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The D82-EST Darter is a dropship used by the United Nations Space Command to deliver supplies, such as rations and munitions, to forward bases. It is very similar in form and function to the D96-TCE Albatross, though it is larger than the latter.
The D82-EST Darter has been in service since at least 2531. It is a vital part of the UNSC's logistical operations, capable of deploying personnel, vehicles parts, weapons, and supplies from rations and medical kits to any ground side base. It serves as both an atmospheric and exoatmospheric craft capable of delivering troops and supplies wherever needed once a supply pad has been constructed.
The Darter's cargo bay is capable of transporting large amounts of supply crates at a time. Once it has landed, the underside splits down the middle lowering a metal pallet from the cargo bay, allowing its cargo to be dropped ground side to be unloaded. Once free of supplies, the Darter can reseal its cargo bay doors, returning to an orbiting space craft to resupply.
In Halo Wars, the D82-EST is used to transport supplies from the UNSC Spirit of Fire to provide additional resources for ground forces. They land on specific landing platforms, built into prefabricated firebase units designed to house supply crates they deliver.
- A Darter is a tropical seabird, in keeping with the UNSC's tradition of naming atmospheric craft and vehicles after real animals, with the exceptions of the Cyclops and Gremlin, which are named after mythical creatures, and the Longsword, Shortsword, Broadsword, and Sabre, which are named after bladed weapons.
- The D82-EST cannot be destroyed in-game. However, if a supply pad is destroyed, the craft assigned to it will disappear from the screen.
- The EST in the craft's designation may be an acronym for "Expeditionary Support/Supply Transport" due to the craft's use by the UNSC Marine Corps in ship-to-shore logistics. However, this is unconfirmed.
- The Darter can be seen on the Halo 4 map known as Outcast in the Castle map pack.
- If one looks closely, one can see a Forerunner symbol on the Halo 4 Darter.