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The Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor (MPAA, or simply Mjolnir)  is a technologically advanced combat exoskeleton system designed to vastly improve the strength, speed, agility, reflexes and durability of a SPARTAN-II, SPARTAN-III or a SPARTAN-IV supersoldier in the field of combat.
Prioritized and advanced in parallel to the SPARTAN-II Program, the Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor is currently the most advanced piece of tactical military hardware in human hands. Each suit alone costs as much as a small starship. The brainchild of Dr. Catherine E. Halsey, Mjolnir is Halsey's attempt to create a powered exoskeleton capable of taking full advantage of the physical capabilities of a SPARTAN-II. The battlesuit is constructed in overlapping layers. It is a sealed system, capable of extravehicular and submersible activity or operations in toxic atmosphere. It is hardened against EMP and radiation, and has filters that are completely effective at removing toxins and bacteria from the local atmosphere.
The armor's outer shell is composed of a multilayer alloy of remarkable strength and has been augmented with a refractive coating capable of dispersing a limited amount of Covenant energy weapon strikes. The suit contains a gel-filled layer underneath a thick black armored bodysuit. The gel layer regulates temperature and can re-actively change its density. The inner skinsuit is made of a moisture-absorbing synthetic material linked to an environment control computer and the occupant's UNSC-issue neural interface.
Each human being has a molecular fiber network called the nervous system within their brain. An upgrade to the standard Neural Interface is issued to all high-ranking officers; another modified version of the neural lace is issued to all SPARTAN-IIs in the UNSC. This network translates electrochemical signals to digital code and routes them through an interface connection at the rear of the skull. Through this interface, the user's thoughts command the armor's movement and weapons; and input from the on-board sensors comes directly to the user's mind. The kinesis between machine and mind is so fast that it is almost impossible to chart reaction time.
Between the external armor and the internal padding is the most devastating weapon the suit carries: a layer of reactive metal liquid crystal. Woven by molecular tools into a superdense optical computer memory, this revolutionary crystalline layer forms a network, capable of supporting the kinds of artificial intelligence usually reserved for starships, as a type of piggyback system. An A.I.'s personality and processing matrix can be carried by the armor and delivered to the suit via on-board storage in a crystal data chip no larger than a personal credit card. Such technology did not exist when work began on the Mark I prototypes. At the same time it is amorphous, yet amplifies force, doubling lifting capability and improving reaction time by a factor of five. Unfortunately the system is so reactive that normal human beings cannot use the suit without injuring themselves. Only humans who have carbide ceramic ossification, a skeletal augmentation, such as a SPARTAN-II, can safely wear the suit.
The suit also possesses other features that enhance its wearer's abilities. It has numerous clips, belts, and magnetic holsters for the attachment of additional weapons and ammunition; an advanced Heads-Up-Display(HUD) linked to sensors in the gloves detects the type of weapon and devices held, and to project shield strength, ammunition count, a targeting reticle, waypoints, a radio uplink for communication, health monitoring and other helpful data.
In its final phase the Mjolnir battlesuit weighs half a ton, or 1000 lbs when in use, and is a fully neural-linked system. With an on-board AI using the human mind for parallel processing, the SPARTAN-II/Mjolnir combination is designed to be the most devastating intelligence tool ever created.
GEN1 Armor Versions
Mark I Prototype Exoskeleton
Initiated in 2512, the Mark I was one of the Navy's first experiments with powered exoskeletons - more human-powered defense structures than suits, the Mark I took 10 years to develop, but was bulky, unwieldy and needed to be tethered to a power source due to the extraordinary amount of energy needed to power it. This was the downfall to the system as it required a connection to a fusion generator which hindered movement. The Mark I Prototype Exoskeleton improved the strength and stamina of the wearer and allowed a user to lift two tons (4,000 pounds) and run at 32 km/h (19.88 MPH) for extended periods of time. The Mark I contained a cutting edge on board computer that could assist the wearer by transmitting tactical communication information to the standard neural implant issued to a soldier, the suit however did not possess the ability to carry an A.I on board. The armor could also be equipped with motion sensors, infrared scopes, and could be mounted with a 30mm mini-gun that fired on self-targeting armatures.
Research and development for the Mark I was carried out at Section Three's headquarters in the CASTLE facility on Reach, however the final assembly of components were done at the Damascus Testing Facility on Chi Ceti IV. At least forty Mark I suits were produced and although they never saw deployment on the battlefield they were later used to carry heavy equipment in docking bays, and dozens of others were dumped into Reach's titanium mines. The Mark I Exoskeletons were later used by trainers of the SPARTAN-IIs to protect themselves when training under Chief Petty Officer Mendez's orders. Otherwise the training could have killed them, as evidenced by the first day back at Reach when three trainers were accidentally killed during hand-to-hand combat exercises.
Mark II Prototype Exoskeleton
The Mark II Prototype Exoskeleton was similar to the Mark I, but with a slimmer profile which greatly increased mobility. The suit, however, still needed to be tethered to a Fusion Generator, but despite the fact that it was the most powerful piece of military hardware at the time, it was still impractical for battlefield deployment. One of the new additions to the Mark II included a refractive coating to help disperse heat from explosive attacks and better self-sealing in the event of damage while the unit was in space.
Mark III Prototype Exoskeleton
The next prototype, the Mark III, incorporated a wireless power transmitter and receiver so that power could be transmitted directly to it, much like the Orbital Defense Platforms used to defend UNSC colonies. This design was quickly rejected for two reasons: first the armor still had a limited operational range as it had to remain within range of a bulky, immobile generator, and second, if the generator was to be knocked out it would result in the incapacitation of the suit and leave its user locked inside and helpless against enemy attacks. In the end, all of the first three prototypes had one thing in common: They were impractical on the battlefield, as large exoskeleton units did not have a substantial use in any form of combat.
Mjolnir Mark IV Powered Assault Armor
- Main article: Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark IV
Although earlier attempts at developing high-powered armor produced designs that were impractical for battlefield deployment, the Mark IV Mjolnir powered exoskeleton would be the first successful powered armor that saw deployment onto the battlefield. Developed by Dr. Catherine E. Halsey, the Mjolnir Mark IV was a radical redesign of powered exoskeletons making use of technological innovations that did not exist when work on the first Mjolnir exoskeleton suit began. The Mark IV Mjolnir Armor was fielded November 27, 2525 to August 29, 2552.
Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Black
- Main article: Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Black
Created by a top secret parallel development lab in Seongnam, Korea, Mjolnir: Black was a standalone "skunkworks" variant created exclusively for Team Black. It features a number of advances over even the then-current generation Mark V and the later VI. It was used on Verge during the Covenant invasion of the Epsilon Eridani System and Operation: BLOWBACK some time after.
Mjolnir Mark V Powered Assault Armor
- Main article: Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark V
The Mjolnir Mark V is the first major upgrade of the system and introduced two revolutionary technologies for battlefield purposes: 15 megajoule energy shielding reverse-engineered from Covenant technology, providing the user added protection against plasma weapons, and the ability to link a soldier and an AI together to provide the soldier instant intel in the field, along with other functions. In addition to major changes from the Mark IV, hundreds of other technical improvements are incorporated into the Mark V: for example, the fusion packs used to power the suits are again half the size of their predecessors. The Mark V was fielded November 24, 2551 to October 20, 2552.
Mjolnir Mark VI Powered Assault Armor
- Main article: Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark VI
The Mjolnir Mark VI is the third upgrade to the Mjolnir system, the Mark VI once again introduces several technical improvements while refining advanced technologies introduced in the previous system. The first improvement made to the system is a faster recharge time on the suits' energy shield system so that the SPARTAN-II super soldier does not have to remain in cover for an extended period of time. The second is improved synchronization between the suit and user, this allows the SPARTAN-II to jump higher, run faster, and hit harder than a Spartan could previously. In addition, this equipment made medical kits obsolete for the SPARTAN-II because of the integration of devices that administer medical care to the soldier.
GEN2 Armor Versions
- Main article: Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor (GEN2)
At some point after the development and deployment of Mark VII in 2553, engineers began work on the next generation of powered armor. It was lighter, stronger, and faster than previous iterations. Some variants of the Mjolnir Generation-II are worn by the SPARTAN-IV commandos aboard the UNSC Infinity.
Mjolnir Mark VII Powered Assault Armor
- Main article: Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark VII
The Mjolnir MK VII was an armor system mentioned by Dr. Halsey in her personal journal. It would appear to be the last planned phase of the Mjolnir project. At the time the Mjolnir project began, Halsey had planned on the MK VII suit featuring the following upgrades:
- Nanobots for automatic repair of both the suit and the user.
- Next-gen fusion-plasma hybrid power system.
- Atmospheric insertion systems.
- Slipspace de-insertion capability.
- Active AI transfer protocols.
- Limited shaping of the energy shield (partial overlaps, airfoils etc.).
Atmospheric insertion would allow a Spartan to free-fall from space without a reentry vehicle, such as the ODST's SOEIV, but would most likely require a drag chute or parachute. Note that reentry in Mjolnir Armor has been done multiple times in Halo fiction, but is most likely outside both the Mark V and Mark VI design specs and has proven fatal. John-117 performed an extremely low-orbit reentry when he lept off of the Forerunner Dreadnought at the beginning of the Second Battle of Earth, yet was knocked unconscious with a large dent inflicted on his right breastplate while wearing the Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark VI. A Marine commented that John had fell a minimum of two kilometers, due to the exosphere extending 600 km above Earth's surface, this was hardly a reentry. The only known Spartan to ever undertake an exoatmospheric reentry from high-orbit was SPARTAN-B312 during the Battle of Reach. He was thrown out of an SDV-class heavy corvette's hangar by Jorge-052 in a successful attempt to spare his life. However, B312 utilized an M-Spec Reentry Pack attached to his Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark to survive atmospheric insertion. B312 suffered minimal damage after reentry and displayed a noticeable limp. At the beginning of Exodus following B312's insertion, the player can see that their health is depleted to the second stage, inclining that B312 was actually injured from the fall or, which is unlikely, encountered enemies before reaching New Alexandria. The Mark VII could possibly use integrated components of the M-Spec Reentry Pack to allow insertion without auxiliary equipment.
Though not many specific features and aesthetic qualities are mentioned in its single appearance, Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor/Mark VII is described to be visually similar to the Mark V, and is worn by Naomi-010, a SPARTAN-II attached to Kilo-Five. It is mentioned as being lighter than the Mark VI and is capable of upgrading itself and healing the user passively when in standby via nanotechnology. Naomi frequently removes and puts on the armor, though whether this is a requirement of its self-upgrading nature or a preference of SPARTAN-010 is unknown. The visual portrayal of the Mark VII on the cover of Halo: The Thursday War is likely not definitive of the final variant, as Naomi-010 was field-testing a prototype in 2553. The final variant is likely in mainstream use by the remaining SPARTAN-IIs as of 2558, as the UNSC has been shown to improve upon their powered armor technology extraordinarily quickly, with the Mark V and the Mark VI being finalized within the same year.
- Helmet: The Mjolnir Helmet is one of the most vital aspects to the Mjolnir system. It is made of Titanium and contains key features like a Heads-up display that links to the brain and hands, and can identify equipment and display information about it when it is picked up by the wearer. Another feature is the direct neural interface system which connects to a SPARTAN-IIs neural implants. Two core processor chips are implanted into the subjects skull in the rear of the head. This is essentially comparable to an on board computer using parts of the human brain for processing - when the connector at the rear of the subjects head and receptors in the brain link to the helmets on board sensors, it creates the neural link needed to move the Mjolnir suit. The helmet also contains other equipment to protect and aid the user in hostile conditions. This includes: filters to remove toxins from the atmosphere, a supply to provide air to the wearer during EVA, thermal and motion sensors, communications, solar-powered lighting, and imaging and video gear. The helmet also contains the A.I housing, where a ship-borne A.I chip is inserted, located on the back of the helmet.
- Titanium Alloy Outer Shell: The outer shell of the Mjolnir Armor is comprised of a fairly thick titanium alloy. This plating covers the chest, arms, hip, legs, calves, feet, and hands. This alloy is very resilient, can take significant punishment, and is nearly impervious to small arms fire. While enough shots from armor piercing rounds will breach the outer shell, the suit can take a few glancing blows from them without compromising the armor. The outer shell of all Mjolnir suits is covered with a refractive coating to help disperse the heat experienced from Covenant energy weapons. However one or two direct hits from any Plasma weapon will compromise the armor plating.
- Titanium Nanocomposite Bodysuit: Sandwiched between the external armor and the internal padding is a thick black armored bodysuit. This suit has numerous functions, small but vital to the safety and survival of the wearer. The bodysuit is made of a titanium-based material, making it very strong and yet very flexible. It also serves as another layer of protection against ballistics attacks and is coated with a heat resistant material to disperse heat from Plasma weapons.
- Hydrostatic Gel: Underneath the armored bodysuit is a gel-filled layer. This gel layer regulates the temperature of the suit and can reactively change its density to conform to the wearer's shape - the temperature inside the suit is controlled by the moisture absorbing cloth suit underneath the hydrostatic layer. The hydrostatic gel layer can also be pressurized to various levels to potentially save the wearers life, should the wearer be subjected to high G forces or a high velocity impact; however, over pressurizing this layer can cause nitrogen embolisms.
- Polymerized Lithium Nibocene Layer: Sandwiched between the external armor and the internal padding, the liquid crystal layer contains the polymerized form of lithium nibocene, a highly piezoelectric polymer. By deforming when an electric current is applied to it, the layer acts as a sheath of artificial muscle, adding to a SPARTAN's already considerable strength. This layer increases the strength, speed, and all around physical performance of the SPARTAN-II.
- Memory Processor Superconductor Layer: This layer supports suit's Artificial intelligence and is fitted in between the outer plates and the inner padding. This type of computer memory is usually outfitted on a warship, and as such accounts for over eighty percent of the Mjolnir Armor's cost of construction and materials.
- Magnetic Weapon Holder Strips: Available on the Mk. IV, Mk. V, and Mk. VI, the magnetic strips are very small yet powerful magnets place on the legs, waist, and back of the suit, and are used to hold any equipment with a magnetic property. The suit also contains an electromagnetic system on the boots of the Mjolnir suit that allow its wearer to stay attached to a metal surface in Zero G environments, and can be toggled on or off by the wearer.
- Shields: First used on the Mk. V, and later refined on the Mk. VI, the energy shield device is reverse engineered from Covenant technology. Begun in 2532, forty scientists and technicians would spend the next 20 years attempting to make some use of the technology. For decades, the attempts at cracking their technology had met with failure after failure. Some had given up, and others in the scientific community believed the energy shield technology could never be cracked; however, at some point before 2552, a breakthrough was made, and for the first time, the UNSC had successfully cracked and improved upon the technology.
- Pressure Seal: The Pressure Seal is a vital component to the Mjolnir system. It keeps the system airtight, underwater or in space. The seal is very strong and will only break under extreme pressure, such as in a high velocity impact or when the Hydrostatic Gel has been over pressurized.
- Automatic Biofoam Injectors: Introduced on the Mk. VI models, biofoam injectors are an integral part of the system's ability to keep a SPARTAN-II functioning in battle. Biofoam is a medical gel that is used to fill and seal a wound automatically. It is also used to treat any infection that could occur as a result of the wound. The process of injecting or applying the gel to a wound, however it is extremely painful, and is only a temporary solution; medical attention must be sought soon after to ensure survivability.
- Fusion Reactor: The fusion reactor is the most essential part of the Mjolnir System, as it provides power to all equipment on the Mjolnir Armor - the reactor is built into the suit and allows for nearly unlimited movement. The fusion reactor in all versions of the Mjolnir Armor are half the size of a normal fusion pack that conventional marines carry around.
- Force-Multiplying Circuits: Located throughout the armor, these systems boost the force applied by the user. They make hand-to-hand combat easier, but also make the armor difficult to adjust to; a slight motion can be translated into a potentially harmful one if not conducted correctly. For this reason it is only possible for Spartans to use this armor, as their strengthened bodies are able to withstand the increased power and speed of movement, which, in un-augmented human bodies, results in broken bones or death, due to spasms caused by the pain of broken bones.
- Reactive Circuits: Reactive Circuits are systems installed that are directly linked to the Spartan Neural Interface. They amplify the wearer's reaction time by connecting directly to the thoughts of the wearer, making it much easier to control and allowing for the soldier to be both more efficient and have a higher survival rate in combat.
- Power Supply Control Unit: The Power Supply Control Unit controls and maintains the power supply of the armor.
- In the Halo 3 Public Beta, a Spartan's face was visible under the helmet's visor, which could be seen by positioning a player a certain distance away from a Mongoose, and using the camera to view under the model. However, Bungie stated later that this was an Easter Egg Bungie made and that the face seen on the Beta was in fact modeled from the face of Marcus Lehto, a Bungie employee.
- The Limited Edition of Fable II includes a set of Mjolnir Armor for the player's character to wear called "Hal's Armor/Outfit."
- The Mjolnir Mark VI was rated #13 in The 14 Most Badass Video Game Power Suits, a feature by Maxim.com.
- The quantum mirror is a tiny part of the sensor system located in the pauldron of the Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor.
- While commonly referred to as 'MJOLNIR' armour, the capitalisation is only necessary when referring to the ONI Program, not the armour itself.
- Mjölnir is the hammer of the thunder god Thor.
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide - page 229
- Halo PC Strategy Guide Page 5
- Halo: The Fall of Reach Chapter 13, page 115
- Halo Encyclopedia chapter 3, page 88
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 70
- Halo: The Fall of Reach page 71
- Frank O'Connor interview during San Diego Comic-Con 2012 1:15 - 2:10
- Halo: First Strike Chapter 2, page 13 Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Chapter 1, page 36
- Halo Encyclopedia Chapter 3, page 89
- Halo: The Fall of Reach Chapter 27, page 249
- Halo: The Fall of Reach Chapter 13, page 114; chapter 27, page 248
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx