The YSS-1000 Prototype Anti-Ship Spaceplane, usually referred to as the Sabre, is a space superiority starfighter used by the UNSC Defense Force during the Human-Covenant war. Its first known use was in Operation: UPPERCUT during the Fall of Reach.
The Sabre was the result of the Sabre Program, a top-secret UNSC project, denied as a "preposterous rumor" by three UNSC administrations, in which SPARTAN-B312 was a pilot at some point during the Insurrection of Mamore. By 2552, the YSS-1000 served as the UNSCDF's primary planetary defense fighter. Reach had multiple Sabre fighters stored in launch facilities on the planet's surface. In addition, the orbital platform Anchor 9 had several Sabres stored in its launch bays. Gamma Station also had several Sabres stored.
During the Covenant invasion of Reach, SPARTAN-B312 and Jorge-052 of Noble Team used one of these vehicles during Operation: UPPERCUT, in which multiple Sabres were used by Noble Team and a UNSC strike team to board the Covenant corvette Ardent Prayer in order to use it to deliver a makeshift slipspace bomb to the CSO-class supercarrier, Long Night of Solace. Before assaulting the Corvette, the Sabres were used to defend Anchor 9 against Covenant Type-27 Banshee fliers, Seraph starfighters and Phantom Gunboats. Noble Six and the other pilots were eventually able to land on the corvette after disabling its engines and destroying its fighter escorts in order to use it and the slipspace drive to destroy the supercarrier. The mission succeeded, but the Sabres were destroyed, as the strike team was unable to return to them due to damage to the corvette and was thus forced to abandon them.
The Sabre continued to be produced after the fall of Reach.
The YSS-1000 is a space superiority fighter, which can be launched vertically from a terrestrial launch platform using a system of detachable multi-stage rockets to propel itself out of a planet's gravitational pull and atmosphere. The Sabre's speed is similar to the Seraph's and also has an afterburner ability which increases speed for a short duration of time. The Sabre is also capable of performing complex barrel rolls, Split S maneuvers, and Immelmann turns.
The fighter's armament includes twin 30mm autocannon, as well as linked "Medusa"-type missile pods that can lock onto enemy ships. The Sabre also possesses energy shielding technology, and its targeting computer can identify enemy contacts from a long distance, as well as showing the distance to a selected target.
The Sabre is only playable in the space combat segment of the Long Night of Solace campaign level.
Like other vehicles in the Halo games, the Sabre is piloted from third-person view. The Heads-up display, located near the center of the screen, shows the weapon currently in use, thruster heat, as well as the hull and shield integrity of the Sabre. Enemy ships are identified by type and highlighted with a distance marker once the targeting reticle is moved on them. The HUD is slightly different depending on the weapon used at the time.
Pitch and direction change is controlled by the right thumbstick, while the left stick controls speed. However, if the player holds down the Right Bumper button, a few changes are made. The auto-level functionality is disabled and now left and right on the left thumbstick gives full control over roll. This was a function that was initially always enabled and cut during testing, only to be re-instated at the very last minute by holding the RB button down, and so is not mentioned in the manual, official guide or even within the game itself. The Sabre also has a boost function, which uses its wing-mounted thruster engines. This fills up the thruster heat bar, which needs to cool down after continuous usage. A variety of maneuvers such as Aileron rolls (often mislabeled as 'Barrel Rolls') and Immelmann turns can be performed by using the left bumper. The weapon in use can be switched between the machine guns and missiles with the Y button. The Autocannons have an additional reticle leading the target, and the missiles can lock-on to enemy ships.
- Like the UNSC's Longsword-class Interceptor, Shortsword-class Bomber and its probable successor the F-41 Broadsword, the Sabre is named after a type of sword.
- Although Bungie experimented on implementing the Sabre into multiplayer, it only appears in the campaign due to balancing issues.
- The Sabre launch sequence in Halo: Reach appears to have been inspired by NASA's Space Shuttle program, in both components and angles used for the cinematic. Several angles of the Sabre's launch sequence use similar camera angles seen during Space Shuttle launch, and the on-board cameras are used to examine foam loss on the external tank. The design of the Sabre's own external tank is somewhat based on that on the Shuttle, especially its orange color.
- Crucial aspects of astrodynamics are overlooked in the gameplay of the level the Sabre appears in, Long Night of Solace. For example, when thrust is cut, the Sabre no longer maintains a constant velocity. In reality, a spacecraft's momentum would propel it forward indefinitely as friction is not present. However, it may also be that Anchor 9 is in a high atmospheric orbit, as opposed to an exoatmospheric orbit, thus explaining the decrease in speed.
- The Sabre shares its name with the F-86 Sabre and F-100 Super Sabre. Both planes were key developments in aviation.
- The Sabre has a seven-stage initiation sequence, which is a reference to Bungie's love of the number 7.
- The Sabre is much smaller and more advanced than the Longswords whose role they share. The reason that the Sabre didn't continue in service is probably due to the fact that the Sabre was a prototype and the subsequent invasion of Reach by the entire Covenant fleet and the use of the Cole Protocol resulted in their destruction. It may have been the basis for the development of the Broadsword-class Bomber.
- The Sabre is shown to have control surfaces and rudders in its airframe, these systems would be entirely useless in a vacuum due to the lack of friction, however; these may be used during landing sequences in-atmosphere (another similarity to the Space Shuttle), they may also suggest that the Sabre is capable of use within an atmosphere, much like its Longsword and Seraph counterparts.
- The Sabre's target-leading radar system was first pioneered on the North American F86 Sabre, an innovation that also spawned the Heads-up display (HUD) system.
- The screen on the Sabre's control console displays an image of Sword Base.
- The Sabre's shield is most likely included in the game to make it easier for players who are used to having a shield for protection as a SPARTAN to transfer over to piloting the craft in the mission.
- The Sabre's health is able to recover slightly after the shield recharges. The vehicle's health recharges but any physical damage to the craft remains. The damage, however, is only cosmetic and does not affect gameplay.
- The Sabre's shields are not affected by the Black Eye skull.
- Alongside the Spartans, the Sabre represents one of the most significant advances in UNSC technology throughout the war, and is an example of the slowly closing technological gap between the two sides.
- The twin 30mm cannon, while together, fires at a reasonable rate. If one were to remove one of them, the rate of fire would be rather slow, which is odd considering Russian fighters today have 30mm cannon able to far exceed the fire rate of the Sabre, considering that the game is set 500 years in the future. It could be possible that, while the cannon can have a faster fire rate, the UNSC didn't want the erratic spray of it to throw the Sabre off balance, as it is in vacuum, or Bungie didn't want it to be too overpowered.
- The Sabre looks similar to the Strike Fighter from Halo 2 which was cut from the game.
Concept Art and Pre-Release Images
Overviews and Size Comparisons
- Halo: Reach (First appearance)
- On the console in this picture
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 161
- Halo: Reach E3 Campaign Demo
- Bungie.net: Halo: Reach E3 2010 Trailer
- Bungie.net, Halo: Reach game stats
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Long Night of Solace
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 147
- GameTrailers: E3 2010: Campaign Walkthrough HD
- HBO Forums: Sabre 'expert controls
- HBO Forums: JonnyOThan of Bungie
- 1up: E3 2010: Halo Reach Stage Video Demo
- GameSpot: Halo: Reach E3 2010 Stage Demo: Halo: Reach
- Halo: Reach Official Strategy Guide, page 437