“Unleashing Hell.”
— Vulture Pilot

The AC-220 Gunship, more commonly known as the Vulture, is a heavy gunship used by the United Nations Space Command during the early years of the Human-Covenant war. The premier aerial combat vehicle for extended air-to-ground battles,[1] it is a successor of the older AC-47, AC-119, AC-130, and AC-163 gunships.[2]

Service HistoryEdit

The largest ground-based aircraft fielded by the UNSC,[3] the Vulture was originally produced to combat the rebel threat during the early years of the Insurrection, though its use during this conflict was viewed as unethical due to craft's immense firepower.[1]

Due to immense combat losses of the AC-220 by at least 2545, the AC-220 has slowly faded out of service. However, Materials Group is contemplating the revival of the AC-220, albeit with the newest tech and improved materials.[4]


It is suspended by a series of directed-thrust jets on the craft's underside and, while its large size makes the Vulture slow, it can sustain incredible amounts of damage before final destruction.[5] The Vulture's armaments mean even a handful of these aircraft can level an enemy stronghold or an entire city.[1] Two pairs of GUA-23/AW/Linkless Feed Autocannons are used for targeting individual ground units,[5] while two Argent V Missile Launchers mounted in the rear give it anti-aircraft firepower. A twin A-74 Sylver Vertical Missile Launcher allows the Vulture to launch devastating rocket barrages which blanket a wide area.[3]

Effective use of the Vulture requires highly trained UNSC pilots and gunners, which makes them expensive to use. This, coupled with the amount of time it takes to build one, means that the Vulture is usually only reserved for difficult and lengthy battle situations.[5]


A slow unit which can take massive amounts of damage before destruction, the Vulture is slower than other UNSC aircraft, such as the AV-14 Hornet and the AV-22 Sparrowhawk, but is armed with a number of missile artillery pods for engaging enemy air units, and is able to fire large barrages of missiles at ground targets. It is also equipped with a pair of hull-mounted autocannons that are powerful, but weaker than their appearance might lead you to believe.[6] In-game, it is considered an "über unit," and is constructed at the airpad, requiring six population, 900 resources, and a tech level of four. It can be upgraded with the Mega Barrage upgrade, doubling the number of missiles fired with the barrage power, also purchased at the airpad at a cost of 800 resource.

The Vulture's main drawbacks are its cost and the large amount of time it takes to build one. It is also vulnerable to fast counter-attacks due to its slow speed and takes a great deal of time to repair. The Vulture should be reserved for buildings and ground units for the greatest effect. Although Vultures possess adequate anti-aircraft ordnance, they should be escorted by Wolverines to mitigate the threat of aerial attacks.


  • It seems to have a problem with its AI in that if you order one to engage a target that is directly underneath it, it cannot target the hostile and will remain stationary until further orders are given.
  • For balance, the Vulture is one of only two vehicle units in Halo Wars that cannot be commandeered by Spartans, the other being the Covenant Scarab. This was changed in Halo Wars 2.
  • It is the only UNSC unit in Halo Wars that does not come out of the firebase upon deployment. Instead, it seems to descend from the UNSC Spirit of Fire, decelerating just before touching the ground.
  • The Vulture is the only air unit that isn't immobilized by a single Vampire's stasis drain, though it is still damaged and can be immobilized by multiple, synchronous drains.
  • Despite being described as an uber unit, it isn't as powerful as the Scarab. However, because you can only build a maximum of 2 Scarabs but a maximum of 6 Vultures, the Vulture can be more powerful in quantity. (with population bonus) It also costs far less.
  • While being glassed with the Prophet of Regret's cleansing beam, this unit will shudder, tip, and be pushed toward the ground, actually scraping the surface at times. However, this has no effect on the actual health of the unit.




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 202
  2. Halo Waypoint article on the AC-220 Gunship
  3. 3.0 3.1 Halo Wars: Vulture
  4. Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Feet First
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Halo Encyclopedia, page 261
  6. Gamepro, July 2009 edition