The MJOLNIR (Pronunciation: ˈmjɔlˌnɪɹ 'my-all-'nhr) Powered Assault Armor is a technologically advanced combat exoskeleton system designed to vastly improve strength, speed, agility, reflexes, intelligence and protection of a Spartan-II supersoldier.
Created parallel to the SPARTAN-II Program, the MJOLNIR Armor is currently the most advanced piece of tactical military hardware in human hands. Each suit alone costs as much as a small starship. The brainchild of Dr. Catherine E. Halsey, MJOLNIR is Halsey's attempt to create a powered exoskeleton capable of taking full advantage of the physical capabilities of a SPARTAN-II. The battlesuit is constructed in overlapping layers. It is a sealed system, capable of extravehicular activity or operations in toxic atmosphere. It is hardened against EMPs and radiation, and has filters that are completely effective at removing toxins and bacteria from local atmosphere.
The armor's shell is composed of a multilayer alloy of remarkable strength and has been augmented with a refractive coating capable of dispersing a limited amount of Covenant energy weapons. The suit contains a gel-filled layer underneath a thick black armored bodysuit. The gel layer regulates temperature and can reactively change its density. The inner skinsuit is made of a moisture-absorbing synthetic material linked to an environment control computer and the occupant's UNSC-issue neural interface.
Each human being has a molecular fiber network called the nervous system within their brain. An upgrade to the standard Neural Interface is issued to all high ranking officers; another modified version of the neural lace is issued to all SPARTAN-IIs in the UNSC. This network translates electrochemical signals to digital code and routes them through an interface connection at the rear of the skull. Through this interface, the user's thoughts command the armor's movement and weapons; and input from the on board sensors comes directly to the user's mind. The synthesis of machine and mind is so fast that it is almost impossible to chart reaction time.
Sandwiched between the external armor and the internal padding is the most devastating weapon the suit carries: a layer of reactive metal liquid crystal. Woven by molecular tools into a superdense optical computer memory, this revolutionary crystalline layer forms a network, capable of supporting the kinds of artificial intelligence usually reserved for starships — a piggyback system. An A.I.'s personality and processing matrices can be carried by the armor and delivered to the suit via onboard storage in a crystal data chip no larger than a personal credit card. Such technology did not exist when work began on the Mark I prototypes. At the same time it is amorphous, yet amplifies force, doubling lifting capability and increasing reaction time by a factor of five. Unfortunately the system is so reactive that normal human beings cannot use the suit without injuring themselves. Only humans who have carbide ceramic ossification, a skeletal augmentation, such as a SPARTAN-II, can safely wear the suit.
The suit also possesses other features that enhance its wearer's abilities. It has numerous clips, belts, and magnetic holsters for the attachment of additional weapons and ammunition; an advanced Heads-Up-Display(HUD) linked to sensors in the gloves detects the type of weapon and devices held, and to project shield strength, ammunition count, a targeting reticule, waypoints, a radio uplink for communication, health monitoring and restoration system, regenerative food materials and other helpful data.
In its final phase the MJOLNIR battlesuit weighs half a ton, or 1000 Lbs and when in use, is a fully neural-linked system. With an on board A.I using the human mind for parallel processing, the SPARTAN-II/MJOLNIR combination is designed to be the most devastating intelligence tool ever created.
The armor line is named for the mythical weapon Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor, the Norse god of lightning, thunder, wind, and rain. The origin of the word "Mjölnir" is unknown. The Icelandic verbs mölva (to crush) and mala (to grind) have been suggested as possible translations. Another theory suggests that MJOLNIR might be related to the Russian word молния (molniya) and the Welsh word melt (both words being translated to the term as "lightning"). This second theory parallels with the idea that Thor, being a son of the Chief God, Odin, and the God of Thunder himself, might have used lightning as his weapon.
The Mark I Exoskeletons were one of the Navy's first experiments with powered exoskeletons. The Mark I battle armor was a bulky titanium exoskeleton that improved the strength and stamina of the user's muscles. A user could lift two tons (4,000 pounds) and run at 32 KPH (19.88 MPH). The armor was nearly impervious to standard light weapons. It could mount a 30mm mini-gun that fired on self-targeting armatures. It could also be equipped with motion sensors and infrared scopes. The armor used a hydraulic system for movement. The downfall to this system was that the device consumed enormous amounts of energy, so it required a connection to a fusion generator which hindered movement or the use of inefficient broadcast power, and was thus never seen in battle. It was, however, later used to carry heavy equipment in docking bays, and dozens of others were dumped into Reach's titanium mines.
The Mark I Prototype Exoskeleton was also used by trainers to protect them when training Spartan IIs under Chief Petty Officer Mendez's orders. Otherwise, the training may have killed those trainers, as evidenced by the first first day back at Reach when three trainers were accidentally killed during hand to hand combat exercises. Dr. Halsey's team scrapped this concept and redesigned the battle armor from the ground up for Project: MJOLNIR.
The Mark II battle armor utilized a dramatically slimmed-down profile, but still required a tethered connection to a fusion reactor for power.
The next prototype, the Mark III, incorporated a wireless power transmitter and receiver so that power could be transmitted directly to it, much like the Orbital Defense Platforms used to defend UNSC colonies. This design was quickly rejected for two reasons: first, the main reason being that the armor still had a limited operational range as it had to remain within range of a bulky, immobile generator, and second, the destruction of the generator would result in the incapacitation of the unit. In the end however, all of the first three prototypes had one thing in common: They were impractical on the battlefield, as large exoskeleton units did not have a substantial use in any form of combat. While the Cyclops Powered Exoskeleton has many design similarities to the early MJOLNIR, it was developed separately by the Marine Corps and eventually abandoned.
Although the earlier attempts at developing high-powered armor produced designs that were impractical for battlefield deployment, Dr. Halsey's MJOLNIR Project would soon change that. The Mark IV was a radical redesign of the suit, taking advantage of many technological innovations. Developed and tested at the Damascus Testing Facility on Chi Ceti IV, this battle suit was the first to feature full integration with the user's body. The suit plugged directly into the user's neural network through a standard issue Neural Interface. The suit's many functions utilized the user's thoughts for commands, greatly speeding up the user's movements and reflexes. Its normal color is olive green.
This was also the first design to successfully utilize the reactive metal liquid crystal layer as a means of enhancing locomotion. It enhanced the speed and power of the wearer, a sharp contrast to previous versions, which required powered motors to allow the user's mobility. Because of this advancement, the design more closely resembled an actual suit of armor, as opposed to a powered exoskeleton; the user moved the suit, and in return the suit moved the user. This allowed for an incredibly compact design when compared to the previous incarnations. The success of this version was also dependent upon the parallel development of the Spartan-II program, which produced troops with the physical capabilities required to drive the system.
The Mark IV armor contained an integrated computer system which continuously monitors weapons, biological functions, and motion through intelligent motion-sensing radar. The suit was airtight, hardened against vacuum, and featured air-filtration systems as well as a built-in oxygen re-breather system that could last for up to 90 minutes. The suit's helmet also featured a standard UNSC mounted flashlight with its own separate power supply. Concealed side compartments in the upper thigh plates allowed the user to holster a sidearm. A member of Spartan Gray Team wearing the Mark IV armor.
In combat situations with the Covenant the Mark IV could only take a few shots from Covenant Plasma Weapons before failing, even with a refractive coat to help disperse energy attacks. The Mark IV still could not overcome the major problem of keeping its user safe.
The suit also had a number of other features, including recoil-compensating actuators, hydrostatic gel to regulate and monitor temperature and dampen impact force, and biofoam injectors. However, the biofoam injectors and medical care systems of the Mark IV had to be provided with a direct supply of biofoam, medicines, and stimulants from a standard Marine first aid kit when the user was injured, as the suit would not hold or generate a supply of medicines and biofoam, unlike the Mark VI. Another feature introduced, and applied to later versions, was magnetic soles on the suit's boots that allowed the wearer to stand on a high moving metal object, such as a ship's hull. The suit however did not accommodate magnetic plating to hold weapons and equipment. Also, the suit was able to automatically pressurize to compensate for the addition of or lack of gravity as a life-saving mechanism. It was this function that Rebels took advantage of via the use of anti gravity plates. The Mark IV Assault armor was fielded from November 27, 2525 to August 29, 2552, when it was replaced by MJOLNIR Mark V armor. Strangely, the Mark IV worn by the other SPARTAN-II's is different from that worn by Gray Team in color, which itself is gray. This is likely to differentiate them from the other SPARTANs, considering this team stands out even among other SPARTAN-II's.
The newer Mark V replaced the Mark IV Assault Armor the day prior to the Covenant assault on Reach in 2552, though it was first produced in 2542. The Mark V was the realization of Dr. Halsey's vision. It had hundreds of minor technical improvements over the Mark IV as well as two major modifications. It could hold an Artificial Intelligence and had energy shields.
The Mark V was powered by a larger fusion pack than the Mark IV. This was necessary due to the fact that the Mark V had an integrated dynamic, self-recharging, energy shielding system, built using captured Covenant technology similar to those used by Elites, but designed from captured Jackal energy shields that repels mass objects and energy bursts. While impacts on the shield place a substantial drain on the system's power supply, the system's energy regenerates quickly once the user is no longer under fire. However, the process of adapting the shield to cover the entire body weakened the energy field, making the Mark V's shield system vulnerable to ballistic fire, unlike Jackal shields, which are nearly impervious to ballistic weaponry. This was unfortunate, as Flood Combat Forms frequently use UNSC weaponry. The armor was made up of layers of dense material and the outside was treated with an energy-absorbing coating that could ablate when under intense fire. It should also be mentioned that it is fairly better protected from plasma weaponry than ballistic.
In addition, the Mark V featured a weave of memory-processor super-conducting material, the same material as an AI's core beneath its armor. This gave the suit nearly the same capacity as a ship-borne AI system. This along with an upgrade to the standard-issue neural implant, allowed an A.I to inhabit the suit of armor and interface with the mind of its user, greatly enhancing the interface between the suit and the wearer as well as boosting real-time data processing power, which was intended to assist the user in real-time by monitoring communication channels, computer relays, and friendly combat updates. The A.I could translate thought into motion quickly, thus boosting the reaction time. Since, without the armor, a SPARTAN's reaction time is charted at twenty milliseconds, the AI boost could render it almost instantaneous. The A.I could "use" the person in who's suit they were installed as "memory." The AI can use some of the human's wet-ware biological processing for some of its functions.
The Mark V also has a sensor range of 15 meters
The MJOLNIR Mark V, along with its successor, the Mark VI, are equipped with magnetic pads placed throughout the suit, on the belt, thighs and back. This allows the user of the MJOLNIR suit to attach weapons, grenades, tank mines or a HAVOK Tactical Nuclear Weapon if the situation demands the use of it.
Extra components were developed for the Mark V, to which the remnants of the Spartan II Red Team on Reach added to their armor.
John-117 was the first Spartan to test the MJOLNIR Mark V. His test was to ring a bell after going through an obstacle course. This course involved 10 Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, a minefield with Lotus Anti-Tank Mines, three automated 30mm chainguns, a forest of wooden poles, and a Skyhawk Aircraft utilizing four 50mm cannons and Scorpion Anti-Tank Missiles. This test showed that AI’s could improve the armor's reaction times.
The lethality of the system was demonstrated by John-117, when he and the AI Cortana successfully fought their way across a planet-like, artificial ring-world called Halo.
In Halo 3 multiplayer, the Mark V armor has been upgraded to be compatible with all Mark VI MJOLNIR armor. The helmet is featured as one of the permutations. The chest is not available, but a very similar variant comes under the name EOD
Mark V had the shortest time period where it was used: from August 29, 2552 to October 20, 2552 when it was replaced by the new Mark VI.
The Mark VI was first tested by Maria-062 in Songnam, Korea. She survived a battle against a squad of ODSTs, and after that the armor was approved for battle and was sent to John-117 in Cairo Station on October 20, 2552.
The Mark VI battle armor addressed some of the weaknesses of the earlier models. The energy shielding system recharged significantly faster and was notably stronger. There were a number of lights implemented into the armor plating to help indicate the current status of the energy shield. The lights would flicker rapidly when the shields were down and would glow brightly for the duration of the recharge time. The armor plating, while less bulky, was more dense, therefore offering as much if not more protection than previous models. The suit was more streamlined than the Mark V, eliminating a number of grapple points that an enemy could use in close-quarters battle. This version of the armor could track the status of two active weapons at the same time, and also included a visual magnification system, allowing the user to see distant objects with ease.
It seems that before John-117's activities in the First Battle of Earth, an improved reactive metal liquid crystal layer had been developed for this suit, increasing the mobility of the Spartan even further, although this has yet to be confirmed. However, this claim may be reinforced by evidence such as faster melee attacks in Halo 2 Campaign, slightly faster jumping speed, and increased jump height. John-117's physical performance appeared to have improved considerably.
The armor was also capable of healing minor to moderate injuries over a course of time, due to a regenerative on board supply of Biofoam, which was automatically injected into the wearer's body, filling and sealing wounds, but causing extreme pain. This new capability eliminated the need to manually apply a medkit or seek a field medic in order to tend to injuries. The Biofoam effectively treats all but the most critical wounds, and its use was capable of stabilizing the user and allowing him to perform his duties even while injured until such a time as more extensive medical attention was possible. It is also likely that the suit was capable of automatically increasing the pressure level of its hydrostatic gel as the user was falling, explaining the lack of fall damage in Halo 2. According to the Halo 3 intro cinematic, the Mark VI also included a "lockdown" mode where the suit retained a rigid form upon sustaining heavy trauma, most likely to avoid further injury. This also explains why a player's dead body gets 'stuck' in one stance when splattered.
John-117 is the only confirmed active SPARTAN-II to receive the full Mark VI armor in-game. Fred-104, Linda-058 and Will-043 may have been refitted with Mark VI armor once they returned to Earth after the events of Halo: First Strike.
The MJOLNIR is an adaptable suit of armor with many variations and modifications available, optimizing it for certain functions. The Mark VI armor experienced graphical changes between Halo 2 and Halo 3. These changes appear to be purely aesthetic in nature and have no canon explanation.
- Luminous Green Refractive Titanium Alloy (Exterior)
- Matte Black Alloy (Exterior)
- Magnetic Weapon Holder Strips (Mk. V and, Mk. Vl)
- Shields (Mk. V, and Mk. VI only)
- Hydrostatic Gel
- Reactive Metal Liquid Crystal Layer
- Pressure Seal
- Automatic Biofoam Injectors (Mk. VI only)
- Magnetic boots (Mk. IV, Mk. V, and Mk. VI)
One of the most important parts of the MJOLNIR armor units was the MJOLNIR Helmet and Visor with its HUD. The helmet also had a small flashlight, which was useful in combat situations that were in poorly lit areas. It was solar-powered, recharging its energy from the sun when possible, or from the armor itself if necessary. Like the previous Marks, the helmet of this armor features a small cap-like protrusion above the visor. This "cap" may serve to deflect rain from the visor, protect the visor should the wearer fall on his face, or serve to psychologically impact enemies.
- MJOLNIR, or Mjölnir, as it is spelled in Norse, was the battle hammer of the Norse god Thor. Thor was the God of Thunder, and possessed incredible power. It is said that Mjölnir had the power to level mountains.
- Although a part of the MJOLNIR Mark VI Powered Armor series, the assumption that the Recon variant is only worn by Spartans is incorrect as Captain Veronica "Dare" wears a modified helmet in Halo 3: ODST .
- MJOLNIR is not the only attempt at creating a powered exoskeleton to enhance soldier's capabilities. Project HAYABUSA, a rival project, also created a powered armor boasting energy shields, though whether it saw actual combat is unknown. Likewise, the initial failures of the Mark I, II and III MJOLNIR led to the UNSC Marine Corps developing its own suit, the Cyclops, though it would eventually fall out of use.
- The Mark VI was the first suit to contain Automatic Biofoam Injectors, which negated the need for Spartans to use Health Packs, which explains why there were no health bars in Halo 2 and Halo 3.