In the Halo universe, the amount of space-faring combat vessels is staggering. From UNSC, to Covenant and more the black void of the final frontier is hardly empty in this space opera. Unlike Lord Nelson's wooden and steel armada, Halo's ships are constructed of futuristic materials and armed with equally futuristic weapons. So how do these ships stack up against once other, and how and what makes them so intricately formidable?
In part two, I delve into the massive and almost unstoppable Covenant fleet. What are the different ships in their inventory? What are their capabilities, and most importantly what are the sub-classes?
Once again, let me take a seat in the captain's chair, and I'll tell you.
BEFORE YOU READ FURTHER, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ MY PREVIOUS ARTICLE ON HALO UNIVERSE'S IMPLEMENTATION OF FASTER THAN LIGHT TRAVEL.
Created shortly after the Writ of Union, The Covenant fleet is an armada of several thousand ships spanning small exploratory and support vessels, to massive miles long assault craft. Covenant ships are classified into three main sub-classes by UNSC/FLEETCOM standards using letter format. The known letters used in the classification system are A, C, D, O, P, R, S, and V. Of these known letters, only the following designations are known...
O denotes "Ordained". It is not a mission type but rather denotes that the starship is outfitted with a Forerunner augmentation. R represents "Reverence", meaning the vessel can conduct reconnaissance missions and excavate Forerunner artifacts. S represents "Salvation", which refers to any vessel armed with an energy projector. S class vessels are the largest, usually either assault carriers or super-carriers.
All Covenant ships are armored with super light, super resistance nano-laminate materials and high gain energy shielding. More on the subject can be found here.
Many other vessels exist in The Covenant's inventory. The following represents most of the more well known classes and sub-classes.
DCS-Class Support Ship
The DCS-Class Support Ship (DCS-S) was the main non-combat support vessel of The Covenant fleet. Measuring 1,500 metres (4,900 ft,) the DCS-S was of impressive size. The main purpose of the DCS-S is to serve as support, re-supply and recreational vessels for Covenant combat ships. Because of the cultural diversity within The Covenant, each DCS-S supplied a variety of goods to Covenant troops suiting their specific needs. For example, the DCS-S designation "Infinite Succor" was outfitted with several hunting preserves to be used by Sangheili when off duty.
The DCS-S vessels were crewed by hundreds of Huragok and Unggoy, mainly in service roles and maintenance upkeep. Because the ship was of massive size, a considerable number of Huragok were stationed throughout main passageways and corridors to preform their duties. Unggoy crew members maintained living stocks aboard the ship, such as animal, fauna and liquid food-stuffs (the most important being the large quantities of food-nipple liquid nutrients.)
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the DCS-S was its range, and ability to shadow Covenant combat vessels in close proximity. This was due to the fact that despite being classified as a non-combat oriented vessel, the ship wad armed with several plasma generating ordinances. This gave the DCS-S the ability to provide on-going re-supply while at the same time defending itself from attack or interdiction. 
The main flexibility of the DCS-S was that of storage, being a supply vessel it could automatically refill its stocks from its own reserves. This gave the ship incredible longevity, only having to seek port when demand surpassed supply.
Ahead of heavily armed and organized battlegroups, The Covenant main tactic was to send moderately armed SDV-Class Corvettes as advanced scouting and perimeter vessels. The SDV-Class came in at around 956 meters (3,140 ft) and was somewhat smaller sized for its core purpose. However, this size betrayed the massive amounts of internal space including two full hangars, an armory, crew quarters and full-sized spacious bridge section. The internal compartments of the SDV-Class were as followed. Lower decks were used for rapid deployment by way of drop-pod launch bays which number six auxiliary tubes. Mid-decks, which numbered two, were used for ship-wide movement, weapon's platforms, crew quarters and two hangars to deploy both Spirit-Class and Phantom-Class dropships. The upper deck was reserved for the bridge, which at any given time held twenty to twenty-five senior officers or luminaries .
SDV-Class ships had the distinction of being the only Covenant vessel able to provide direct close ground support. This was mainly due to other covenant ships possessing much too powerful weaponry to safely provide ground support without glassing a sizable area. The SDV-Class's internal plasma batteries fired controlled, smaller rounds at lower speeds, allowing for accurate and safe ground support by way of orbital bombardment.
During the invasion of Reach, a single SDV-Class Corvette was able to lay waste to entire sections of New Alexandria, while at the same time avoiding friendly casualties. The vessel was only later disabled after a Spartan-III (Noble-6) was able to activate a battery of heavy anti-ship missiles.
In addition to the six broadside plasma arrays for ship to ship combat, the SDV-Class also boasted three orbital bombardment cannons, a number of point defense turrets and hanger bays which held dozens of Banshee space-combat vehicles for escort and attack roles. Crew comforts were light aboard the SDV-Class, with Unggoy crew having simple bunks, while Sangheili crew had somewhat more comfortable quarters. Often times, crew would simply stand guard near weapons platforms or wander the hanger bays until off-duty. Once the SDV had arrived in system, their roles were superseded by larger, more heavily armed ships.
The CPV-Class heavy destroyer was the workhorse throughout the Human-Covenant war. Produced in the thousands, the ships saw action at every major, minor and battle in-between. The design of the ship was unique within the Covenant's fleet, as the aft section of the ship was used only for the vessel's repulsar engines and little else. The bow section housed all other decks in a bulbous, rounded structure. The bow was constructed into several staggered decks, including operations, crew quarters, bridge, and a sizable portion was dedicated to the ship's primary weapon, a ventral mounted energy projection "glassing beam." Giving credence to the ship's primary armament, the vessel's main role was that of planetary assault and denial.
CPV-Class ships formed around larger battlegroups, often escorting larger ships such as assault carriers and battlecruisers. They had the unfortunate distinction of being known as "heretic ships." CPV-Class ships that served in the forces of the various Ministries of The Covenant were assigned to crews unfit for service aboard other vessels, who had been accused of disloyalty or disobedience, but whose actions did not warrant execution as heretics. Service aboard a CPV-Class ship was seen as a form of redemption, not punishment. However, this meant that crew accommodations aboard CPC-Classes were light, at best. 
CPV-Class vessels operated with specific tactics in mind. That being, to escort larger battlegroups to a destination, then begin "cleansing operations" once the zone of conflict was secured. Cleaning was carried out by way of full bombardment by the ship's massive energy projector. The ship would sweep itself, back and forth in an organized pattered until the surface area of a planet had been completely obliterated. Several CPV-Class ships could glass an entire planet in a matter of hours, larger planets took several days.
Even though the CPV-Class possessed a sizable main weapon, the ship did not carry many other armaments. Other than a few plasma cannons, the vessel was meant to be protected by more heavily armed ships such as cruisers.
CCS Battlecruiser & ORS Heavy Cruiser
During the Human-Covenant War, no other ships were as prolific and as dreaded as the CCS and ORS Class Cruisers. Built during the earliest stages of The Covenant, CCS-Class Battlecruisers were the staple of The Covenant fleet. They were mid-sized ships measuring 1,782 metres (5,850 ft,) or a little over a mile long. The CCS-Class was known for its ability to force project, deploy large amounts of equipment and provide a continuous supply of ground troops to the battle below. CCS-Class vessels were constructed with three staggered decks, with two hangar bays connecting the two more spacious areas of the ship.
These hangar bays, were responsible for deploying Spirit and Phantom class dropships, as well as a sizable complement of Banshee class fighters. Both hangars were also directly connected to the ship's gravity lift, allowing for quick ferrying of equipment, vehicles and troops to the surface of any planet. Lower decks were reserved for troop deployment, operations and weapons control. Mid-deck was utilized strictly for storage, engineering and access corridors. The upper deck housed the bridge, operations crew and the sizable crew quarters area.
CCS-Class ships were armed with some of The Covenant's most devastating weapons. Each side of the vessel had several pulse laser turrets, numerous plasma batteries and a ventral particle beam used for large scale glassing or area denial. CCS-Class were also armed with plasma torpedo turrets, which fired long, powerful bursts of plasma contained and guided by a synchronized magnetic field. Impact of said torpedoes was usually enough to strip most UNSC ships of their armor, or outright destroy them. During glassing operations, only a few CCS-Class ships could obliterate an entire continent of a planet.
The bridge of a CCS-Class Battlecruisers was a sight to behold in terms of efficiency and design. Typically occupied by only the highest-ranking officers, the bridge was a large circular room, which hung over a more spacious lower section. Holographic view-screens lined the bridge area, creating an immersive, tactical environment for officers to best calculate battlegroup movements. This gave CCS-Class ships a sizable advantage over UNSC ships in terms of range, sensor scanning and tactical data. 
Later into the Human-Covenant war, other, more destructive classes of cruisers began to become common place on the battlefield. One such ship was the ORS-Class Heavy Cruiser. Measuring 3,000 meters (9,843 feet,) almost twice as long as a CCS-Class, the ORS-Class could overwhelm an enemy battlegroup almost instantaneously. Having the same type of armaments as the CSS-Class, only in vastly superior quantities, ORS-Class ships could dish out more punishment, as well as take larger amounts of damage before having to retreat. The ORS-Class, designation "Incorruptible," was present at The Battle of Onyx and caused significant disruption in operations to the UNSC presence there. 
After the war, both classes of Cruiser saw heavy use during The Great Schism and the subsequent second war with Humanity. Many of these vessels have become private ships for independent Covenant warlords.
CAS-Class Assault Carrier & CSO-Class Supercarrier
Two classes of ships dwarfed all other known vessels in both the UNSC and Covenant Fleets, they were the CAS-Class Assault Carrier & the CSO-Class Supercarrier. CAS-Class Assault Carriers measure 5,347 metres (17,540 ft,) making them the second largest vessels seen during the war. they are crewed by tens of thousands of Covenant, each from the various species making up the organization. A CAS-Class ship was constructed into more than several dozen decks, split into four different sub-decks. They were, ground operations, command and control, crew quarters and hangar bays. Ground operations is responsible for ferrying large amounts of equipment, vehicles and troops to the surface of planets.
Because of the ships size, at any given time, several thousands troops, vehicles and innumerable supplies were moved downward from the ship's massive gravity lift. A CAS-Class Assault Carrier could project overwhelming force ground-side in a matter of minutes, as was seen during the First Battle For Earth. Command and control decks were responsible for maintaining contact with ground troops and coordinating battle space. In addition, they conducted ship to ship operations and coordinated fleet movement.
The crew quarters aboard a CAS-Class ship bordered on luxurious, consisting of habitat domes, hunting grounds, and places of study for the ship's permanent crew. These habitat domes were large garden areas where the various species aboard could relax, hunt or study during off hours. In addition, luminaries, such as Prophets, were given special quarters away from the rank and file. These special quarters consisted of a large room with a large, forward-facing view-port. 
The hangar bay of a CAS-Class ship was nearly a mile wide, able to launch thousands of craft and dropships and once. CAS-Class ships used this single, sizable hangar bay for storage of fighters, dropships, boarding craft and even small capital ships such as CSS-Class Battlecruisers. This allowed for immense force projection from a single, well fortified vessel. The armaments on such a ship were more than impressive. CAS-Class ships possessed multiple energy projectors and glassing beams. They also bore multiple pulse laser turrets and plasma torpedoes. The main armament of the ship was a singular and massive, downward facing energy projector capable of glassing entire cities in minutes. This beam of energy could also be projected in various directions, capable of cutting clean through most UNSC ships.
The bridge of a CAS-Class ship was large, yet surprisingly similar to the bridge features aboard CSS-Class Battlecruisers. The main difference being that the forward facing screens were set to face the aft of the ship, possibly because the operations sectors were located there as well. Symmetrical design on ships is not unheard of, if only for practicality.
The Covenant also experimented with super-heavy, massive assault carriers. Two production models were built under the CSO-Class Supercarrier banner. Both ships, designated "Long Night of Solace" and "Sublime Transcendence" measured 28.960 kilometers (95,013 ft,) making them the largest ships ever witnessed. These ships had the same design as the CAS-Class ships, but were nearly four times their size. Crewed by possibly hundreds of thousands, CSO-Class ships were only used in the most complicated and large-scale engagements. During the Battle of Reach, Long Night of Solace was able to hold back the entire Reach defense force until reinforcements arrived. Only being destroyed by a make-shift slipspace bomb in an act of desperation by the UNSC. There are no surviving CSO-Class ships within The Covenant fleet. 
A Halo fan since the beginning, 2001. Also a games industry consultant, writer, and educator. These are my thoughts, praise and advice concerning the past, present and future narrative of the Halo franchise.
Halo, all assets within, characters and merchandise are property of the Microsoft Corporation and is developed by its subsidiary 343 Industries.
I do not own, claim to own or retain any rights to the Halo franchise. This is a fan based work, and is strictly non-profit.
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Written, Researched, Produced And Published By Halo-Nation member "Synth Samurai"
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