The Special Purpose-42 Main Battle Tank, also known as a Cobra, is a self-propelled heavy weapon platform used by the UNSC. First employed during Operation: CHARLEMAGNE, SP-42's are anti-materiel/anti-fortification tanks able to operate in both mobile and lockdown modes.[1][2]

Background[edit | edit source]

Two Cobras in lockdown mode firing on an enemy position.

Unlike many UNSC vehicles, the Cobra fills two distinct roles as both a mobile anti-vehicle platform and a self-propelled artillery piece. For speed and mobility it utilizes six rugged all-terrain wheels, which makes it highly maneuverable if not particularly fast. Specialized armor plates deflect projectiles and absorb explosive rounds.[1][2]

The Cobra operates in mobile mode when engaging other vehicles or minor fortifications, allowing it to maneuver and fire simultaneously its twin M66 30mm Light Rail Guns.[1] These weapons fire high-density slugs at such velocity that they easily penetrate Covenant heavy armor.[2][3] The rail guns fire intermittently, not in a single burst, as the energy required to accelerate the slugs to the speeds required to pierce the heaviest armor can only be managed for one of the cannons at a time.[citation needed] Synchronized, simultaneous fire from both rail guns will destroy even the most heavily armored enemies, with penetration that easily outguns the standard 90mm cannon of the M808B Main Battle Tank.[citation needed]

When deployed in lockdown mode, the Cobra stows away the M66 guns, secures its treads into a stationary position and deploys the M98 105mm Light Rail Gun. The M98 can fire a solid slug[1] or explosive artillery shell[2] at supersonic velocities over very long ranges. It is ideal for use against heavily fortified structures and can destroy enemy vehicles with ease,[3] more than making up for the loss of mobility.[2]

Halo Wars[edit | edit source]

Besides destroying enemy vehicles and structures, Cobras are best used to defend choke points. Two or three Cobras with a Wolverine or two to defend against aircraft can defend a firebase against all but the strongest attacks. This strategy can also be used at road blocks or barricades to harrass the enemy. When fully upgraded with the 'Piercing Shot' upgrade, one shot on the Normal difficulty has enough power to penetrate the shield mounted on a Locust and destroy it, while one shot can disable the shield on an upgraded Wraith and deal minor damage. In addition, the Cobra, when commandeered by Spartans and after acquiring a large number of stars, is capable of destroying a Scarab in just two shots. It sacrifices mobility for the range that elevating the heavy weapon can offer. The shells used are multipurpose, and can be adapted to eliminate anything from a formation of Covenant Wraiths to a squad of infantry. However, its use against groups of infantry may be less effective if they are spread apart, due to its small blast radius. Cobras can attack only ground units and are specifically designed to engage vehicles, so they are mostly vulnerable to Hunters and Banshees.

  • Deflection Plating: gives the Cobra extra protection. Cost 400 resources and a tech level of 3.
  • Piercing Shot: enables railgun to penetrate multiple targets, damaging each. Cost 900 resources and a tech level of 4.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

A formation of Cobras in artillery mode, protecting a UNSC fortress on Labyrinth.

  • The vehicle was originally described as being similar to a Russian 'Katyusha' rocket artillery vehicle, which was spurred on by the appearance of vehicles similar to the Wolverine but possessing a different ordnance rack. This was a case of mistaken identity, as the vehicle sighted was actually a Wolverine, but with an upgrade adding a second missile pod, creating confusion.
  • The Cobra's artillery mode has an uncanny resemblance to the Terran siege tank from StarCraft I and II, which can transform from tank mode to siege mode, with a sacrifice of mobility for longer range and greater firepower.
  • Upon selecting, building, or moving a Cobra(s), the driver will speak with a British accent.
  • A likely reason for the Cobra, along with most of Halo Wars exclusive content, to only appear in said game is that it is for defensive purposes and during most of the other games the player was either on offense, had a lack of preparation time to set up defenses, or the weapon systems simply weren't available. It could also simply be that the system was outdated at the time of the trilogy, given it's anti-vehicle effectiveness it was likely it wasn't avaliable due to various logistical issues, as the Grizzly and Wolverine are both still in use by at least 2555.
  • If a Spartan attempts to hijack a Cobra, the Spartan will jump on the rear of the vehicle, implying that the cockpit of the vehicle is behind the main weapon rather in front as is common with UNSC vehicles, likely for the additional protection for the crew. 

List of appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.