From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
The Kez'katu-pattern warrior transport (UNSC Type classification: Type-52 Troop Carrier, T-52 TC), more commonly known as the Phantom, is a troop carrier and gunship in service with the Covenant. They were used primarily as troop transports, flying into combat zones and deploying infantry while providing suppressing fire.
The Kez'katu-pattern Phantom represented the most standardized pattern of the Phantom at the final stages of the War of Annihilation. It was optimized for insertion runs, close air support, and special operation details. The hull of a Phantom is nearly invincible to small-arms fire, although explosives can easily damage or destroy the dropship. The Kez'katu-pattern Phantom is primarily composed of a curved central hull that features a closed operator cabin in the front and a twin impulse drive propulsion system that feature pivotal fins to control the direction of the thrust at the back of the Phantom. On either side of the dropship lie bay doors that can be sealed for exoatmospheric environments. At the bottom of the Phantom, there is a ventral gravity lift that is able to tow and carry vehicles to and from destinations or deploy passengers. The gravity lift and bay doors were created to allow quick and simple infantry deployment in nearly any terrain type or environment. A ramp is also attached to the dropship to allow passengers to simply walk off when the Phantom has landed. An intruder countermeasure system is also found on Phantoms.
One of the Covenant's primary dropships, the Kez'katu-pattern Phantom is capable of both infantry transportation and deployment in atmospheric and exoatmospheric environments. The Phantom is notably more maneuverable—capable of gracefully steering and weaving through tightly-cropped environments like narrow gorges, caverns, or urban centers such as a city with ease. The Phantom is roughly equivalent to the D77-TC Pelican in terms of function and performance. Phantoms are more heavily armed than the more traditional Spirit dropship, sporting three defensive weapons that offer 360-degree turning radius.
Unlike most of Phantoms models (including the Mikpramu-pattern Phantom) which are typically armed with one single limited-rotation heavy plasma cannon turret and two smaller plasma cannon door guns on the flanks, Kez'katu-pattern Phantom is more armored than any other Phantom chassis, armed with three separate automatic and fully rotational medium plasma cannons, directed by automated target sensors that are explicitly designed to provide coordinated suppressive fire in deployment fire without risk of opening the dropship's bay doors to do so. These cannons also have a rate of fire that are even faster than that of other variants.
Crew and complement
The Phantom crew consists of a pilot, a co-pilot, sometimes alongside a navigator and an operations officer, who is in charge of the defensive automatic heavy plasma cannons. The Phantom can carry from twenty-four soldier passengers in its troop bay. Generally, passengers are deployed from the ventral gravity lift and from the doors located by either of the dropship's large side doors. However, due to their size, Mgalekgolo soldiers are deployed from the Phantom through the use of its gravity lift. Like the Spirit dropship and the older Ru'swum-pattern Phantom, the Phantom is capable of carrying a variety of Covenant vehicles such as two Karo'etba-pattern Ghosts or a single Zurdo-pattern Wraith or Wuzum-pattern Spectre.
Introduced into the final year of the Human-Covenant War, the Kez'katu-pattern Phantom was created by Assembly Forges to replace the earlier Ru'swum-pattern Phantom as its improvement over it in every way. It was one of the primary Covenant dropships and the most well-known of Phantoms among the humans, with its lustrous silhouette being marked in minds of wars survivors from the Fall of Reach and Battle for Earth, though many Covenant forces never used it before the loss of High Charity that effectively ended its production.
Non-canon and dubious canon appearances
Phantoms are used by the Covenant against humanity.
The role of the Phantom is to transport squads of Covenant troops and vehicles into a combat zone with speed and efficiency. While the T-25 "Spirit" Troop Carrier serves primarily as a dropship, the Phantom, with its heavier armament, also fills the role of a ground support gunship. As their hull is heavily reinforced, Phantoms are invulnerable to small arms fire. The Phantom has three defensive weapons, making it a more challenging adversary than the Spirit. Like the Spirit, the Phantom is mostly scripted to deploy troops and leave, sometimes without coming to a halt, though in rarer cases it may stick around to lay siege on the player.
In Halo 2, the Phantom is invincible and can not be destroyed, although its weapons can be taken out, forcing it to retreat. The two silver engine plates can also be destroyed, although it will have no effect on the Phantom's speed.
According to Shi Kai Wang, when Halo 2 began it's development, Bungie was in the mindset of improving on what they learned on Halo: Combat Evolved, in a "box product" mentality. Wang, who didn't liked the Type-25 Spirit's design, wanted to give the Covenant dropship vehicle a more animalistic personality. At first, Wang tried to redesign the Spirit into a curved shape, but after seeing it lacked the Spirit's personality, and functionally proved to be too hard to carry units, the design was discarded. After many attempts, Wang managed to sketch the Phantom's characteristic silhoutte, based on the Cobra; the cobra's posture and "wing span" being the inspiration for the Phantom's shape and its curve posture when threatened being the inspiration for the Phantom's ability to carry vehicles.
When the Phantom's base design was done, Wang tried to formulate where the units would deploy from inside the Phantom: originally, he tried units would deploy from the back, but the Spirit's troop deployment method showed it wouldn't be as fun. At the end, Wang came up with the idea of a tractor beam in the Phantom's belly, using the Spirit's holographic tractor beams as a tube, forcing the troops to deploy one by one, allowing players to engage the enemy from any direction. The Phantom's design end up being one of Shi Kai Wang's favourites.
List of appearances