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The Type-52 troop carrier, otherwise known as the Phantom or Type-52 TC, is a Covenant troop transport used primarily to deploy ground units and equipment swiftly and efficiently to the battlefield, while providing suppressive fire for Covenant forces.
The Phantom is the rough equivalent of the D77H-TCI and D77-TC Pelican Dropships in terms of function and performance, serving as a dedicated troop transport and gunship. The Phantom sports heavier armor and a deadlier arsenal compared to its lightly armed cousin, the Spirit Dropship, consisting of up to three defensive weapons that offer 360-degree defensive and offensive capabilities, and is capable of maneuvering effectively in all atmospheric conditions, including space.
The Phantom's crew consists of a pilot, a co-pilot, a navigator, and an operations officer in charge of the defensive plasma cannon(s). The Phantom can carry up to thirty passengers inside its troop bay (sixteen in Halo 2). Troops are deployed from both the gravity lift installed in the bottom rear of the ship, and the ventral doors on either side of the troop bay. Like the Spirit dropship, the Phantom is also capable of carrying vehicles such as Ghosts and Wraiths, as well as essential equipment such as Deployable lookout towers, and Covenant supply cases using the four miniature gravity lifts mounted beneath it.
The Phantom has several weapon configurations that the gunship is able to be outfitted with. In Halo 2, the first appearance of the gunship, the Phantom sports three separate, fully rotational heavy plasma auto-cannons. In Halo 3, the Phantom retains its chin-mounted heavy plasma auto-cannon but replaces its internally-controlled side-cannons for two Type-52 Plasma Cannons. The third design, used during the Battle of Reach, replaces the chin-mounted battery with a Heavy plasma cannon, but keeps the two Type-52 Plasma Cannons mounted on its ventral bay doors.
A specialized variant of the Phantom outfitted exclusively for space combat, known as the Phantom Gunboat, swaps its Type-52 Plasma Cannons for four plasma auto-turrets, and a chin-mounted heavy plasma cannon.
The role of the Phantom is to transport Covenant troops and vehicles into a combat zone with speed and efficiency while providing covering fire for disembarking units. Phantoms were seen transporting units throughout the Covenant's invasions of Earth and Reach and had become a great hindrance to the UNSC forces during those conflicts as they attempted to repel the Covenant invaders. Their use across Forerunner Installations was also particularly devastating, especially to units which were not equipped with anti-vehicle weapons.
- Take note that in Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach the Phantom is invincible in Firefight.
- Shooting the tail of the Phantom is a very useful tactic, due to it being a weak point in the armor.
- It is recommended to destroy the Phantom's armaments before attempting to bring down the rest of the craft, as its weapons will do considerable damage in the time it takes to destroy it.
- If possible, stay under the Phantom and shoot at Covenant units as they deploy. You can get a few easy kills this way.
- Use heavy weapons and vehicles to destroy a Phantom. Spartan lasers, Warthog's LAAV guns, and rocket launchers will work, but due to the amount of ammuniton needed compared to how much is available to the player it is not recommended. Using a vehicle such as the Wraith and Scorpion will yield a higher chance of success due to increased firepower and protection.
- If in a Warthog, give the heavy weapons to your passenger and the AIs unlimited ammunition will allow you to work around the limited ammunition supply.
- An effective tactic is to wait until the troop bay doors begin to open and then stick the gunner with a grenade. This will not only kill the gunner and several of the departing troops but, if placed correctly, send the plasma cannon down to where the player can use it.
- If facing a Phantom in a Falcon take note of the fact that their heavy armament is mostly angled downward, so attack from above. Be cautious though, as they tend to rock back and forth to give their gunners a better shooting angle.
Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3
- The Phantom is now destructible, vulnerable to heavy weapons and explosives. It is, nevertheless, very durable and able to take up to four shots from a Scorpion tank.
- The Phantom's hull is now a medium-dark violet in Halo 3, rather than magenta as it is in Halo 2.
- The Phantom fires shots that are now a blue color, rather than a vivid red.
- The Phantom can deliver troops by opening side doors, not just by the gravity lift.
- The Phantom no longer has three separate auto-cannons - they now have one chin-mounted auto-cannon, and two Type-52 Plasma Cannons on either side of the troop bay.
- The troop bay is open on both sides where the plasma turrets are. It is fully accessible by the player and he/she can leap into it before it takes off. The player is usually killed when the Phantom hits a death barrier.
- The main cannon's rate of fire is slower.
- The two upper tail-like parts in the rear of the Phantom appear smaller.
- A Covenant Separatist variant is introduced. The Separatist variant is green, and has the ability to camouflage itself.
Changes from Halo 3 to Halo 3: ODST
- When destroyed in Halo 3: ODST, it explodes into pieces of small wreckage, rather than larger wreckage like in Halo 3.
- The Phantom has the ability to carry Engineers in pod-like cases in Halo 3: ODST.
- The Phantom is equipped with a searchlight.
Changes from Halo 3 to Halo: Reach
- The auto-cannon is replaced by a heavy plasma cannon that has a slower rate of fire and has a more explosive effect upon impact, like a scaled up version of the Concussion Rifle.
- A variant outfitted for space combat called the Phantom Gunboat is introduced.
- The two front engine turbines no longer glow blue.
- There seems to be no "weak points" anymore; it takes the same amount of weapons fire to destroy regardless of hit location.
- When hit by weapons fire, it no longer takes visible damage aside from chin and side guns being knocked off.
- When destroyed, instead of having an "Overload" phase where it drops, then explodes, the target Phantom instantly explodes as soon as it takes enough damage.
- Far less debris is left behind when destroyed; only the debris from the chin gun, the Type-52 Plasma Cannons on the sides, and a portion of the cockpit will be left when it explodes.
- The Phantoms armor seems to be stronger; it is able to withstand up to six Wraith shots before exploding.
- Additionally, in the Level New Alexandria, there is an Easter Egg where the player can drive a Phantom.
- The Phantom, like most Covenant vehicles in Halo: Reach, now has a scale-like pattern on its hull.
- In the E3 2003 Preview of Halo 2, the Phantom does not possess any form of gravity lift and the troops are instead dropped off from the back. The Phantom is also capable of carrying a Spectre or a Wraith by using hooks located under its "belly." It also seemed to only be armed with one Plasma Cannon.
- It was noticeable that the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae Tartarus spent most of his time pursuing Thel 'Vadamee in a Phantom throughout Halo 2. The ship's ability to travel through space made it invaluable to the Covenant's strike teams when engaging the Heretics and Flood as they sought to uncover the mysteries of Installation 05.
- Halo 2's level The Arbiter gave the first idea of what a Phantom's cockpit looks like in the first cutscene where Rtas 'Vadum is reciting the Oath of the Covenant. You can see that there are three purple colored screens.
- In Campaign Scoring charts, it counts as both a "Heavy" and a "Giant" vehicle.
- In the trailer for Halo 3: ODST, a Phantom is seen on patrol using two bright searchlights to sweep the streets. Oddly, the lights are located in the exact location as the Phantom's chin mounted gun, possibly meaning that this Phantom was specifically adapted for patrol or that its gun had a headlight mounted alongside it. In the cutscene where the Rookie receives a transmission from Dare, the Phantom that passes by has a searchlight mounted on the front turret. This headlight feature also appears in Halo: Reach.
- In the Art of Halo, there is a Phantom render for Halo 2 which had its side doors down and sported heavy plasma turrets on them.
- In the Halo Legends short film, Prototype, a Phantom is seen carrying a Wraith inside its troop bay, as opposed to hovering below it. This may be a means to protect the Wraith from being destroyed before it is deployed or it could potentially be an oversight made by the artists.
- It is possible to fly a Phantom in the mission New Alexandria in Halo: Reach, due to an Easter Egg. Follow the directions in this Guide.
- In Halo: Reach firefight, destroying the main gun on a phantom counts as a kill, awarding the player 2 cR. Ironically, getting an assist on the kill gives the player 5 cR. It is possible to get the First Strike medal by taking out the gun.
- Even though they are seen on Reach when it fell, no Phantoms are seen in Halo: Combat Evolved.
- In Halo: Reach, the only level the Phantom is seen using its Gravity Lift is on the mission "ONI: Sword Base." It is the first Phantom that drops off another squad of Sangheili and Unggoy.
- Because the enemy AI is so advanced in Halo: Reach, many Phantoms have a whole area to patrol rather than a scripted path to follow.
- This has lead to Phantoms colliding with Pelicans in certain areas. This is seen often in the level New Alexandria where both aircraft fly around the entire level.
- A glitch can also occur when a Phantom collides with Keyes' Pelican in the level Pillar of Autumn causing the player to not be able to finish the level.
- In Halo: Reach's Firefight it is possible, but difficult, to kill a Phantom's pilot. You must carefully aim and fire a Rocket Launcher at the Phantom's cockpit. If done correctly the pilot will be launched out of the Phantom. The Phantom will then hover over the ground for a small while and then fall to the ground. This can be seen here.
- In the Easter Egg to fly a Phantom in Halo: Reach the Phantom is not completely solid and can phase through buildings and other objects and will kill the player upon exiting the building's interior. The Phantom can still come in contact with any enemies and will often splatter the Banshees and Shade Turrets in the area.
- Pelican - The UNSC equivalent of the Phantom.
- Type-25 Troop Carrier - Otherwise known as the Spirit, the older Covenant dropship.
- Type-44 Troop Carrier - An older Phantom model used more prominently after the war.
- Phantom Riding Glitch