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I've played most of the games but not read the books or anything so I can't speak for those.

I've noticed that the vehicle sets in the games seem to only include land and air. However, there are still large water bodies in the games. Also, given that Earth is mostly water, it would seem like a logical option for an alien race attempting a take-over to have a way to get around on it.

Are there any aquatic vehicles in the Halo universe?

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From the Halo wikia section on watercraft:

Few watercraft exist in the Halo story-line, however, those which are mentioned have helped to play a vital role within the installments.

Three boats are listed in its Watercraft section; two appeared in books and the third was deleted from Halo: Combat Evolved.

  • Why did they deleted it from Combat Evolved.... I love driving vehicles in Halo. – Captain Cold Aug 20 '13 at 14:06
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In all the books and games, I have never seen an aquatic vehicle used for military application. Given how efficient air vehicles seem to be in-game, it is probably because ships and boats are thus too limited in application.

One only has to look at the UNSC's Pelican and the Covenant's Phantom dropship to see the varied uses it has. Both appear to have significant range, high speed (hundreds of miles per hour), and are capable of suborbital space travel. Given that even a fast ship would be confined to a small body of water, not being able to travel more than a few hundred miles in a day, ships likely became obsolete years before the events of the human-covenant war.

I do remember vaguely a small skiff being used in one of the Kilo-Five books, but that was for a fishing trip I believe, not military applications. I don't remember anything about Forerunner watercraft larger than small skiffs, if any existed.

Edit: Thanks to PhilPursglove's answer, the small skiff is actually the Sanghelli Ocean Skimmer, which is not strictly a watercraft in that it actually hovers over the water. There are two human 'boats' listed that he found, and one is an actual boat, but the other is the Armed Assault Boat. The only mention of it comes from Halo: The Flood, and it does not appear to be much of a watercraft:

Most combat landings were made via armed assault boats, but the boats were slow, and subject to antiaircraft fire. That was why the UNSC had invested the time and money necessary to create a second way to deliver troops through an atmosphere: the HEV, or Human Entry Vehicle.

So there are some watercraft, they are just extremely rare.

  • Then why have any non-air vehicles at all? If anything a ground vehicle is more limited since there is less ground on the planet. Plus the terrain contains mountains that are impassible in such vehicles. – David Starkey Aug 19 '13 at 22:10
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    @DavidStarkey - Manoeuvrability and Armoured assaults. Ground vehicles tend to be able to change course relatively quickly and without needing so much space (when compared to aircraft). Aircraft in general also tends to skimp on armour in order to be lighter, whereas ground vehicles tend to be built to withstand a few hits. – Robotnik Aug 20 '13 at 11:02
  • @DavidStarkey - plus, you can have amphibious vehicles (which I'm sure do exist) that can operate in a variety of terrains. In addition, air vehicles are much easier to spot from a distance, both visually and on sensors. So ground vehicles can be stealthier – The Fallen Aug 20 '13 at 13:17
  • Well there are always the submarine options or water vehicles. If the enemy has no transportation in water then you can move about virtually unseen. – David Starkey Aug 20 '13 at 15:52
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    I would point out that although ships might become obsolete for military reasons they would still be used in a civilian capacity, as the most efficient way of transporting bulk cargo. That said, the events of most of Halo do not really allow for such craft to be seen. On stealth, it is possible to hide a vehicle on land, aircraft are fast enough to avoid attack, but watercraft are slow and obvious in comparison, especially against space based weaponry. – moran Jul 17 '15 at 2:49

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