The D82-EST Darter is a dropship used by the United Nations Space Command to deliver supplies, such as rations and munitions, to forward bases. It is similar in form and function to the D96-TCE Albatross, though it is smaller than the latter.
The D82-EST Darter has been in service since at least 2531. It is a vital part of the UNSC's logistical operations, capable of deploying personnel, vehicles parts, weapons, and supplies form rations and medical kits to any ground side base. It serves as both an atmospheric and exoatmospheric vehicle capable of delivering troops and supplies wherever needed once a supply pad has been constructed.
The Darter's cargo bay is capable of transporting large numbers of supply crates at a time. Once it has landed, the underside splits down the middle, lowering a metal pallet from the cargo bay and allowing its cargo to be left groundside to be unloaded. Once free of supplies, the Darter can reseal its cargo bay doors, returning to an orbiting spacecraft to resupply.
Like Pelicans, Darters are not rated for transatmospheric transport of most UNSC combat vehicles, resulting in the employment of UNSC Vehicle Depots and UNSC Garage base structures instead. Rather than transport vehicles, the Darters transport partially disassembled vehicle components down to the firebase on the ground, to allow workshops in the base to reassemble the vehicle for combat.
In 2531, the support vessel UNSC Spirit of Fire had an extensive contingent of Darters, used to transport supplies for ground forces, namely in firebase unit construction. In April 2553 the planetary militia on Venezia had acquired several Darters. By 2559 the UNSC Spirit of Fire was still using Darter drop ships in the Second Ark Conflict. Several Darters were assigned as part of the complement aboard Cairo Station.
In Halo Wars, the D82-EST is used to transport supplies from the UNSC Spirit of Fire to provide additional resources for ground forces. They land on specific landing platforms, built into prefabricated firebase units designed to house supply crates they deliver. The Darter cannot be destroyed in-game. However, if a supply pad is destroyed, the craft assigned to it will disappear from the screen.
A darter is a tropical seabird, in keeping with the UNSC's tradition of naming most atmospheric aircraft after birds.
List of appearances