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C-21 Dragon Assault Ship
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C-21 Dragon


Tiltrotor Assault Gunship


Heavy Gunship; Heavy VTOL Transport

  • Track-and-tack weapons with personnel detection from Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) codes
  • Eight 50mm sentry guns
  • Sixteen unknown autocannons
  • Four 18x2 AG-MFM 332 incendiary missile pods
  • Ten TK-411 WAFAR air-to-ground missile pods
  • Two 6x2 grenade launcher pods
  • Two Hawkeye HELLFIRE air-to-air missile pods
  • Four unknown rocket pods
  • 41.5 meters long
  • 31.7 meters wide
  • 9.22 meters high

105 knots in Pandoran atmosphere

Behind the scenes
First appearance


The C-21 a.k.a. Dragon Assault Ship (Na'vi name: Kunsip apxa meaning "large gunship") is a quad-tiltrotor 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 first 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 Omatikaya Hometree and the attack on the Tree of Souls from the Dragon Gunship. It was eventually destroyed by Jake Sully.


Military Usage[]

Compared to both the SA-2 Samson and AT-99 Scorpion, the C-21 Dragon-class 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.


The Dragon's command cockpit

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. What is unique to the Dragon is that unlike other aircraft, the Dragon has two cockpits. The first is the Dragon's primary cockpit in the center of the airship, which behaves like a typical pilot cockpit that controls the vehicle itself. The second is the Dragon's command cockpit situated on the starboard of the airship, which is in charge of the ship's vast array of weapons and sensors. 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 missiles and rockets such as: ten TK-411 WAFAR Air-to-Ground and two Hawkeye HELLFIRE Air-to-Air missiles, four 9x2 incendiary AG-MFM 332 missile pods, sixteen autocannons (four dual-linked and two quad-linked), two 6x2 grenade launcher pods that can be changed with gas canisters, four unknown rocket pods, 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.

Rather than aiming manually, a human gunner indicate targets and delegate tasks to the multiple gun and missile systems, which then execute orders accordingly.[1]


On Earth[]


Dragon Assault Ship in James Cameron's Avatar: The Game.

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. The electronics were hardened as well, to defend against constant electronic warfare attacks from terrorists.

On Pandora[]

The electronics modifications from the Terran theatre were also useful on Pandora, to protect it from fierce electromagnetic storms.

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.

Hometree destruction

A Dragon attacking the Hometree

A Dragon participated in the attack on the Hometree in 2154, delivering key incendiary missiles that proved decisive in that operation. The ship was commanded by Colonel Miles Quaritch, who oversaw the operation to destroy Hometree. The ship also participated during the assault on the Tree of Souls. During the assault, Quaritch ordered all gunships to attack the Na'vi, who were riding their banshees and attacked most of the RDA's air support. The ship then chased Jake Sully on his Toruk, before turning its attention to Trudy Chacon. The ship was able to gun down Trudy's Samson easily. It was eventually destroyed when Jake Sully detonated two grenades on the top of the hull, and threw one of its own missiles 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.

Return to Pandora[]

Bridgehead Gunships

Gunships at Bridgehead base.

Multiple Dragon Gunships can be seen in the newly built Bridgehead base, one of which is commanded by General Frances Ardmore. She calls her ship the "Dragonfly".


  • 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. [2]
  • The Dragon can be seen in Quaritch's i-Tag.
  • Although the ship was never based on real life vehicles, it might be influenced by the Lockheed AC-130.
  • There were at least seven Dragons on Pandora, as six were destroyed in the game.
  • The Dragon Assault Ship is one of the only few older vehicles to be used around Bridgehead in 2169, since the Scorpion Gunships and the SA-2 Samsons were moved to the Western Frontier and replaced by Seawasps and Kestrel Gunships respectively.



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