The Dropship 77-Troop Carrier (abbreviated D77-TC), or more commonly known as the Pelican, is an extremely versatile aircraftused by the UNSC. Used mainly for the pickup and transportation of various personnel, vehicles and equipment, it can also be used as a powerful support gunship.
The Pelican as it appears inHalo: Combat Evolved.The D77-TC Pelican is mainly used for the rapid insertion and extraction of ground troops. They may deliver vehicles and vital equipment to the battlefield when required. The D77-TC has been in service for over fifty years, and is the primary tactical support aircraft of the UNSC. The Pelican is a multi-role aircraft; it is fully capable of atmospheric flight and can land almost anywhere without difficulty. The Pelican is also capable of limited spaceflight, which theUNSC uses as a primary method of delivering troops to the surface from orbit. Standard armament consists of one Class III externally powered projectile weapon at the bow of the craft, and one Class I gas-operated projectile weapon mounted at the rear, in the extended crew area. More heavily armed variants do exist, with multiple and more powerful weapons.
D77-TC's Blood trayThe Pelican is capable of carrying passengers and cargo using a combination of internal and external methods. The main compartment of the Pelican (sometimes called the "Blood Tray") has capacity for 15 people (10 sitting, 5 standing). Other variants have displayed the ability to hold considerably more as demonstrated throughout the Halo books. For example, the SPARTAN-II's were assigned a specialized Pelican, which was able to hold an entire team of twenty five, as well as fitting cutting gear to board a Covenant warship. Three Pelicans used for the SPARTAN-III Program carried 300 children, though this may have been because of numerous trips back and forth from the surface.
The large aft overhang gives an attachment point for additional cargo and ordnance. Possible payloads include a Troop Deployment Pod, aScorpion Tank, a Warthog, or eight Resupply Canister Type-B Capsules. The maximum payload of a Pelican is seventy tons.
Standard armament consists of a chin-mounted 40mm rotary cannon which was common prior to 2525, but was later superseded by a 70mm chaingun. These weapons are usually controlled by the pilot's helmet so that it would aim in the direction of the pilot's view, similar to the modern TADS/PNVS found on Apache Gunships or the HUDsystem in a SPARTAN's armor. Some dropships boasted twin chainguns firing depleted uranium rounds.
Missile pods, each holding eight ANVIL-II ASMs, can be mounted under each wing to engage more maneuverable or better protected targets. Fire control is typically delegated to the copilot, who is assisted by a helmet-mounted display. An M247 GPMG or a 25mm grenade launcher can be mounted facing out of the rear cargo hatch; the weapons can be folded flat against the roof of the internal bay when not in use by the crew chief or a passenger.
The main engines are mounted in pairs in four nacelles, one on each wing and two at the rear. The nacelles can articulate independently, thus altering (i.e. vectoring) the direction of thrust and improving the dropship's low altitude maneuverability. Six ventral thrusters, two on each wing nacelle and one on each aft nacelle, allow the Pelican to land and take off vertically. These engines are capable of both space and atmospheric operation. The D77, although fully capable of orbital insertion, is too small to be equipped with a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine, and thus is incapable of slipspace travel.
The wings mounted on a Pelican seem extremely small, too small to support the weight of dropship and payload alone. It is speculated that it incorporates at least some lifting body principles, its own hull providing most of the lift necessary.