety.
In July 2558, multiple light cruisers were present on Aktis IV when Jul 'Mdama and Doctor Catherine Halsey set a trap to get the UNSC's half of the Janus Key. Hidden undetected under the planet's ocean, the ships rose to attack the Infinity and her sub-vessels, blocking the UNSC flagship off in low orbit for over seven hours. They were later part of the large force sent to the Absolute Record.
The CRS light cruiser featured in the Axis Studios cutscenes for Spartan Ops was modelled by contract artist Steve "Coolhand" Tyler—a 3D artist specializing in hard surface design and spacecraft modelling. Throughout 2013, Tyler released a series of blog posts on his personal website titled "Big Spaceships", which detailed the creation of the Covenant CRS-class light cruiser and the Maugen-pattern armored cruiser. Throughout the blogs, Tyler refers to the latter RCS-class armored cruiser as a CCS-class battlecruiser and the Zanar-pattern as simply the "cruiser".
During the production of the models for Axis' cutscenes, Tyler was given four weeks to produce the two models—described as "the largest, most complex" models he had built to that point in his career. The light cruiser was the first of the two models to be produced, and used a low-detail model from the game as a base to work from. The bow section of the model was the first to be completed due to being relatively self-contained, allowing Tyler the ability to estimate how much work would be needed for the rest of the model—while using a previous model from another unrelated project as reference for scale and complexity. For detailing, Tyler followed the designs on the in-game models for reference to hull style and guidelines, with reference additionally taken from H.R. Giger's work on Aliens for additional detail. Ultimately, Tyler's model proved too detailed for a ship on a small scale such as the Zanar and his work was instead used as the basis for the larger Maugen-pattern ship. The final Zanar made by Tyler was relatively stripped back compared to the earlier renders (shown below).
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A look at the Zanar's top section—imagined by Tyler to be the ship's bridge.
Renders of the Zanar-pattern light cruiser for Halo 4.
Zanar-pattern cruisers swarm the remains of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn.
Size comparison between the Zanar-pattern cruiser and the Ceudar-pattern heavy corvette.
Zanar-pattern light cruisers attacking the Infinity during the Battle of Aktis IV in Halo Mythos.
List of appearances
- Halo 4 (First appearance)
- Halo: Escalation
- Halo: Shadow of Intent
- Halo Mythos
- Vertical Umbrage
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 194
- Halo: Warfleet, page 72-73
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 265
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 41
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 265
- Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 277
- Halo Waypoint, Covenant Cruiser (Retrieved on Apr 17, 2021) [archive]
- Halo 4, Zanar-pattern light cruiser in-game model
- Halo: Shadow of Intent: "Behind the Prelate’s pod, nine more were launching, each with five Jiralhanae inside. These fifty warriors—the entirety of Spear of Light’s remaining crew—knew they had just punched a one-way ticket, that there was no turning back."
- Vertical Umbrage
- Halo Waypoint, Halo 4 - Vertical Umbrage (Retrieved on Nov 7, 2022) [local archive] [external archive]
- Halo: The Fall of Reach – The Animated Series
- Halo: First Strike, chapter 22
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Memento Mori, level Everything Has Gone Wrong
- Halo 4, multiplayer map Landfall
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Have S'moa (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2021) [archive]
- Halo: Warfleet, page 64-65
- Halo: Warfleet, page 60-61
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Exodus
- Halo: Warfleet, page 68-69
- Halo Legendary Crate, Series 1, Crate 2 artwork (File link)
- Halo: Evolutions - The Impossible Life and Possible Death of Preston J. Cole
- Halo: First Strike, chapter 18: "Two exceptions to this patrol pattern were a pair of light cruisers hovering over Menachite Mountain"
- Halo: Escalation, issue 15
- Halo: Shadow of Intent
- Halo 4, campaign level Dawn
- Halo 4, campaign level Forerunner
- Halo 4, campaign level Infinity
- Halo 4, campaign level Composer
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Departure
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Catherine, level Shootout in Valhalla
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Memento Mori, level Spartan Thorne
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Scattered, level Escape Plan
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Scattered, level Need To Know
- Halo 4 - Spartan Ops, episode Invasion
- Halo: Escalation, issue 19
- Coolhand Graphics, Big Spaceships 003 - Covenant CCS Battle Cruiser - part 1 (Retrieved on Nov 13, 2022) [archive]
- Coolhand Graphics, Big Spaceships 003 - Covenant CCS Battle Cruiser - part 2 (Retrieved on Nov 13, 2022) [archive]
- Coolhand Graphics, Big Spaceships 003 - Covenant CCS Battle Cruiser - part 3 (Retrieved on Nov 13, 2022) [archive]