The D-42 Shrike is the first researchable dropship based off Alien technology. It is capable of holding up to 10 soldiers or 8 soldiers and a support vehicle. It is significantly faster than the CH-48 Charlie making it capable of responding to global events faster.
The D-42 Shrike is a VTOL aircraft that combines the functionality of a helicopter with the performance of a conventional aircraft. It is a major upgrade on the CH-48 Charlie, being much faster and able to carry more troops. It is also better equipped for operating in urban spaces; any mission that involves large helicopters disembarking troops in built-up areas is a recipe for disaster - indeed, it is testament to the skill of our pilots that none of our missions have begun with a bungled landing and deadly fireball.
The Shrike is a rugged, boxy creation that is as effective as it is ugly. It uses a pair of tilting TF-19 turbofan engines to cruise through the air at supersonic speeds and then perform a vertical landing on arrival at the target site. These monstrous turbines are themselves driven by two sizeable ER-12 Alenium reactors, providing enough power to keep even a fully-loaded craft airborne for days - in fact, the range limitation of the craft is due to pilot fatigue rather than fuel capacity. However, the most important result of these new engines is a greater carrying capacity than the CH-48 Charlie. The Shrike can carry up to ten soldiers (rather than eight) inside its armoured troop compartment, which has large ramps at both the front and the rear to allow safer disembarkation in a hazardous landing zone. One does not need a brain as large as mine to see that bringing a quarter more soldiers into battle will significantly increase our chances of victory.
Aside from being capable of holding additional soldiers, the Shrike offers a unique advantage, and disadvantage, over the Charlie while still being comparable.
Unlike the Charlie, the Shrike has two main exits of equal size, both at the front and the rear. This can allow troops to move out of the craft quickly in either direction and offer a better view of the landscape. The disadvantage is that there is even less cover to use inside the dropship.
However despite this, the Shrike is a direct upgrade to the Charlie in all respects. It would be wise to invest in a Shrike as soon as it is available.
12 Alien Alloys