Archer Missiles are ship-to-ship missiles carried by UNSC capital ships for engaging enemy warships in space combat. UNSC ships usually carry large numbers of them, their sheer numbers making up for their under performance against Covenant shield technology, though unprotected ships are able to be destroyed by Archer missile strikes to the hull and superstructure.
Prior to the Human-Covenant war, the UNSC found the missiles to be effective against combatant ships, likely Insurrectionist-controlled ships. Against the Covenant, however, they realized that the defensive measures employed by the enemy ships such as energy shields and point defense lasers suddenly rendered Archer missiles near-obsolete - lasers were able to pick off up to half of the missiles launched, and those that hit were rarely enough to penetrate the shields. At least one Covenant ship class, the DAV-class light corvette, possesses jamming measures that interfere with the guidance systems. Tactics were developed to counter this, using the more devastating but slower-firing Magnetic Accelerator Cannons to break through the shields, rendering the hulls vulnerable, but on the whole Archers proved to be ineffective weapons against the Covenant. Smaller ships, such as boarding craft or fighters, are much easier targets, and Archers may be used in support of ground forces, launched from orbit to strike a ground-based target.
Archer missiles are usually stored in pods of thirty, although Destroyers and Cruisers employ oversized missile pods to carry a larger payload. Both Frigates and Destroyers carry twenty-six pods, though as mentioned, Destroyers carry a larger number per pod. The Halcyon-class light cruiser UNSC Pillar of Autumn may have possessed as many as 300 missile pods.
M58 Archer Pods
These are the standard Archer missile pods used during the Human-Covenant war.
M42 Archer Pods
These are the new version of the Archer Pods used on the UNSC Infinity.
- Halo: Contact Harvest quotes that "A single Archer missile can disable all but the most heavily-armored UNSC ships." The UNSC fires hundreds of missiles at each Covenant ship giving testimony to the incredible defensive capabilities of their shields and point-defense lasers.
- When the UNSC In Amber Clad arrived at Delta Halo from Slipspace, a bridge officer under the command of Commander Miranda Keyes says, "Archer pods are cold. I'll need to rekey the system." This is the first of the 2 mentions of Archer Missiles in all the games. The second reference is in Halo 3 during the Battle of Installation 00.
- During the Fall of Reach, there was an enormous and deadly Covenant ship that Captain Keyes tried to stop. The Archer missiles only "scratched" the armor. He later destroyed it with a Shiva nuclear warhead.
- There is a "Radioactive" symbol on the silver plates opposite of every archer pod opening.
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: The Flood (Mentioned only)
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo 2 (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo 3 (Pods only)
- Halo: Contact Harvest (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Reach (Pods only)
- Halo: Fall of Reach
- Halo 4
- Halo Wars 2