Archives of Nethys

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Military Vehicles

To Orbit And Back

Source Starfinder #24: The God-Host Ascends pg. 47
The vast majority of starships are capable of routine planetary landings, but for those too large to safely enter an atmospheric environment, rapidly ferrying troops and supplies between space and the surface can prove a logistical nightmare. The answer to this challenge lies in special vehicles commonly referred to as dropships. Hardy enough to withstand the rigors of atmospheric entry and just powerful enough to rejoin their host ship afterward, they provide efficient transport onto or off a planet.

While dropships are capable of reaching space and maneuvering there, they lack the long-range capabilities that permit even the humblest of starships to travel between planets. Dropships make up for this deficiency in numerous ways. Without the need to house interplanetary thrusters or the core to power them, they have far more room for cargo and passengers. They can provide potent air support anywhere on a planet with minimal response time, plunging down from the firmament with artillery lasers and reaction cannons blazing. The largest dropships can even transport other vehicles in their spacious hangars, deploying ordnance and accompanying foot soldiers in less than an hour.

The fastest and most direct method to get boots on the ground is, however, the drop pod. With only the most rudimentary of guidance systems and no on-board steering mechanism, this compact single-use unit is more akin to a stripped-down, armored-up escape pod than a true vehicle. Launched from an orbiting ship on a ballistic trajectory toward a predetermined point of impact, drop pods rely on their extreme speed to safely deposit their occupants before the enemy can react, giving these troops the opportunity to secure a landing zone for more conventional aircraft. Drop pods saw extensive development and implementation during the Silent War, as the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium vied over proxy worlds in flash ground skirmishes.