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GHOST Powered Infiltration Armor

UNSC Transmission XX44-607V-0X - MRG_REP_09 (Attached Files: 7)
Sent: 23 / 01 / 2555 (UPDATED W/ACTIVE-STATE VISUALIZATION 02 / 03 / 2555)
Encryption Code: RED
Public Key: N/A
Classification: CLASSIFIED (BGE Directive)


Project MIRAGE is an ongoing cross-platform research and development program overseen by the UNSC Materials Group in conjunction with the Watershed Division as well as UNSC Special Operations forces to integrate the photoreactive (PR) adaptive texture camouflaging technology used in the Semi-Powered Infiltration (SPI) armor to the second-generation (GEN-2) MJOLNIR suits. The most tangible result of the project so far is the GHOST Powered Infiltration Armor, which combines the stealth advantages of the SPI armor with the superior performance enhancement and protection of the GEN-2 MJOLNIR. The project has also spawned a variety of offshoots and supplemental PR components for armor systems not limited to Spartans as well as PR-fitted versions of existing armor variations; for details see attached file MRG_REP_09/OTHER. In time, MIRAGE is expected to grow into a fully supported sub-ecosystem of PR-enabled armor components for the GEN-2 MJOLNIR as well as other UNSC armor platforms.


Photoreactive "chameleon" camouflage (sometimes termed as "chameleoflage") comprises a series of surfaces coated with a layer of photo-receptive organic light-emitting diode (PROLED) polymer that mimics its surroundings. An object camouflaged in such a way is able to effectively "blend in" with a given environment. While it is a form of active camouflage (or adaptive camouflage), PR camouflage is wholly distinct from Covenant active camouflage technology, which uses sophisticated light-bending lensing fields to render an object almost completely invisible to the naked eye from any direction (for a further technical breakdown see attached file MRG_REP_09/TECHNOLOGY).

PR camouflaging technology has been in use with human militaries for several centuries, although the SPI armor has so far represented the cutting edge in that area, melding state-of-the-art stealth properties with minimal power drain. While this form of active camouflage is not as effective as its Covenant-developed counterpart, the UNSC's PR technology is also far more energy-efficient. The SPI armor, in its latest forms, is able to maintain its stealth mode for several hours, compared to the duration of standard Covenant active camouflage which ranges from only under a minute to several minutes at most due to the vast amounts of energy required to generate the shaped lensing field. It is the opinion of the MIRAGE team that this advantage makes PR adaptive camouflaging technology a worthwhile pursuit even as progress is made into developing and implementing Covenant-based cloaking systems.

There were several main goals to Project MIRAGE:
  • Improve upon extant adaptive camouflage technology without substantially increasing power drain
  • Maintain IR and passive sensor camouflage properties of the SPI system
  • Improve upon suit's external architecture to maximize coverage of PR surfaces over GEN-2 non-PR techsuit without sacrificing wearer mobility
  • Replicate the SPI system's user interface and VISR systems as closely as is feasible on the GEN-2 system to maximize familiarity with the projected primary user group (S-III operators)

The GHOST system has a number of potential uses. Most notably, SPARTAN-III personnel are trained to use the SPI system's stealth properties to their fullest. By porting the SPI to the MJOLNIR architecture that aspect of their training can be leveraged while simultaneously reaping the benefits of the MJOLNIR suit. Additionally, the training of most non-Spartan UNSC Special Forces combatants is geared toward stealth and infiltration tactics, using both passive and active camouflaging systems. Over the last several years, select detachments of ODST have adopted the SPI armor and related PR systems even as S-III operators gradually transition to MJOLNIR. As many previously non-augmented Special Force personnel are enhanced to SPARTAN-IV status, the GHOST PIA and related photoreactive systems can serve to fill an operational niche allowing special operators-turned-Spartans to make use of their existing stealth training and tactics with greater efficacy than conventional, non-PR-equipped MJOLNIR would allow. In addition, Spartan personnel who otherwise use non-PR armor systems may equip the GHOST set on stealth-oriented deployments.

PHYSICAL CONFIGURATION (for detailed breakdown see attached file MRG_REP_09/PHYS_CONFIG)

It was decided early on to maintain the basic plating architecture of the SPI system so as to avoid attempting to reinvent the wheel. The SPI's existing plating configuration has been proven effective for its primary role of stealth, and provides a sufficient degree of mobility despite the extensive hard plating coverage due to the use of overlapping armor plates that allow a certain range of motion over one another. It should be noted that several changes have been made to the details of the plating, mainly for reasons of:
  1. Adaptation to the different base system and techsuit
  2. Improving stealth properties via a more efficient plating configuration and elimination of surface irregularities
  3. Advancements enabled by improved manufacturing methods and materials.
External changes and features of note:
  • The armor plating is now fastened almost exclusively by concealed interlocking mechanisms wherever possible in order to minimize unwanted disturbances (e.g. screws or recesses) in the PR camouflage. Like the SPI armor, the GHOST suit's armor plating is equipped with an embedded EM mesh allowing the attachment of MPAS-compatible equipment pouches and other accessories.
  • The gauntlets and upper arms use a further refined version of the Mk. II SPI Alpha configuration. Mk II Beta/Mk. III style gauntlets are scheduled to begin production with certain variant models at a later date.
  • The PR plating on the inner thighs has been streamlined and simplified
  • The torso and chest armor are informed by both SPI Mk. II and Mk. III, although the gaps in the Mk. III chest armor have been eliminated.

NOTE: The Mirage development team is aware that the minimalism of the GHOST PIA's armor plating is in violation of the UNSC's "Ascendancy" visual guideline (08/01/2553) which recommends, in the section "Spartan Armor", that "70-90% of armor surface be covered in structural features (rivets, screws, vents, seams, buckles, engravings, indentations, et al; functional or otherwise) to evoke the impression of technological sophistication. Areas of smooth surface should be avoided wherever possible, and it is recommended that otherwise smooth sections be sculpted to more intricate and aesthetically stimulating shapes." However, several tests have shown that complex surface geometries are more likely to interfere with the camouflage pattern to a negative effect than smooth ones, in addition to being more resource-intensive on both the pattern-rendering software and the PR polymer. The Mirage team is of the opinion that purely utilitarian concerns (namely, the effectiveness of stealth) should weigh more heavily than cosmetic preferences in this case, as said utilitarian concerns are the reason the armor system in question exists. (SIDE NOTE: The Mirage team considers it prudent to point out that multiple studies show smooth surfaces distribute directed-energy attacks more effectively than baroquely sculpted ones, and have tangible benefits in reducing energy shield drain due to less complicated shield shaping.)

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS (for detailed technical breakdown see attached file MRG_REP_09/TECH_SPECS)

By far the most notable change in the GHOST suit is the move from a semi-powered to a fully powered system. Despite similar outward appearances, every component of the suit has been overhauled as necessitated by the different techsuit architecture. The plating is MJOLNIR-grade titanium alloy with outer layers of ablative ceramic and adaptive PR polymer coated with a protective layer of a non-reflective transparent ceramic material. The camouflage has a greatly improved fidelity and a texture adaptation speed measured in milliseconds thanks to advancements in PR polymer technology and the superior computational capacity of the MJOLNIR's data crystal layer. Embedded proto-AI routines leverage the operator's own pattern-matching wetware (with the processed sensory data relayed through a neural interface) as well as MJOLNIR's broad-spectrum sensor suite to detect not only observers but enemy observers, optimizing the adaptive camouflage directionally in fractions of a second to present the least detectable texture to hostile units. The MJOLNIR's fusion pack enables a virtually indefinite adaptive camouflage with an efficient 97-98% of the base GEN-2 shield while in use. This ratio can be adjusted with concessions to either physical enhancement, shield strength, or camouflage duration.

Commission: S-G217 Camouflaged by The-Chronothaur 
The PR camouflage in a jungle environment

The standard GHOST helmet contains every default feature of mainstream GEN-2 systems, including an AI interface port compatible with all current Spartan-issue neural implants and an integrated communications suite. The default VISR suite for the GHOST armor set contains an improved version of the extant SPI Mk. III interface, bringing it line with other GEN-2 systems; incorporating IR, BWIM, CMR, AR, etc. vision enhancement modes, motion tracker and compass, status lights, automatic zoom, an intuitive saccadal/neural control interface, et al. The visor's outer surface is fully photoreactive.

Headhunter brainstorming by The-Chronothaur
An example of potential variety within the GHOST platform

The MIRAGE team recommends the use of PR-coated accessories (adaptive-texture UA plating, pouches, weapon shrouds, barrel sheaths, camouflage cloaks, etc.) in conjunction with the GHOST set. The suit contains a wireless link to any attached external PR components and is fully compatible with all UNSC issue adaptive camouflage accessories. Extant non-Mirage PR conversions to mainline reconnaissance- and stealth- oriented armor systems (e.g. RECON, SCOUT) are fully compatible with the GHOST armor set (see attached file MRG_REP_09/TECH_SPECS for full list of compatible systems).

Fireteam Atlas: Undercover (Commission) by The-Chronothaur
Spartan-III operators wearing various permutations of the GHOST ensemble along with PR-adapted equipment

NOTE: While Navy and Army preferences approve of the "no-nonsense" solid base color surface of the baseline GHOST suit, Spartan Corps doctrine has decreed that "Solid color should not exceed 20-30% of armor plating, which should preferably be adorned with one or more geometric patterns or otherwise graphic markings, covering 20-90% of the plating surface. Saturated and vibrant hues, particularly mixtures thereof, are preferred to dour and traditionally militaristic washed-out browns, grays, or greens. All armor color configurations and designs must conform to the "Ascendancy" aesthetic doctrine and be approved by Spartan Corps' resident board of graphic designers. This is to highlight enlistment with the Spartans as an exciting career opportunity for a New Generation of Heroes, as well as to ensure a diverse supply of thrilling imagery for Spartan Public Relations material. " (Spartan Field Manual 2555, Section 3: "Armor Appearance"). Because of the GHOST system's photoreactive nature, however, the Mirage team strongly recommends forgoing any superficial markings so as to avoid obstructing the functionality of the adaptive-texture surfaces. Based on performance data of operators using first-generation MJOLNIR and SPI systems, the Mirage team has concluded that cosmetic armor markings, however in keeping with the UNSC's postwar aesthetic guidelines, do not have any positive impact on a Spartan's performance nor the armor's functionality, leaving such ornamentation a fashion statement at best. Although the PR coating can theoretically be programmed to display extraneous surface markings when active, the Mirage team strongly advises against this in tactical situations.

To Hell and Back (Commission) by The-Chronothaur
A Spartan-III clad in a GHOST set, PR coating inert

VARIANTS (for more detailed specifications on the GHOST development tree see attached file MRG_REP_09/VARIANTS)

The MIRAGE project has produced several offshoots and permutations for the GHOST platform. Few of these are full-scale conversions that necessitate altering the physical makeup of the suit in a noticeble way, but rather largely internal "modification kits" that allow the suit's relatively rapid optimization for a given specialty role. However, as suit components and variant lines are outsourced to private manufacturing firms, some deviation from the standard physical template is to be expected (NOTE: the MIRAGE team strongly recommends that any aberrations from the core template not compromise stealth properties or protection in the name of "market-friendly" redesigns).
  • Headhunter: production offshoot optimized specifically for long-range missions with minimal resupply, backup, or contact with friendly forces. Features augmented communications, hardened satellite/drone uplinks and feeds (COMsat, CLARION, STARS, et al.), tracking, and mapping equipment.
  • Berserker: developed in conjunction with the ongoing VORPAL program, the BERSERKER modification kit attunes the GHOST system for the peculiarities of S-III Gamma Company's altered neurology. Uses CMR overlays, neural interface mediation, and modest combat pharmaceuticals to improve operator focus while under the "berserk" state experienced by the Gamma Spartans under grave injury or stress, as well as to speed up recovery from said state. The set also features several emergency stabilizing features as well as an automated "Smoother" anti-psychotic medication dispenser as a contingency for the medicinal-synthesizing pump implants received by most Gamma personnel in their VORPAL-II post-augmentation bio-maintenance and upgrade procedure.
  • Ferret: informal specialization kit in use with select top-secret ONI S-III investigations/direct action teams, featuring additional intrusion and C-PIE routines, a tactical analysis suite with optimized CMR VISR modes, specialized awareness-enhancing "Subtle AI" network, as well as the Artemis Tracking System (ATS) as standard equipment. Designed to be used in conjunction with the BERSERKER mod kit.
  • Ambrose: increases survivability at a minute cost of physical enhancement. Features increased shield strength, life support (co-developed with the NIGHTFALL project), and an augmented bio-monitor suite. Ideal for large-scale, high-intensity combat operations and hostile environments.


A lot of people, myself included, have wanted to see a SPI-based in-game armor set for some time now. So I thought I'd depict how I might go about making one both design- and backstory-wise. I wanted to give the impression that the suit has undergone some evolution but still stay faithful to the classic design first and foremost for the sake of familiarity. Why not just call it "SPI"? Because the acronym won't be applicable anymore as the suit is powered now. "Ghost" alludes to both the armor's stealth function as well as one interpretation of the titular "Ghosts" in Ghosts of Onyx.

I've always appreciated minimalism in armor designs (and design in general for that matter); it's why the SPI armor and the classic Halo CE Mark V are some of my favorites. I also think a big part of why designs like the Stormtrooper/Clone Trooper armor are so iconic is because they're simple and definitive and not filled with visual noise everywhere like a lot of modern video game armors are (looking at 343i here). They have enough smooth surfaces to give the design room to breathe and for the viewer to take in the overall shapes. I've also found that it takes a lot more restraint as an artist not to add in superficial detail; it's extremely tempting to add a few screws here and a little vent there or a seam or two on this surface. But I really wanted to make sure I could justify most (if not all) of my decisions with this (re)design, even if it's mostly modeled after the classic SPI. That said, had I not thought of people's expectations of what a SPI variant should look like I would've gone further with some of the changes. For example, I found no way to rationalize the little holes in the metal-colored parts on the gauntlets and boots (or why those parts are a different color in the first place) but put them in anyway because those parts looked awfully empty without them.

I might update this one with a back view at some later date (EDIT: I actually updated it with a camouflaged version). Now I'll have to focus on the several commissions I have piled up.

Credit for the "Headhunter" and "Ambrose" names goes to sanbi17.
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© 2016 - 2021 The-Chronothaur
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So it's SPI armor ported for mjolnir? stealth armor with energy shielding and strength, speed, and reflex increase is a good thing i guess.

TheApprentice225's avatar
Humble as it is I'll never not adore the old SPI Armor look.  Top notch work on this!
The-Chronothaur's avatar
Thank you! The SPI armor looks great and I wish it received more attention.
TheApprentice225's avatar
Same here! Though not from 343 studios. I wouldn't trust them to write an engaging news article let alone try to handle the topic of the SPARTAN IIIs and all the nuances that made them great!
Swatson3rd's avatar
its cool seeing how the ghost armor is developing now that you have several examples of it. do you have any more on the way?
The-Chronothaur's avatar
I do, for two of my characters I haven't really showcased yet. I've been thinking I could do more purely conceptual exploration of the different possible designs too, if I ever get around to it.
Swatson3rd's avatar
exciting i look forward to seeing them would it be for Flynn and G098? 

that would be interesting to see. like a line up of design variations with labels and things ?  it is very fun to read through the design and project explanations. 
The-Chronothaur's avatar
Yeah, they’re the ones I’m thinking of. I have a solid idea of what they’re going to look like already, though I’m still not locking anything down yet. I might even try and come up with a lineup style picture of various alternate designs for each of them before I settle for the final versions. I’ve already doodled them a lot but it might help to make a more refined design sheet for different possible variations, even ones I'm not going to use for those characters.

It’s good to hear at least someone likes reading the descriptions. I'm not sure if I'll be labeling every single variant part, but it's always a nice challenge to try and figure out what everything does instead of just drawing it because it looks nice.
Swatson3rd's avatar
id like to commission my team in this armor at some point. 
The-Chronothaur's avatar
Sounds good. I still have to finish your commission and another one, and somebody else was also interested in commissioning me, but I'd definitely like to tackle this idea.

The characters should probably have something to tell them apart so I take it they'd have the camo panels displaying their unique paint jobs or something? I did say in the description that the system is modular, so I could also add some variety to the armors themselves with different pouches and some extra armor here and there (I've been planning on making a little design sheet showing possible variety in the Ghost armor configurations).
Swatson3rd's avatar
thats cool.
i was thinking of having it as an unhelmeted version of the characters. but as for telling them apart in other ways i was thinking the shoulder strap would be a good spot for personal emblems  like Nathaniel's zulu shield. id be happy enough for you to use it as an opportunity to have a play with armor variants.     
Swatson3rd's avatar
so i was wondering if it would be ok if i used this armor in a bit of writing for my Fireteam? i ve a couple of ideas floating around in my head one of which was my fireteam acting as armor prototype testers for a time at some point between the events of halo 3 and 5.  
so i was wondering if that was cool and then inflict to some random questions on you.  
how long do you think the development time would be on the armor? 
do you think it would be tested on anvil station?
you said the armor shouldn't be painted right. i am not sure if this it right but in my head i ve got it that the armor changes colour to blend in with its surroundings right so could the armor in theory be set to show a pattern when its not reacting to its environment?
The-Chronothaur's avatar
Yeah, feel free to use it. I'd appreciate it if you dropped a link back here in the description, though, if that's not too much to ask.

I didn't honestly think about the development time very far, but something like mid-2553 to mid-2555 would be a reasonable timeframe I think. The first prototypes may have been fielded around 2554, while the mass-produced versions would've entered service in early to mid 2555. However, the development process would likely go on even after the armor's been phased into service, in the form of upgrades and service to the existing system. Over time, the Mirage program would probably also produce newer models and variations of the suit, so all in all there's a fair bit of leeway.

I see no reason it wouldn't be tested on Anvil Station. A lot of armors seem to have been so it seems like a logical testing location.

Yeah, I actually noted in the description it could be programmed to display patterns when the camo is not in use. It's just that it shouldn't be painted because the paint would get in the way of the camouflage surface and render the armor's one unique advantage pointless.
Swatson3rd's avatar
if i get to the point of posting i will stick a link on it.   

i was just thinking of time frame plot wise and if iam going to borrow your idea may as well do it properly. 

in my head i imagined it being tested at anvil station before proper in the field testing. hammering out the major problems with endless firefight or warzone simulations (i still find the multiplayer is training sims explanation a bit odd) before they let Spartans take it outside properly.  i would put Atlas receiving the some of the first few working prototypes late 2553.  i imagine that because they were like noble team that they would have been used as guinea pigs for prototype mjolnir tech a few times before armor became more wide spread.       

the display would actually mean that decoration would last longer as apparently the paint they use for the patterns isn't very durable. 
The-Chronothaur's avatar
That sounds about right. Makes sense they'd test the prototypes pretty thoroughly before taking them out to the field. I'm not sure how long it would take for the team to come up with operational prototypes but I suppose they could manage it in a few months if they started working hard on it in mid '53.

The funny thing with the coating is that technically you could probably make it display anything through a few hacks or whatnot, as the armor's surface is essentially a weirdly-shaped LED display. You could probably play movies on it, if there was any point to that kind of thing.
Swatson3rd's avatar
hmm its had to say the mk4  was in service from 2525 to 2552 which is a crazy long time but then the mk 5 was replaced less than a year later so it varies a little bit. id like to think that a two three year development time would be reasonable especially with them ramping up the number of armor variants between 2552 and 2558 i think the go from like 7 to 30 plus  

its a cool idea they could be in transit and be like i am board lets stick a film on. i quite like the idea that the helmet could be used to display moving patterns so things like Emile's skull or kahn's fanged helmet could be made in to live masks.     
sanbi17's avatar
I wonder if the metal parts on the hand guards would actually camo. Nice addition to the pic
The-Chronothaur's avatar
I did consider that myself. I ended up camouflaging the metal-colored parts on the gauntlets and boots since I found no reason those wouldn't have the camo, especially since the visor does. The little metal bumps on the knuckles I left un-camouflaged as I ended up using the default GEN-2 undersuit ones for those anyway in the updated version.
sanbi17's avatar
You've really outdone yourself Ambulant,with this and my comm.

Makes me all the more eager to see the other one I asked for lol

PS: I'd stick with the updated model of Ghost for any future pics, it looks that good
Dragotan's avatar
I like the smooth-look you draw the armour in, really cool!
The-Chronothaur's avatar
Thanks. The smoothness (which stands in stark contrast to most Halo armors) was a very conscious decision as I reasoned that the armor's (fictional) designers would want to avoid any unneeded surface features to make the stealth coating the most effective it could possibly be.
Dragotan's avatar
No problem. :) That makes sense! It is interesting that the Spartan III's had Stealth armour, it certainly gave them an advantage.
Swatson3rd's avatar
awesome ! i like how solid it looks. looks like it could take some damage.   
sanbi17's avatar
They won't see ya coming ;)
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