The drop pod was a GDI method of deploying veteran infantry from orbit. This allowed troops to be deployed globally to reinforce armies in the field.
Second Tiberium War
The first generation of drop pods entered service prior to the Second Tiberium War. Pods were launched from GDI's orbital command station, GDSS Philadelphia. Initially, deployment was controlled by strategic command. By the Firestorm Crisis, field commanders could request and direct deployments via a purpose-built uplink attached to upgrade centers.
Each pod carried one infantryman and resembled a cockpit. Once inside the atmosphere, dorsal and ventral air brakes deployed revealing the cockpit canopy. Side wings provided some means of control. A forward vulcan cannon helped clear the landing area prior to touchdown.
Third Tiberium War
The drop pod concept proved useful and was further expanded and refined. A new design entered service prior to the Third Tiberium War. The new pod was a larger blunt body delivering multiple infantry squads, typically zone troopers or zone raiders. Upon landing, the three egress hatches blew off to allow rapid exit.
In Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath, drop pods are a support power unlocked by building a space command uplink. Three veteran zone trooper/raider squads are deployed by a single drop pod. It costs 4500 credits. The Steel Talons did not have access to this support power.
These pods could be destroyed, meaning if the troops are still inside the vehicle, they will be lost.
Drop pods were common equipment of GDI and were frequently used to deploy units and reinforcements into the battlefield by the time of the Ascension Conflict. The third generation had three major differences to its predecessors:
- They are larger even than the second generation, capable of loading one super-heavy unit like Crawler or several medium units like Sandstorms inside.
- Unlike earlier disposable models, this generation could return to orbit after its cargo was delivered.
- Although no armaments were installed, they were not harmless. Landing in incredibly high velocity made any measures of interception impossible, and the pods were designed to crush any objects in their path.