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The Warthog is as much a part of the UNSC as boots, guns, and tasteless coffee.
The first set of Warthogs were produced in 2319 in prototype form. These vehicles were known known as the "Z-12". These prototype vehicles quickly established themselves through a well crafted advertising campaign that showcased the vehicle in the outlands of Luna and Mars.
- Main article: Insurrection
- Main article: Human-Covenant war
By 2558, the UNSC forces working with the Swords of Sanghelios developed new Warthog variants using their technology. One was called the "Vespin Rocket Warthog", an M12R1 that had been upgraded with technologies from Sanghelios' past. Another variant was the "Sword Needler Warthog", an M12 LRV upgraded with shields and a minigun that fired Subanese crystals.
The M12 FAV Warthog is the UNSC's primary ground vehicle, used for its scouting and reconnaissance capacity, or as an integral part of a mechanized infantry unit; the M12 has been a part of the UNSC's armored vehicle fleet for two centuries, and is the most recognizable vehicle in their arsenal. It is a highly mobile, all-wheel-drive, all-wheel-steering, ICE-powered (Internal combustion engine) vehicle equipped with a continuously-variable transmission.
The M12 is a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle capable of going over any obstacle without much difficulty; under the hood is a forward-housed low-profile liquid-cooled hydrogen-injected ICE I/C plant, coupled with an infinitely variable transmission (IVT). According to a marine's quote, it has a 36-inch ground clearance, however if you look at it ingame, it appears to be only about a foot tall. However, it could mean that with the massive expansion size, as when in mid-air, the suspension extends to 36-inches. The hydrogen fuel is burned at very high temperature with a synthetic carbon/silicon catalyst to achieve even better fuel consumption. This hydrogen engine is the standard among all UNSC ground based vehicles, having replaced the use of fossil fuel-based engines some 400 years ago.
The M12 features a Graf/Hauptman Solar/Saline Actuator, and will convert up to twelve liters of fresh, brackish or salt water into hydrogen on the fly, detritus is compacted on board, this allows the Warthog to travel 790 kilometers or 490 miles before it needs to be refueled. Inexperienced drivers can find the M12 to be a huge and unwieldy vehicle, but it is actually very fast and highly maneuverable in the hands of a skilled driver. With proper application of the hand, or "e-brake" the M12 can actually turn on a dime. Massive disc brakes and its automatic braking systems allow the vehicle to come to a near immediate, but controlled, stop, should the driver be ejected or choose to leave the vehicle. The Warthog's tires have moved away from previous inert-gas pocket inflation with equally burst-proof single unit nanotube skeletons. They provide the buoyancy and ride of gas-pocket tires, but are nigh-indestructible. The relatively massive tires are a joint project between Michelin-Vance and AMG.
The M12's design places it into the jeep family of vehicles; it has no doors and has a total seating of two or three. The M12's description as a reconnaissance vehicle is, at best, an understatement; the M12 has both offensive and defensive capabilities. The M12 can be configured to become a troop carrier, armament carrier, ambulance, reconnaissance vehicle, or communications vehicle. All M12-based vehicles are designed to travel both on and off-road, in all weather conditions.
The M12 is the workhorse of light infantry ground vehicles; it is adaptable to almost any situation, maneuverable, and is arguably the most customizable vehicle with the most variants in the military's fleet, similar to the older jeeps used in the 20th century. It is able to reach top speeds of 125 km/h (78 MPH) and, more importantly, swings around rapidly to allow the gunner a better angle on a prospective target. The mounted M41 chain gun can cut down heavily armored infantry within seconds, this also applies to shielded infantry as well. With enough controlled fire from the 12.7X99mm armor-piercing rounds, the M41 can easily rip through the armor of a Covenant Ghost and destroy it. The Warthog's titanium armor, though light, is tough enough to take at least one fragmentation grenade and keep rolling and can withstand small amounts of energy weapon fire. It also makes for an impervious recon and transportation vehicle, able to make a smooth getaway or rapid infiltration if necessary. It can run on pure water, or urine if necessary, allowing it to be deployed in many different environments, while maintaining the vehicle's fuel is less of an issue.
Due in part to its speed, the M12 is prone to roll over. It is vital that the driver can get in and out of dangerous situations without flipping the hard-to-right vehicle. The open nature of the Warthog always puts its driver and passengers at risk as a good marksman can easily take down the driver or passengers of the M12. A well thrown frag grenade can flip a Warthog, which will knock the driver and passenger out of the vehicle. Although the armor of the M12 is tough, a couple of direct hits from grenades or a well placed rocket will destroy it immediately. Covenant energy weapons are the biggest threat to the Warthog; a short burst from a Banshee's light plasma cannons is deadly, able to melt and punch through the armor with ease. The Warthog is also vulnerable to the Banshee's Fuel Rod Gun which can reduce the vehicle to twisted charred metal with one strike. Infantry plasma weapons can inflict moderate damage, and, like all vehicles, is rendered temporarily inoperable by a hit from an overcharged Plasma Pistol. Therefore, it is essential that the driver take advantage of the Warthog's speed to avoid enemy fire.
The M12 Warthog can be configured for various roles including the M831 TT which eliminates the support weapon in favor of four side-facing passenger seats, the M864A with an enclosed passenger compartment and treads in place of wheels, the M914 RV equipped with a towing winch and a heavy duty motor and gear system, armament carrier, ambulance, or communications vehicle. All M12-based vehicles in service with the UNSC are designed to travel both on and off-road, in all weather conditions.
|M12 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle||The M12 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, features a mounted M41 LAAG, or the M46 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun in the post-war variant.|
|M12G1 Light Anti-Armor Vehicle||The M12G1 Light Anti-Armor Vehicle, commonly known as the "Gauss 'Hog," features a mounted M68 ALIM Gauss Cannon.|
|M12A1 Light Anti-Armor Vehicle||The M12A1 Light Anti-Armor Vehicle, commonly referred to as the "Rocket 'Hog," features a mounted 102mm SC-HE Rocket Turret.|
|M12R Light Anti-Aircraft Vehicle||The M12R Light Anti-Armor Vehicle, also commonly referred to as the "Rocket 'Hog," features a mounted M79 MLRS.|
|M831 TT (Troop Transport)||The M831 Troop Transport has no LAAG or M68 Gauss Cannon. Its four side-facing passenger seats allow for additional troop seating.|
|N/A||M864 A (Arctic)||The M864 Arctic is camouflaged and outfitted specifically for expeditions in the Arctic.|
|N/A||M868 T (Tropic)||The M868 Tropic is camouflaged and equipped specifically for tropical expeditions.|
|N/A||M914 RV (Recovery Vehicle)||The M914 RV is a faster, stripped down version built for troop and equipment recovery.|
|Flatbed Warthog||The M12 flatbed also known as the "Scout Hog", features no seating or weaponry at the rear.|
|N/A||M12 APC||The Warthog APC: Built as an Armored Personnel Carrier, containing a heavily armored passenger section to carry troops and supplies.|
|Armored Warthog||A Warthog with more heavy armor, cherokee roof lights with extended gunner shield.|
|Flame Warthog||A Warthog with a mounted flamethrower and related fuel tanks in the rear.|
|Forge's Warthog (HW2)||A heavily modified Warthog with white color scheme, black tinted windows, battering ram with 4 additional round leds, gull wing doors, a drone accompanying them and slightly larger & stronger gauss cannon made specifically for Forge.|
|Civilian Version (The "Hog")||A streamlined version built for civilian transport. It has an extra tire but no weapons.|
|M12S Civilian Sport Transport||A sportier variant of the civilian Hog. Though it does still feature UNSC logos on its body.|
|N/A||Medical Troop Transport Warthog||A variant of the Troop Transport Warthog found in the files of the Halo 3 beta, which sports two stretchers rather than seats, presumably to carry injured soldiers.|
- It is recommended for the player to be accompanied by an AI gunner as often as possible. AIso, as they are programmed in the game, have excellent accuracy and, in most situations, can quickly eliminate enemy infantry and vehicles almost without fail.
- It is often advised for the player to switch Warthogs if they see a heavier-armed Warthog (i.e. Gauss, Rocket) as they would provide a more lethal method to eliminate the enemy personnel and vehicles.
- Take care when using the Warthog against other vehicles on Legendary. Without any heavily-armed passengers, the enemy AIs can kill the player easily. It is advised to have the passenger to be equipped with a heavy weapon such as a Rocket Launcher or a Spartan Laser.
- Do not slow down when driving the Warthog. A slow Warthog can become easy prey to hijacking and can be quickly destroyed with explosives.
- Gunners, always remember: focus on the enemy vehicle's gunner instead of the driver. This will eliminate any counter-offensive and make it easier to eliminate the enemy vehicle.
- The M12 is very versatile vehicle; it can evade explosives rounds fired by the enemy if the driver is experienced with the vehicle (using the hand-brake) and the terrain (avoiding locked-on missiles with a scenery object). For example, an experienced driver could avoid a grenade explosion by skidding around the grenade instead of going straight over it.
- The Warthog is not the best vehicle to engage head on with a tank. Should the players find it necessary to remove the threat, it is advised to utilise an anti-armor Warthog instead of the anti-infantry Warthog. Additionally, flanking the tank so as to divert its attention would provide a window of opportunity for the anti-armor Warthog to destroy the tank.
- Unless absolutely necessary, do not use the turret without a driver. A gunner in a stationary Warthog is easily exposed to attacks than those in a moving Warthog; one such instance is that a gunner can be quickly eliminated by a sniper fire. It is reasonable in a Gauss turret due to its lethal power, high accuracy, and extremely long range, but change positions often or the player could be easily overwhelmed.
- The Warthog is a very useful vehicle, as it can be used for insertions of players, defending a base, attacking a base, and in some cases, a getaway truck.
- It is very tempting to splatter enemies with the Warthog. However, attempting to do so may backfire as the Warthog would be more likely be susceptible to a Plasma Grenade stick. In some cases, the Warthog could fall prey to a heavily-armed opponent. The Warthog is the most effective at splattering unwary enemies.
- Warthogs can be used as effective entrance jammers. Additionally, it is often recommended for the driver to drive the Warthog in an irregular behavior when circling around an enemy base.
- In most maps, for example "Blood Gulch," the map has some road like trenches in it, driving on these is highly recommended as this makes flipping less likely and the sides give the player some cover from enemy attack.
- It is a very "bouncy" vehicle, and can be difficult to control when going off of edges or cliffs, supposing the driver planned on landing.
- The player riding passenger is often used as an anti-personnel asset. The gunner would be focused on taking down vehicles, the driver would be focused on driving, and the passenger could easily utilize a shotgun to keep any enemies away from the Warthog.
- The passenger has a very limited window of vision, making it more of a transport position.
In Halo Wars, Warthogs are lightly armored, fast and nimble scout units. They are player's first unit and do not have any damage capability other than running things over. Along with infantry units, they can be used to collect discovered resource crates. A Warthog cost 150 resources to construct at the command center and a unit takes up one population.
- Gunner: 250 resources and requires a tech level of one. Adds a M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun, giving them combat capabilities.
- Grenadier : 500 resources and requires a tech level of two. Adds a grenadier armed with a XM510 Multishot Grenade Launcher.
- Gauss Cannon: 800 resources and requires a tech level of three. Replaces the M41 LAAG with a M68 ALIM.
- "It's [the M12] sort of a bear to wheel around, but that's something you gotta expect - the thing is twice the size of my granddad's car - but it's something you get used to pretty damned quick."
- "On the battlefield speed is life and the M12 has that in spades - having a great big damn gun don’t hurt, either."
- "One word: handbrake."
- "I have yet to come up against an obstacle that the Warthog couldn't go right over."
- "The Sarge hates it when we ram stuff, says the 'Hog ain't indestructible. But it sure feels like it when you're plowing through a crowd of startled Grunts, though."
- "The seats are unreal! I was thinking of pulling a set out of a parts vehicle and shipping them home...but the wife shut it down - says everyone would be able to tell where they came from."
- "Look at these legs - pretty nice, huh? It’s totally from getting in and out'a the 'Hog's thirty-six inch damn step height."
- There is a glitch that can be done very easily with a Warthog in Halo 2 that makes it so players can shoot out of their faces. Simply go in the passenger seat and fire any weapon. This causes the player to shoot centered instead of to the weapon hand.
- On Halo PC, the Double Vehicle Driving Glitch can be done using this vehicle.
- The Flipping Warthog glitch can be done on the Halo 2 level 'Quarantine Zone' using this vehicle.
- The Hummer is the vehicle from which the Warthog was developed.
- A Warthog avatar prop was released on July 12, 2012, at a cost of 320 Microsoft Points.
- The Warthog in Halo: CE can be heard making a rumbling sound when a player gets in the driver seat, but doesn't drive.
- In Halo: Reach, on the second playable campaign mission titled "ONI: Sword Base" a Gauss Warthog is acquired by the player to assist the player after activating the Anti-Air Gun. Depending on the player's initial choice, this can be to assist in activating the comms relay, or returning to Sword Base. When returning to the base, this warthog is brought to the garage before it must be abandoned due to immovable Jersey Barriers that prevent driving the warthog up to the courtyard of Sword Base. However, if the Gauss turret is utilized to shoot two adjacent corners of two separate jersey barriers each twice, the warthog can be forced through and over this new gap with enough effort. This can be done by picking up some speed and ramming the gap created, or with the help of a frag grenade that can flip the Warthog over the barriers. Once done, it can assist in defeating the covenant troops the player must encounter on the way into Sword Base, including a pair of Mgalekgolo. Another way to get the Hog over is by having one player in armor lock while the driver drives over them. It is possible to flip the Warthog over the barriers by themselves, if they fully charge armor lock, but it's more challenging.
- In 2017, Hot Wheels created a 1:64 scale casting of the Warthog, named the UNSC Warthog. It appears in two series: HW Screen Time and Replica Entertainment - Halo.
- WETA Workshop, based in New Zealand, built a full-scale, operating, accurate Warthog. It has several numbers on it, some possibly pertaining to that specific model or maybe even that specific Warthog, including, but not limited to, 5c8611, N/AAV-20, and others. WETA's Warthog is accurate in every function, including a "working" minigun, four-wheel steering, digital displays, air bags, and the ability to "crab crawl." If you look at the driver's side of the windscreen, there are stamps portraying the number and type of Covenant troops killed. It can be seen in the short film Halo: Arms Race. Some of the team members of Bungie were given the chance to drive the WETA Workshop's Warthog. Three members of the Bungie team were driving the Warthog around a parking lot when they scraped the side of it on a small wooden structure built onto the side of a wall.
- A remote control toy Warthog was one of the first Xbox 360 Avatar accessories available after the August 11, 2009 dashboard update that introduced Avatar accessories. It is available from the Xbox Live Avatar shop for 320 Microsoft Points, under Halo 3: ODST-themed accessories. It appears to be the standard M12 recon variant with a LAAG on the back.
- ODSTs and Marines can quickly and effortlessly flip Warthogs all by themselves in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST, despite not possessing the super-human strength of SPARTAN-IIs, SPARTAN-IIIs, Brutes or Elites, though this is admittedly just for gameplay reasons and is likely not canon.
- The Warthog was originally going to be a Humvee-like vehicle in the early stages of development of Halo: Combat Evolved.
- During Halo 2's development Bungie considered more specialized warthog variants including a "Snow," "Jungle" and "Transport" Warthog. Eventually, the "Snow" and "Transport" variants are featured in Halo 3, although with major design changes.
- The passenger seat aiming system was changed from Halo: Combat Evolved to the one in Halo 2. In Halo: Combat Evolved, the passenger views everything in first-person. It was changed to third-person in Halo 2.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, the windshield of the Warthog will deflect plasma grenades thrown at it from the front.
- In the original version of Halo Wars, Warthogs were decently powerful units, and their easy-to-build nature made them likely candidates for rushing. This plagued the online multiplayer after its release. To address this in an update Robot made them easier to kill and weaker.
- In Halo: Reach, if the Warthog takes significant damage, the front dashboard will flash red and the various screens will display "SYSTEM OFFLINE." This also occurs in Halo 4. 
- One drawback for machinimators in Halo: Combat Evolved unless using mods or in team games it is impossible to have 2-3 players in the same warthog so you would have to pull of camera angles without the other seats that are supposed to be occupied in view.
- There is some dispute about whether the Warthog has a manual (stick shift) or automatic transmission, but it is most likely equipped with an automatic Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) as the Warthog's wheels seem to be driven individually by electrical or hydraulic means, whereas a manual transmission would be purely mechanical and would require a very complex and impractical gearing system to achieve independent drive of all four wheels (not to mention the suspension and steering systems).
- Some variants of the Warthog (such as in Halo 2: Anniversary), feature red 'jerry cans' in the rear, which are typically used to store liquid fuel such as diesel. This is peculiar, since the Warthog uses hydrogen fuel which would need to be stored in a pressurised container. It is possible this contains other materials such as the coolant used by the engine or water.
- If the player chooses a team color for the Warthog in Forge, the dashboard color will change based on the color chosen, not the outside color.
- The Warthog includes a built in radio, phone, radar, GPS, two unusable health packs, and a damage monitor which flashes red when it has taken enough damage.
- Warthogs were a category for the Bungie All-Stars Screenshot competition for Week 15.
- The Warthog costs 343,000 CR, as seen in Forza Motorsport 4 Warthog Trailer.
- The Warthog costs 52,000 CR in other sources.
- Contrary to the popular belief, the Warthog is indeed faster than the Mongoose, but the Mongoose has better acceleration.
- During the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, a Warthog variant was used which featured a 50mm chain gun on the back.
- It is possible that this is merely a mistake and the chain gun is a .50 caliber (12.7mm) rather than 50mm, as a 50mm would be very difficult and uncomfortable for a human to use, and the M41 LAAG is canonically a .50 caliber.
- The shields on the chain gun in Halo 4 are now rectangular, rather than being hexagonal like in previous warthogs.
- The chain gun mounted on the M12 FAV in Halo 4 features an external rotation stabilizer/brace arm for the barrels, whereas the previous warthogs did not. Realistically, this would keep the barrels straight and aligned, which allows the weapon to fire straight.
- The M12 FAV features handrails on its front end, fuel canisters on its rear, and (as seen in Forza Motorsport 4) several storage compartments lining the exterior.
- In Forza Motorsport 4, if one were to complete all Autovista Challenges, the Halo 4 Warthog would be unlocked. Cortana gives all available information on the Hog.
- The Warthogs in Halo 4 are the only Warthogs in any Halo game to have laterally opposed wheels' suspension and steering tied together, rather than being completely independent of each other. This suggests that the mechanics behind the power delivery from the engine to the wheels has also been redesigned.
- The Halo 4 M12 FAV's speed dial is permanently set at 125 MPH, even when idle. This is also the case in Halo 2: Anniversary.
- The M12 FAV only appears once in Halo: Spartan Assault, during a cutscene, making it the only Halo game where the Warthog does not appear in-game.
- In Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, if you look carefully at the rims of the Warthogs, you'll notice that they say "Puma." This is a reference to Red vs Blue's scene where Simmons and Sarge argued with Grif about whether to call the vehicle a Warthog or Puma.
- The makers of the currently "In Progress" fan-film Operation Chastity replicated the Warthog. Although it's smaller in size, and has the steering wheel on the right.
- The Halo 4 Warthog model is in Forza Motorsport 4, but isn't usable. According to its specifications, it was produced in 2554.
- In Forza Horizon 3, a civilian version of the Warthog, named the AMG Transport Dynamics M12S Warthog CST, could be unlocked through a code redeemable for playing either Halo 5: Guardians or Halo: The Master Chief Collection anytime from September 6, 2016 to September 23, 2016. For players who didn't get to play either game during that time, the M12S Warthog CST can be obtained through Forzathon or the Auction House.
- In the same game, the Halo Warthog Horn can be used as the player's car horn.
- The Warthog is available as an Xbox consoles-only car in Rocket League. However, crossplay(other non-Xbox players) will not be able to see the Hog, and it will appear as the default Octane car.
- Halo Encyclopedia, page 240
- Halo Encyclopedia, page 241
- Bungie.net: Halo Reach Ordnance Guide - M12 Warthog
- Halo Waypoint - Universe, Warthog
- Halo 3 - Level: Tsavo Highway
- Halo 5: Guardians - Description: REQ Card - Vespin Rocket Warthog
- Halo 5: Guardians - Description: REQ Card - Sword Needler Warthog
- Bungie.net: Warthog article
- Halo: Mortal Dictata - Page 152
- Bungie.net: Halo: Reach Career Stats
- YouTube - Gamecheat13, Halo 3 Beta - Early Warthogs and Anti Air Wraith
- WETA Workshop: Halo 3