For the Pelican from Halo 3, see D77H-TCI Pelican. For the Pelican introduced in Halo 4, see D79-TC Pelican.
The D77-TC Pelican, formally known as the Dropship 77-Troop Carrier and commonly known as the Pelican, is an extremely versatile space-to-ground capable craft used by the United Nations Space Command, as well as being marketed toward law enforcement, security, corporate and civilian markets. In its role as a tactical aerospace lifter, the Pelican is mainly for the pickup and transportation of personnel, vehicles and equipment, though some variants are capable of serving in the role of a gunship. The UNSC also uses Pelicans as civilian vehicles for quick evacuations.
The D77-TC has been in service for over fifty years, and is the primary tactical support aircraft of the UNSC. The Pelican serves a multi-role purpose; it is fully capable of atmospheric flight and can land almost anywhere without difficulty. The Pelican is also capable of limited spaceflight, which the UNSC uses as a primary way of delivering troops to the surface from orbit.
The Pelican's standard armament consists of one Class III externally powered projectile weapon at the fore of the vehicle, and one Class I gas-operated projectile weapon mounted at the rear, in the extended crew area. More heavily armed variants exist, and the Pelican can be converted to a gunship role with the addition of numerous and more powerful weaponry.
Crew and complement
The Pelican is crewed by two personnel who occupy the cockpit at the front of the dropship. The pilot sits on the right side, with the electronics operator or gunner taking up the station on the left. All flight controls are a digital fly-by-light with no manual backups; an integral expert system optimizes stability and adjusts the thruster profiles under all regimes and cargo profiles. Unlike on the later D79-TC Pelican, the cockpit is only accessible from the cargo-bay. Motion trackers, RADAR/LIDAR sensors and a computerized mapping system allow the pilot to plan their way to nearby staging areas as well as to warn of incoming threats.
The cargo-bay, colloquially dubbed by Marines as the "blood tray", usually accommodates up to ten personnel in jumpseats, with a small overhead compartment for their weapons and equipment. Additional infantry can be carried standing up, and increased seating for ten more people can be installed in the center aisle. Otherwise, this space can be used to carry cargo pallets, casualty litters, or even small utility vehicles such as two M274 Mongoose ULATV. The Pelican is also equipped with an onboard weapons locker, which can hold enough weapons and ammunition to arm thirty troopers. At least one pelican has been modified to act as a boarding craft for Operation: RED FLAG, which has enough room to ferry twenty-five SPARTAN-IIs to their target, as well as carry the cutting gear needed to cut through the hull of a Covenant warship. Pelicans equipped for "soft-seal" boarding actions have an extendable cover that folds down around the entrance to the troop bay. This configuration was refined during the last days of Operation: TREBUCHET.
The large aft overhang provides a magnetic and physical attachment point for additional cargo and ordnance. Possible payloads include a troop deployment pod, a single large vehicle such as an M808B Main Battle Tank or M12 Force Application Vehicle, or eight resupply canisters. It is discouraged for pilots to transport objects in the clamp during orbital insertions, as it can complicate reentry.
The Pelican's primary armament consists of one or more nose-mounted projectile weapons, typically autocannons or machine guns. Commonly known as "chin guns" due to their placement, these weapons are controlled via an Integrated Helmet and Display Sight System (IHADSS), which links to the pilot's or co-pilot's heads-up display and allows them to target the gun by head movements. The Pelican's standard armament is a chin-mounted M370 autocannon, which is sometimes linked with another such weapon; the M370 fires 70mm high-explosive armor-piercing (HEAP) rounds as standard ammunition, with depleted-Uranium slugs also being an option. This replaced the older 40mm chain gun that was common prior to 2525. Some Marine Corps Pelicans are armed with a single 70mm rotary machine gun instead of a chain gun.
In addition to its primary armament, the Pelican has four externally-mounted missile hardpoints, which typically hold eight ANVIL-II Air-to-Surface Missiles. However, they can carry a variety of weapon systems or specialized equipment pods. A turret can be placed at the back of the cargo-bay to provide covering fire for embarking personnel, and can range from machine guns, to grenade launchers, and even a gauss cannon. While some weapons can be folded against the roof when not in use, others such as the AIE-486H Heavy Machine Gun can not.
Pelicans utilize a complicated propulsion system that combines vectored-thrust fusion ram-rockets with air-breathing hyperfans, divided between two primary and two secondary articulated engine pods. While ideal for use in an atmospheric environment, they require a Hydrogen reaction mass in order to operate. The two main engines have four nacelles each, two on the bottom and two at the back. The aft engines being similar but lack a nacelle at the bottom. Because both modules are mounted on rotating blocks, they can redirect themselves from directing the thrust downwards to any direction required. A basic gravitic control system is used in-atmosphere to supply further stability and supplementary lift. Although fully capable of orbital transit, the D77 is too small to be equipped with a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine, and is thus incapable of slipspace travel.
The D77-TC Pelican, like most other UNSC aerospace vehicles, is fitted with a suite of countermeasures to warn the dropship of incoming attacks, break target locks, and mitigate the effects of electronic warfare. These include wide-spectrum flares, microdrone decoys, rainbow laser blinders, RADAR/LIDAR sensors, directional jammers, and "hard chop" guillotines on data processing modules that could be susceptible to cyber-intrusion agents. To prevent them from being easily taken out by electromagnetic pulses, the Pelican's electronic systems are hardened against such phenomena.
As the most ubiquitous Pelican model in service, the Pelican has seen extensive deployment and modification, and is widely marketed to police, security, corporate and civilian markets.
The D77H-TCI appears nearly identical to the regular D77-TC except for a more angular frame. However, instead of the side-by-side positioning of the pilot and copilot, the pilot sits at the fore of the dropship, with the co-pilot behind him/her and at a higher position, in tandem. The D77H-TCI is capable of sporting missile pods that are integrated directly into the wings rather than the externally mounted pods used by the D77.
The D77C is a variant of the D77H-TCI that was utilized by the law enforcement agencies on Earth, with a specialised model - the D77C-NMPD - employed by the New Mombasa Police Department in Kenya, Africa. It is differentiated from its military counterpart by a black and white color scheme, with the word "POLICE" replacing the traditional "MARINES" on the external hull, and a noted lack of armament. Under the craft's chin, where a machine gun turret or autocannon would normally be installed, are various interchangeable sensors used by the police for aerial surveillance and crowd control. An AIE-486H Heavy Machine Gun can be mounted in the personnel bay of the D77C-NMPD, similarly to the D77 and D77H models.
Building upon the versatile foundation of the venerable D77 airframe, the G77S Pelican is an impressive gunship design cooked up by Isabel and the UNSC Spirit of Fire's engineers to help turn the tide of battle against Banished forces on the Ark. The G77S Pelican Gunship boasts a powerful range of armaments, including top-mounted ANVIL missile pods, four payload hardpoints, a forward M370 chaingun turret, and multiple 12.7mm Vulcan cannons.
UNSC Air Force variant
The version of the Pelican used by the UNSC Air Force features a few major differences from other variants of the aircraft. First, the cockpit layout resembles that of the newer D77H-TCI model with the co-pilot's station located behind and above the pilot rather than side-by-side. Also, most Air Force Pelicans have chin-mounted M638 autocannons rather than the 40mm or 70mm weapons typically mounted on Marine Corps Pelicans.
Although the D79-TC Pelican largely supplanted the D77 in post-war service, surviving hulls would be upgraded with improved avionics and thrusters, redesignated D78-TC and continuing to serve.
Halo: Fleet Battles
UNSC Pelican Boarding Craft
List of appearances