The Phantom is the second of two Covenant dropship types encountered by UNSC forces. The Phantom is the more maneuverable of the two and packs more firepower. It is generally accepted to be a later, more advanced design than the first.
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Phantom Troop Carrier
Phantom Aft View
The Phantom troop carrier is controlled from a cockpit in the nose section of the craft with seated positions for its pilot and co-pilot. A multi-view holo-screen displays various exterior views as well as tactical and operational data.
Cockpit Controls and Screens
From the cockpit, a narrow corridor leads to the ship's troop bay in the main body of the ship. The troop bay of a Phantom can optimally accommodate ten warriors along the bulkhead sides and a row of troops in the bay's center area.
Troop Bay Looking to Cockpit Ramp
Portside Bulkhead of Troop Bay
The habitable areas of the dropship are along the craft's centerline. The two structural bulges to the sides are designed to help the ship maneuver within a planetary atmosphere, and contain the engines and two of the three plasma weapons.
The Phantom's weapons are three plasma turrets that can cover all lower firing arcs. The plasma has a higher rate of fire than the previous dropship, but fires one plasma bolt per shot, compared to the earlier design's three per shot. These weapons play an anti-infantry role, as the Phantom does not have any firing arcs above the midline of the hull. The weapons are defensive for protecting troop deployments, and offensive for strafing runs.
Chin-mounted Plasma Turret Firing
Swiveling Plasma Turrets Seek Foes
There are two ingress/egress options: an opening aft hatch and a gravity-assist lift. This innovation over the previous dropship design allows the Phantom to deploy troops from greater heights without injury to troops or without undue risk to itself. The first dropship had to hover near ground level to deploy its troops, which made it more of a target for enemy ground fire because of the increased time-on-station.
Phantom Dock on High Charity
Gravity-assist Lift Releases Hunters
In addition to the warriors the Phantom can house internally, the dropship can also take cargo such as vehicles into combat areas as well. A single Phantom can carry one of the Covenant's larger ground vehicles, such as a Spectre, Shadow transport or Wraith tank, or it can support a pair of Ghosts.
Phantom transporting a Spectre
Phantom Deploys Two Ghosts With Riders