From Elite Wiki
Size (W×H×L) 62m×10m×66m
Cargo capacity 3 TC
Cargo bay extension N/A
Maximum speed 0.24 LM
Manoeuvrability Roll: 2.0
Pitch: 1.0
Energy banks 3
Energy recharge rate

Good (4.0)

Gun mounts Fore, Aft
Missile slots 4
Shield boosters available Yes
Military shields available Yes
Hyperspace capable Yes
OXP or standard OXP
Available to player Yes
Base price 100,000₢



The Copperhead was one of the core ships in the Archimedes version of Elite, regarded by many as the best version. The game box included a large foldout data sheet with brief information on all the ships. According to the Copperhead data:

"Originally designed for low-altitude planet-skimming, the Copperhead became confined to space use after problems with corrosion of its copper-based hull material. Due to it being equipped with a rejected precursor of the Cobra Mk III Mous, the ship was often observed flying rather erratically. However do not mistake it for a 'crazy craft'."

No other information as to size, cargo capacity, armaments etc. is available. The only thing that can be inferred from the image is that it possesses a low profile which might indicate a rather small internal volume.


What follows is a fictional back-story based loosely on the history of the Copperhead, which begs the question "Why was it planet-skimming at low altitudes?" The obvious answer is that it was searching for something or someone. It turns out the Copperhead had been resurrected in an updated form for military use as a transport and search-and-rescue vehicle. Unknown to most, two different models are produced. The Copperhead-A was designated for secretive transport of Navy VIPs. It was equipped with a modest engine and armaments, and had two passenger berths which is about all that could be installed in its cargo space. The Copperhead-B would be sent into the front lines on rescue missions so necessarily needed an upgraded engine, better armament and weapon systems. It had no passenger berth. The interior of its cargo space held the necessary equipment to support its functionality plus atmospheric control to maintain life support for those being rescued and transported out of harm's way.

The Shipyard

As inevitably happens, these ships fell into the hands of non-military personal and began appearing in the space lanes across the eight. The Copperhead-A found a niche as an escort ship for traders and pirates alike, or for loners who made their living by taking on passenger contracts. Some pirates took a fancy to the ship and had enough resources to modify it, making it a pretty tough fighter indeed. The Copperhead-B on the other hand remained a rare find and affordable only to the very wealthiest individuals; persons who for whatever reason wished to hide either from the authorities or personal enemies.

The Copperhead-A is referred to simply as the Copperhead and is available to the player. The base price includes one passenger berth and a fore mounted pulse laser. This makes it a good alternative for a Jameson who could then spend credits upgrading his ship. He could continue to be a trader but a better choice might be passenger contracts, or a little of both. This is not a bad career choice and still affords plenty of opportunity to improve combat rating. As an additional bonus he would be traveling across the charts rather than remain in one place for a long time.

The Copperhead-B is not available to the player and is in fact very rarely seen. The B stands for, "Be Wary". If you should come across it and are not an experienced commander, best not provoke it.