|C-21 Dragon Assault Ship|
Heavy Gunship; Heavy VTOL Transport
105 knots in Pandoran atmosphere
|Behind the scenes|
The C-21 a.k.a. Dragon Assault Ship (Na'vi name: Kunsip apxa meaning "large gunship") is a quad-rotor VTOL heavy transport and assault aircraft used by the RDA for full-scale military operations against the Na'vi, or as support during small incursions into otherwise hostile territory teeming with vicious megafauna and flora. It is the RDA's most powerful non-nuclear weapon on Pandora, coupled with heavy armor, devastating firepower and a large cargo bay for additional room for cargo or forces, making the C-21 Dragon Assault Ship a fully-functional, multi-purpose airship. The RDA only had one operational Dragon at the time of the film, though there was a second Dragon airframe on Pandora, but most of the main components hadn't arrived from Earth. Quaritch coordinated the RDA's assault on the Omaticaya Hometree and the attack on the Tree of Souls from the Dragon Gunship. It was eventually destroyed by Jake Sully.
Compared to both the SA-2 Samson and AT-99 Scorpion, the C-21 Dragon is significantly larger, slower, and less maneuverable. However, with its panoply of heavy machine guns, dozens of rocket and missile pods, and possible complement of door-gunners, it can function as an excellent lead gunship when mainline Scorpions are not around or available. To prevent potentially catastrophic friendly-fire incidents resulting from careless use of such firepower, all but the door guns are constrained by friendly fire IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) avoidance codes for safety. Otherwise, it acts mainly as a military air transport and air assault vehicle, utilizing its ability to land numerous AMP suits, infantry and other military vehicles across Pandora. Its roles include acting as capital ship/flagship, assault/attack, defense and transportation/carrier. In essence, the Dragon is the military workhorse of the RDA.
The Dragon Assault Ship has the ability to deploy many infantry units and AMP suits at once and is armed with a variety of medium automatic guns, Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Air missiles, incendiary rockets, gas canister launchers, grenade launchers, plus two dual and two quad automatic gatling gun systems. All gun and missile systems are constrained by Friendly Fire Avoidance Codes (IFF Lockout). The Air-To-Ground missiles and rocket pods are mounted on three huge stub pylons at each side, which are all in a symmetrical set.
Before Pandora was first discovered, the Dragon was, and still is, being used in massed offensives against environmental terrorists and other insurgents on Earth to a predictably devastating effect. It was usually used in only the most brutal combat zones, where it leveled major enemy installations with ease before deploying its troop and vehicles onto the ground to proceed with the ground advance in earnest. This earned the Dragon's formidable reputation for being able to inflict 100% enemy casualties in any zone it was deployed to.
Later modifications were made which replaced the standard forward missile launchers with remotely manned gun-turrets around various points of the ship, allowing it to defend itself from any close-range targets. Additional modifications include the hardening of the ship's electronic systems, to further protect it from both fierce electromagnetic storms on Pandora, and the constant electronic warfare attacks from terrorists on Earth.
Its standard propulsion system has also been modified, granting it much more forward velocity. The Dragon's original system relied solely on its four rotors for speed, which made it very maneuverable, but unsurprisingly slow. However, jet thrusters have now been added alongside its original four rotors to allow for much higher velocities while moving forward, while maintaining its impressive maneuverability.A Dragon participated in the attack on the Hometree and later in the final battle of the film. Both times, it served as Colonel Quaritch's command ship. It was destroyed when Jake Sully landed on the ship from his great leonopteryx, detonated two grenades on the top of the hull, and after falling to a lower position, grabbed one of the Dragon's mounted missiles, and threw it into one of the rotors. The resulting explosion made the Dragon spin out of control and explode soon after, though Quaritch managed to escape in his personal AMP suit.
Several Dragons appear in Avatar: The Game. First a Dragon appears in Blue Lagoon, where it bombs a Na'vi reservation. Next on the Na'vi side it appears after Dr. Harper returns with Ryder and his link chambers, and its rotors are destroyed causing it to crash. Two more arrive and destroy the link chambers. They appear frequently throughout the game on the Na'vi side. A Dragon appears under the command of Karl Falco in the end, but it is hit by an EMP blast from the Tree of Souls, causing it to crash.
It appears on the RDA side as well, but less frequently, only appearing at Blue Lagoon, then several times in Tantalus, and the Plains of Goliath, after being given to the player by Quaritch. It replaces the great leonopteryx as the last vehicle of the game. Some crashed wrecks of Dragons can also be seen in the Needle Hills stage, in an area known as Dragon's Graveyard.
- There is an orange colored Chinese dragon painted on the right side of Quaritch's Dragon Assault Ship, directly below the right cockpit.
- With maximum payload, the Dragon is said to be able to destroy an area the size of Manhattan in six seconds. 
- The Dragon can be seen in Quaritch's i-Tag.
- There were at least seven Dragons on Pandora, as six were destroyed in the game.
Pandorapedia - Dragon Gunship article
|Space||ISV Venture Star · Valkyrie|
|Air||Dragon Assault Ship · Drone · Samson (16)· Scorpion|
|Land||AMP Suit (Beyond Glory) · ATV Grinder · Bucket Wheel Excavator · Buggy · Digger · Excavator · Fuel Tanker · Hell Truck · Bulldozer · Front End Loader · Slash Cutter · Swan|
|Sea||Gator · RDA Boat|