Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

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The UNSC frigate was a warship classification in the UNSC Navy. Although it cannot equal the armor and firepower of its heavier cousin, the destroyer, the frigate is smaller and thus more maneuverable. It is cheaper to produce, allowing greater numbers to be fielded against the Covenant.

Class History[]

This section requires expansion.


Main article: Insurrection

During the Insurrection, several frigates were commandeered by Insurrectionist forces. Such examples include UNSC Bellerophon (later Bellicose) and Iliad.[8]

Human-Covenant war[]

Main article: Human-Covenant war

The UNSC employed frigates throughout the war. The Colonial Military Administration's Battlegroup 4 was the first unit with frigates to engage the Covenant. Both were destroyed.[9] Following this, frigates became ubiquitous. Preston Cole had multiple frigates in many of his fleets or battlegroups such as UNSC Battle Group X-Ray and UNSC Battle Group India.

Frigates were in substantial use during the Battle of Camber and Fall of Reach. By August 30, 2552, there were at least 34 frigates in the Aszod ship breaking yards.[10]

One of the largest gatherings of frigates was at the Battle of Earth. 67 Stalwarts were part of the Fifth Fleet's force alone.[11]

Two frigates, UNSC In Amber Clad and UNSC Forward Unto Dawn played crucial roles in winning the Human-Covenant war, acting as the human flagships in the Battle of Installation 05[12] and the Battle of Installation 00.[13] Although both ended up being destroyed, with In Amber Clad crashing into High Charity[14] and half of Forward Unto Dawn left drifting for nearly four years.[15]

By October 2552, Strident-class heavy frigates were operational.[16]


Following the end of the war, at least one new class was added. This was the Anlace-class frigate, which came into the fold sometime before October 2558.[17]


Halo Legends - Origins II - EarlyShips

Earlier frigate designs.

With 26th-century human technology, frigates were barely considered a match for even small Covenant warships like the SDV-class heavy corvette.[18] Only en masse did the UNSC frigate give any UNSC fleet element an advantage against even a small number of Covenant Capital Ships.

UNSC frigates were capable of hovering in an atmosphere and even landing.[13][19] While operating in-atmosphere, they are also capable of deploying vehicles and cargo directly onto the ground.[13]



UNSC Frigate variant scale comparison

Four frigate classes are of identifiable proportions. The largest, the Strident-class, is 575 metres (1,890 ft) long,[20] while the smallest, the Stalwart-class, is 478 metres (1,570 ft) long.[21] The Charon-class reaches 490 metres (1,600 ft) long, and the Paris-class is 535 metres (1,760 ft) long.[21]

Width wise, the Paris-class is the largest at 199 metres (652 ft 11 in). [21] The smallest was the Strident-class at 124 metres (406 ft 10 in).[20] The Stallwart-class at 152 metres (498 ft 8 in) and the Charon-class at 156 metres (511 ft 10 in) were of comparable width.[21]

The heights of all four are the same, all reaching 112.3 metres (368 ft).

Mass wise, the Strident-class was 1,100,000 metric tons.[3] The Stalwart-class was 930,000 metric tons.[1]



A Charon-class light frigate from the side.

The armor of a frigate is relatively poor compared to that of its larger cousins and counterparts such as the destroyer, with only 60 cm of Titanium-A armor. However, due to its relatively light weight, the frigate's strength lies instead in maneuverability and speed. The frigate's relatively wide design is supported by structural support ribs, allowing it to perform orbital incursions.[22] Furthermore, these ships also have external hard points on their hulls so that they can be towed by another ship or tow away another damaged ship. The frigates' light armor would be supplemented by the addition of shielding in the post-war era.


Like other human ships, the UNSC frigate was powered by thermonuclear fusion reactors which use deuterium (a stable hydrogen isotope) as fuel. The engines almost certainly use the energy obtained from this process to heat some form of reaction propellant which is expelled out of rear-facing exhausts to generate thrust. There were four exhausts visible on frigates; two large and two small.

For translight voyages, the frigate carries a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. Although they cannot be seen, it can be safely assumed that frigates also possess multiple maneuvering thrusters to adjust a vessel's attitude in three dimensions. Finally, frigates have several times been observed to hover in an atmosphere. It is possible that they vector thrust downward in order to accomplish this feat, but no downward-pointing exhaust nozzles are visible. It is also possible that they employ some form of Covenant-derived antigravity mechanism, or perhaps electrostatic or magnetic levitation, although it is unlikely due to the use of frigates prior to the war. The possible answer is the variance in thrust between the large and small exhausts. In order for the frigate to tilt upwards, the output of the large exhausts are decreased. In order to tilt downwards, the output of the small exhausts are decreased. In order to hover in position, the 4 exhausts on the ship are used to push against each other.

The frigates' engines are their greatest strength as their greater speed and maneuverability afford them an advantage in movement as opposed to armor or firepower. Although slower than Covenant ships at FTL speeds, UNSC frigates can outpace Covenant ships at sublight speeds. UNSC Savannah was seen to literally fly circles around a Covenant Corvette.[18]

Armament & Defense[]

Halo3 - MAC muzzle

The MAC barrel on a UNSC frigate.

A typical UNSC frigate carries the following armament:

Some variants included far different arms; one type had 5 Twin Defensive Rail Gun Turrets[22] and the Anlace-class had Directed Energy Weapons.[24]


UNSC Paris Class Frigate Diagram

Diagram of a Paris-class heavy frigate

The primary structural feature of all variants of the UNSC frigate is the MAC. The shaft containing the MAC spans approximately the foremost third of the ship. Underneath the MAC lies the communications antennae. The Bridge is located in the uppermost part of the ship, in the section directly to the rear of the MAC shaft. The majority of weapons systems are located in pods situated on both sides of the forward two thirds of the ship. The loading elevator and garage are located underneath the belly of the ship. The stern-most third of the ship is almost entirely devoted to the engines.

A UNSC frigate also possess 12 SOEIV bays, located in the stern of the ship, which facilitate the deployment of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.

The bridge is significantly smaller than those of larger UNSC warships. The commanding officer sits in a chair, ahead of which are located the tactical and navigation consoles. Multiple stations are also located behind the commander's chair, though they have never been seen in use.

The UNSC frigates are small compared to assault carriers of the Covenant. They are even capable of docking in the hangar of one, like with UNSC Forward Unto Dawn and Shadow of Intent.[25]


The crew size of frigates varied. For example, the crew of the UNSC In Amber Clad was 200.[1] Though, the number of personnel a single frigate is capable of housing numbers at least within the thousands.[26][verification needed] Frigates have 24 three man escape pods on each side, and 32 on the bottom, making 80 in total. Therefore, 240 personnel can escape via this method.

In 2552, Sergeant Major Avery Johnson was supposedly able to single-handedly control the frigate UNSC Forward Unto Dawn to aid John-117, Cortana and Thel 'Vadam on the newly rebuilt Halo, though this was likely performed using an auto-pilot function. Similarly, Thel seemed to be able to pilot Forward Unto Dawn at least somewhat after Cortana activated its engines and was removed from the systems, but in that case all he really had to do was point the ship at the Portal and fly into it which was likely a relatively simple task.[27]

A Ship Director can monitor and regulate all critical functions without human intervention. Also, UNSC Gettysburg was able to be staffed by only a small amount of crew, survivors of the Fall of Reach and the Battle of Installation 04 although in that case, Cortana was on board and was undoubtedly able to do much of the work.

Ships of the Line[]


There are multiple classes of UNSC frigate. Each of these designs are uniquely outfitted with a variety of different combat roles in mind.

  • The Charon-class light frigate has a large complement of dropships, ground forces and vehicles. It is not as heavily armed or armored as other escort vessels of similar design, this implies a role as fleet support and troop carrier, although it is still capable of ship-to-ship combat.
  • The Paris-class heavy frigate is designed primarily for ship to ship combat boasting additional Titanium-A armor plating, smaller hangar bays and a larger number of point-defense guns than others of its classification.
  • The Stalwart-class light frigate was best suited for planetary defense, fleet escort duties, and troop deployment. It had a smaller complement of vehicles than the Charon-class, and less armament than the Paris-class, effectively balancing it between troop transportation and fleet support.
  • The Strident-class heavy frigate was used as a post-war heavy frigate for the UNSC Navy.
  • The Anlace-class frigate was lighter frigate class focused more on atmospheric operations.[24]
  • The Mulsanne-class frigate was a class of frigate serving against the Banished.[28]

Unidentified Classes[]

  • Light frigates of the same class as UNSC Midsummer Night fill similar roles to a prowler's. They are used primarily on information gathering missions and for covert ops. It is presumably not as combat capable as the other frigate variants. It may be synonymous with one of the above light frigates.
  • The Bellicose was of a different design that could easily be matched to the early 2500s.[29]

Named Ships[]


  • In Halo: Reach, frigates share similarities with Halo 2 frigates when comparing Hangar sizes.
  • From Halo 2 to Halo: Reach, the frigates have a noticeable difference. The frigates in Halo 2 seem to have a bigger "bump" on the front of the frigate, near the MAC gun.
  • In Halo 3, it is possible for the frigate to release its hangar bay doors.
  • The frigate seems to be one of the few UNSC ships that can escape a planet's atmosphere without the aid of additional propulsion.


Concept Art[]

Overviews and Size Comparisons[]

Exterior Shots[]