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Elites wear heavy armor and can withstand up to half a magazine of M82 Assault Rifle fire, compared to standard Helghast soldiers who can be killed with just 3 or 4 shots from the M82. They can be killed with a single headshot from the sniper secondary fire mode of the M66-SD Submachine Gun, or by sustained fire from heavy automatic weapons like Rico Velasquez's M224-A3 Heavy Support Weapon or their own StA-3 Light Machine Guns.
Elites are first encountered in Mission 2, "Vekta Evacuates", and are encountered throughout the campaign. For most of the game, Elites are deployed as support troops, usually operating in pairs and working alongside squads of normal Helghast infantry. Their heavy armor and machineguns allow them to lay down sustained fire while resisting return fire.
From Mission 9 onwards, Elites begin to deploy in full squads of several at once, fully replacing the standard Helghast infantry in large sections of the game. Elites deployed in full squads often carry StA-52 Assault Rifles instead of machineguns. Because of their increased durability and skill, these squads of Elites are a significantly greater threat than earlier squads of regular Helghasts.
when General Lente was killed and General Metrac replaced him he started equipping them with LS-13 shotguns. General Metrac preferred to deploy the elites as semi-autonomous commando units, equipping them with shotguns to systematically sweep and clear the area of enemies, whereas Lente used them in supporting roles for the regular forces.