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Map of the Nebuchadnezzar

Hovercrafts serve as one of the primary transportation and defensive forces for the city of Zion. They are manned by a mixture of Redpills and natural-born humans. The ships vary greatly in size, armament, crew complement, and combat performance, but all are utilized under one mission: The protection and freedom of humanity from Synthient oppression and from the continued use of the Matrix to imprison and control humanity.


During the Machine war[]

Main article: Machine War

Hovercrafts seem to contain a mixture of old and modern equipment and have a dubious quality of assembly. This might be explained by the fact that humanity assembled their ships from the remains of their destroyed world.[1]


Hovercrafts fly using hoverpad technology[2] that leverages strong electromagnetism to levitate the vehicle. While hovercrafts can practically fly in the sky, the Zion operatives that crew these ships are generally conducting operations below ground within the ancient sewers and tunnels that formed the underground pathways of the old destroyed human cities, away from most Sentinels and Surface Seekers.

Hovercrafts also appear to be electrically powered[3], using batteries or other power sources that allow continuous operations for several weeks or months at a time. Hovercrafts are also repaired and maintained to some extent by its crew, if in case the ship happens to take damage either from the environment or from Machine-weaponry. However, all of the hovercrafts ultimately need to return to Zion for full resupply and repair.


Hovercrafts are also quite heavily armored despite their considerable speed and maneuverability, as demonstrated by the Nebuchadnezzar when its exterior armor and interior hull took several minutes to breach by a swarm of patrolling Sentinels. It is then expected that hovercrafts much larger than the Nebuchadnezzar have much stronger survival capabilities. Although regardless of armor, hovercrafts still have vulnerable external pads, weapon cockpits, and communication towers that can be easily compromised or disabled by any Sentinel allowed to fly close by. However, actually destroying a hovercraft, and not just disabling it, seems to require a Synthient to either disrupt the ship's core until it detonates, or use alternative but equally powerful explosives like the self-detonating Tow Bombs.

While a few larger hovercrafts have sizable gun batteries (such as the Icarus and the Hammer) which are capable of fighting Sentinels, most hovercrafts are only equipped with a few light turrets and hand-held personal armaments. As such, hovercraft captains invariably prefer to keep undetected, completely shutting down all power and activities that the Sentinels can detect using their own scanners and hiding in access points and collapsed tunnels until the threat passes.


The hovercrafts' interior are very limited in creature comforts. The environment is cold, sometimes damp, and cramped, providing little privacy. Crews often handle some sort of repair when not jacked in or resting. Food consists of a cold, protein-rich soup or porridge that is aesthetically unpleasant but which can be recycled endlessly aboard the ship.

In the main deck of each hovercraft is the operator's console, where a franchise of chairs are available for Redpills to perform their second duty: Freeing human minds from the grasp of the Matrix. Each Redpill sits in a chair and is strapped in for their own safety, after which a long data probe is inserted into their headjacks. The operator is then able to broadcast their mind's carrier and data signals into the Matrix, which is accessible across the span of the planet. Operators are typically natural-born humans (who themselves were not born with the synthetic equipment needed to enter the Matrix) but are still sometimes performed by Redpills such as Cypher, who was trained on the operation of the console.

The cockpit, located at the front of the ship, contains flight controls as well as monitors connected to external devices which sense and detect approaching Synthients.

During the Machine Civil War[]

Sixty years later, hovercrafts have much of the same design, although they have become partially organic, presumably due to the alliance between the humans and Synthients. This resulted in more advanced technology being available with some hovercrafts also enlisting Synthient crew members.


Each hovercraft captain is given a set of access codes to Zion, allowing the hovercraft to enter the city once transmitted to and validated by the Redpills plugged into the Zion mainframe.


If a hovercraft is detected or sighted by a swarm of Sentinels then the crew are forced to use their electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons as a last resort to deactivate the Sentinels and fry any electronic equipment within range, including the ship. If some of the crew is still jacked into the Matrix while facing off against Sentinels then the operator has to hastily guide and safely logout all jacked-in operatives before attempting to activate the EMP. Otherwise, the Captain, or the operator themselves if the Captain is unavailable or jacked in, has the difficult choice of firing the EMP while the operatives are still within the Matrix. The pulse will then not only destroy the Sentinels but also disrupt the carrier signals of anyone in the vicinity currently jacked-in to the Matrix, killing them. It is then the duty of the rest of the crew to buy time for their Matrix operatives to logout, using any available weaponry to delay the onslaught.


Hoverbarges are massive ships used to house Redpills.[4]

Notable Hovercrafts[]

Neb landing in Zion Dock

Zion's hovership fleet at the dock in The Matrix Reloaded.

Zion Dock landing bay layout

Fan-made chart of all 12 hoverships in Zion's fleet, based on shots from the dock in The Matrix Reloaded.

In the original trilogy[]

  1. Vigilant, captained by Soren
  2. Logos, captained by Niobe
  3. Icarus, captained by Ajax
  4. Novalis, captained by Tirant
  5. Vishnu, unknown captain
  6. Ganesha, unknown captain
  7. Nebuchadnezzar, captained by Morpheus
  8. Gnosis, captained by Ice
  9. Osiris, captained by Thadeus
  10. Brahma, captained by Kali
  11. Caduceus, captained by Ballard
  12. Mjolnir, captained by Roland

The Osiris was destroyed after stumbling into the Sentinel army drilling down to Zion, though not before transmitting its findings. Afterwards three hoverships joined Morpheus's mission for Neo to gain access to the Matrix mainframe: Nebuchadnezzar, Logos, and Vigilant. Both Vigilant and Nebuchadnezzar were destroyed by tow bombs, though the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar managed to escape.

Of the eight other hoverships that made up the majority of the fleet, they were preparing for a surprise-attack on the Sentinel army as it neared a choke point, only for the Smith-possessed Bane to activate the EMP on the Caduceus while they were still active, instantly knocking out five ships (including Icarus and Novalis). Mjolnir was far enough way that it wasn't hit by the EMP and managed to escape. Apparently five ships were instantly disabled, leaving the remaining three badly outnumbered, resulting in the destruction of two of them.

Mjolnir then rescued the surviving crew of Nebuchadnezzar and reunited with the Logos. Due to its greater speed, Neo and Trinity then took the Logos to the Synthient City, where it made a crash landing, while Morpheus, Link, and the Logos crew transferred to the Mjolnir and headed back to Zion. At the last minute they managed to crash-land the ship into the city and activate its EMP, disabling the first wave of the Synthient army before it could penetrate into the city's lower levels.

The Matrix Resurrections[]

See also[]


  1. While Zion residents believe that they are continuing the old Machine War and have built their world from that era, in fact, they are likely picking up scraps from the remains of a previous Zion, destroyed cyclically by the Synthients, as explained by The Architect in The Matrix Reloaded.
  2. Pad-equipped personal transports are seen being sold by 01 in a commercial in The Second Renaissance. Flying human bomber craft that also use pads are seen during Operation Dark Storm in the same feature from The Animatrix.
  3. Morpheus discusses a withdrawal order from Commander Jason Lock where hovercrafts are instructed to return and recharge during the captains' meeting at the start of The Matrix Reloaded.
  4. The Matrix Online