"Pelican" is the name applied to a series of dropships operated by the UNSC Air Force, the UNSC Marine Corps, the UNSC Navy, and the civilian security forces. Beginning service before 2501, most Pelicans are equipped with 70mm chain guns and rockets in their wings. Their payload capacities include a M12 Warthog, M808 Scorpion tank, troop deployment pod or resupply canisters attached to their tail booms.
Pelicans receive serial numbers to be identified by during radio transmissions, particularly in combat situations. Each serial number consists of a letter from the Phonetic Alphabet followed by a number. Though a few Pelicans have this number inscribed on their cargo bays, most have no distinguishing mark on their exteriors. It is unclear how the numbers are chosen, but with their spread across the alphabet and numerals, it can be inferred that a very large number of Pelicans are in service, perhaps as many as 26,000.
Known models include the following:
- D77-TC Pelican - The UNSC's standard dropship variant operated during the Insurrection and the Human-Covenant War
- D78-TC Pelican - A less common model used after the Covenant War, with improved avionics and thrusters
- D79-TC Pelican - The UNSC's standard dropship as of 2557, replacing the aging D77 models
- G79H-TC Pelican - The dedicated gunship variant of the D79 Pelican
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