"If you fly hard and fast enough, even whole armoured brigades can be taken out in one swoop."
―Lieutenant Sara Allsopp
The B-65 Suborbital Long-Range Bomber, marketed as the Shortsword, is a sub-orbital twin-enginebomber that is used by the United Nations Space CommandAir Force and Naval Aviation Corps. Introduced to act as a purpose-built strategic bomber to replace the increasingly inadequate B-48 Cutlass and C708 Longswords, the Shortsword would eventually be adapted for all high-speed ground-attack roles at both high- and low-altitudes. Although primarily built for operation within a planet's atmosphere, some UNSC Naval Aviation squadrons have pressed these aircraft into strike roles against enemy warships, with various levels of success.
Although originally beginning development in the mid 2470s, issues with the Shortsword's unstable headwind during flight and streamlined design prevented mass-adoption by the UNSC until 2479. Although their first use in anger occurred during the horrific nuclear bombing of Far Isle in 2492, Shortswords were subject to numerous test operations during the decade before due to fears that the friction between the Colonial Military Administration and Earth may result in a major revolt. Regardless, while this never came to pass, the sudden spread of violence across the Outer Colonies saw Shortswords becoming an abundant sight during the various bushfire wars. Unfortunately, their success would be cut short when the Covenant arrived; their lack of armour, relatively-small payloads compared to the closely-related GA-TL1 Longsword, and somewhat predictable flight patterns would result in tens of thousands of Shortswords being shot down during the first phase of the Human-Covenant War. Kept in limited production due to the need for dedicated strike bombers, Shortswords would be particularly important for the Harvest Campaign and the Siege of Meridian. After the War, the UNSC finally began the process of retiring them, redirecting them into the UNSC Air Force's reserves before it faded from the galaxy entirely.
The aft of a Shortsword.
A flight of Shortswords bombing a target.
Two Shortswords in flight.
Briefing for the B-65 Shortsword.
A Shortsword flying over a battlefield.
An airbase with a B-65C Shortsword. Notice the retracted tail segment.