The Cobra High Speed Sentry (H.I.S.S.) Tank has been the dominant tank used by Cobra forces since the organization's inception. The H.I.S.S. has been upgraded and remodeled over time, but all variants share a similar general design, featuring dorsal mounted cannons.
The HISS was developed to fulfill two separate needs on the battle field, anti-personnel and heavy armor. The H.I.S.S. tank is the most versatile and deadly opposition on any battlefield. Whether on city streets or through the dense jungle, the H.I.S.S. can outrun, out-maneuver, and out perform anything in its class. Built with a modular design allowing Cobra's technicians to easily replace and repair battle damaged units with maximum efficiency. Although specialized drivers are selected to pilot most H.I.S.S. tanks, the cockpit design is simple enough for almost any basic trooper to understand and operate.
Types of H.I.S.S. TanksMark-0 (prototype): This is highly sophisticated combat frame developed by M.A.R.S., with lowering cockpit deck (for the driver and a passenger), modular wheel system, and an attack pod dispenser. At the time, Cobra did not have the budget to field such expensive vehicles, so M.A.R.S. end up producing a much cheaper and scaled-down model - the Mark-I. The Mk-0 was never built on a large scale and they never saw military action. This frame would be used to develop the Mark-II.
Mark-I GH7c: This is the iconic black H.I.S.S. Tank. It is fast, with a sleek profile, but it is lightly armored, so it was more of an Armored Fighting Vehicle then a true Main Battle Tank. The general in-expense and ease of maintenance makes this model a well-produced and well-used combat platform within Cobra's ground force — even to this day.
Septic H.I.S.S.: This is the Mark-I modified for chemical-warfare. It holds a tank for toxic waste, which is fired from a hose. This is used by Toxo-Vipers.
Arctic H.I.S.S. AH8c: This is the Mark-I, but retrofired with cold-weather protection and painted white. The dorsal turret has been fitted with a missile launcher armed with 4 "Stinger" infrared homing missiles.
Crimson S.M.S. GH7c: This is the Mark-I, but painted red and used by the Crimson Guards. Sporting improved titanium alloy laminate hull armor and heated xenon spotlights, this variant carries twin synchronized EER-8 laser-seeking anti-tank guns and tractors a missile launcher with three X03 Heetseek high-explosive missiles.
1) Cannon motor-drive access hatch
2) Turret/cockpit two-way communicator
3) Tungsten spotlight
4) Idler bogeys
5) Shell-proof tinted canopy
6) Command Cockpit with Drive Controls
7) Fleet identification number
8) 90mm twin cannons
9) Engine radiator
10) Main battle turret
11) Rear personnel platform
12) Self-sealing fuel canisters
13) Tow hook
14) Ground equipment lockers
15) Armer plating skirts
16) Drive Bogeys
From Order of Battle:
Weight: 9.75 tons.
Speed: (fully loaded) 75 mph road; 60 mph cross country.
Range: (fully loaded) 275 miles.
Armament: Dorsal–mounted, twin "Diablo" 30mm Area Fire automatic guns with 2,000 rounds each.
Key Electronics: Low-level light and infrared scanners plus micro-resolution radar (for high-speed maneuvering and personnel motion detection).
From Battle Files: Ultimate Source Book:
Weight: 9.75 tons.
Speed (fully loaded): 75 mph road; 60 mph cross country.
Range (fully loaded): 275 miles.
Armament: Dorsal–mounted, twin 30mm automatic cannons with 2,000 rounds of ammunition each.
From Action Card:
Armament: Dorsal–mounted, twin 90mm automatic cannons.
Equipment: Rear personnel platform, turret/cockpit two-way communicator, tungsten spotlights, shell-proof tinted canopy, self-sealing fuel canisters, armor plating skirts.
From Impel Card:
Speed (fully loaded): 45 mph
Range (fully loaded): 250 miles.
Armament: Two side-mounted laser cannons, turreted triple-barreled laser cannon and twin ground-to-ground laser-guided warheads.
Powerplant: Nitro-injected computer-assisted engine.
Equipment: Two Radar dishes, high-intensity searchlights, armored track treads, and 7-man personnel carrier capabilities.
Additional notes: Don't be fooled by its appearance. This craft can unload twice the firepower in half the time, at twice the range.
From GI Joe Monopoly:
Speed (fully loaded): A good assault speed.
Armament: Twin 30mm automatic cannons.
Mortgage value: $100.
Rent: $25, $50 if two vehicles are owned, $100 if three vehicles are owned, $200 if four vehicles are owned.
In the comics continuity, it was established during the assault on the PIT I that the H.I.S.S. tanks were painted "Cobra Blue" to match the uniforms of the Cobra legions. A benefit of the unorthodox coloration was that the Cobra S.N.A.K.E. Battle Armor was unable to fire on anything painted thusly and therefore the captured Kwinn and Snake-Eyes were unable to turn their weapons on the Cobra tanks. Later, during the Cobra Civil War, Serpentor made a statement by having the Baroness tied to the front of his H.I.S.S.
Animated continuity - Sunbow
A number of H.I.S.S. were teleported by Destro to steal a new hi-tech relay satellite. Their presence initially surprised the Joes, but once the elite team fought back, the disadvantage of the H.I.S.S. in the silo became apparent as they didn't have room to maneuver. H.I.S.S. were also used to ambush the Joes in New England when they had to face off against the deadly Dragonflies. Major Bludd and several Cobra Troopers made their way to the icy land of the Arctic in search of the catalytic crystal elements to the M.A.S.S. Device. They used the H.I.S.S. turrets to keep the Joes in the cave. H.I.S.S. tanks defended the Cobra Temple from an invasion by G.I. Joe. However, since Cobra is unable to have a sizable air power to repel the Joes' aerial support, the Joes overcame these armored behemoths.
Animated continuity - Renegades
While repelling the Joes' final raid on DeCobray's mansion, Destro personally attacked the Joes with a prototype of the H.I.S.S. Tank, which was still being prepared for mass production. Though it survived several near misses, the tank did not make it through the battle.
The original H.I.S.S. tank was black, with an elevated pilot cockpit and twin cannons mounted on the back. Two Cobra soldiers could stand on the back of the tank. This version of the HISS was piloted by the H.I.S.S. Driver.
A version of the H.I.S.S. tank was simply called the Cobra H.I.S.S. Tank. Featuring an elevated cabin, and troop transport capabilities, this version was also well armed. The H.I.S.S. featured two side mounted missile launchers, two machine guns under the cabin and dorsal mounted missile launchers. This version was piloted by the Night Creeper.