The CAS-class Assault Carrier is a Covenant capital ship classification of the Covenant Navy. Assault Carriers are much larger than CCS-class battlecruisers, Covenant supercruisers, DDS-class carriers and most other Covenant ships; they are more rare and more heavily armed than either of them.
After the Fall of Reach, A CAS-class Assault Carrier known as the Seeker of Truth was commanded by Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee in the Fleet of Particular Justice that engaged the Pillar of Autumn above Installation 04.
Assault Carriers, like the vast majority of other Covenant ships, are characterized by their bulbous, whale-like front, sleek silhouette and pale white/blue hull. However, they also tend to be characterized by their unique "hooked" bow section that would (theoretically) be a massive weakness as the ship could be blown in half comparatively easily, given its shields were down. Assault Carriers are used as Flagships, leading Covenant Fleets into battle. From their name, and actions at the Fall of Reach, it would appear that an Assault Carrier is designed to fight through an enemy world's defenses and head right into the planet's atmosphere and drop off its troops.
Rather than possessing multiple smaller hangar bays, like smaller cruisers, Assault Carriers use a single, gargantuan hangar bay capable of transporting large numbers of Seraph fighters, Phantom dropships, boarding craft, and large fleets of Ghosts and Wraiths.
For propulsion, Assault Carriers rely on large deuterium-tritium fusion reactors, housed in cavernous chambers, which power the ship's vital systems, as well as the three aft-mounted plasma drives that propel the ship, capable of operating in a vacuum or in an atmospheric environment. They also employ non-reactive gravity drives for standard maneuvering and hovering above the surface of a planet, resisting its gravity. The Assault Carrier is also fitted with Modular Dispersal Technology, giving it the ability to completely detach sections of its outer hull as well as whole corridors, as seen during the Battle of the Unnamed Star System. They can also separate into two distinct sections which leaves the rear section (with the main engines) behind and allows the fore-section to move away with previously hidden engines, the fore section (and likely the rear) are still slipspace capable. Unlike its unorthodox means of use by the Fleet Master in an attempt to disperse the advancing Spartan forces, the dispersal feature is actually intended to be used in order to detach sections of the Carrier that sustained extensive damage to increase the chances of saving what is left of the ship and its crew for future use.
It should also be noted that CAS-class carriers can be completely submerged in certain substances and still function.
Because these enormous vessels are often employed as capital ships, it is necessary for them to be heavily armed. Though designed for planetary combat, they also excel at ship-to-ship combat, possessing at least two energy projectors. The energy projectors are powerful enough to cut through UNSC capital ships and are located on its ventral and dorsal surfaces. They also possess multiple pulse-laser turrets used for intercepting enemy missiles and fighters, and plasma torpedoes for engaging in ship-to-ship combat and assaulting planetary defenses.
Assault Carriers are also equipped with at least one gravity lift, capable of dispatching troops, personnel, vehicles and equipment to the surface of a planet rather quickly. They also possess a large main hangar, capable of carrying multiple Seraphs and Banshee fighter crafts, Phantom dropships and boarding crafts, or a UNSC Frigate. In addition, Assault Carriers possess the ability to launch Drop Pods, tactically delivering Sangheili warriors into areas without resorting to bulky and obvious dropships. These ships also carry the dreaded Scarab walkers in their holds for quick deployment. Thanks to these innovations, a single Assault Carrier can easily launch large-scale invasions quickly and effectively.
Ships of the Line
- In the modern US Navy, the term "Assault Carrier" refers to the Amphibious Assault Ship, which is used to transport troops over water and offload them via hovercraft or helicopter.