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Global Defense Initiative
ORCA GUNSHIP Mk. III
The Orca line of aircraft used by the Global Defense Initiative has become somewhat a tradition, with every version of the aircraft produced serving proudly in GDI's airforce ever since the dawn of the First Tiberium War. Following with the highest traditions of the Global Defense Initiative's air-force, the third incarnation of the Orca Gunship served with highest honours in the Third Tiberium War.
While in the Second Tiberium War, where numerous variants of Orca were designed with specialized roles in mind, GDI commanders in the postwar period pushed for a "jack of all trades, master of none" version of the Orca. The Orca Gunship Mk.III is the result. While not as nimble and fast as the Orca Fighter of the second war, nor as heavy a bomber as the Orca Bomber, the new Orca Gunship carried the best of both worlds under her pylons, becoming the ultimate utilarian craft of the GDI. Able to be armed with various weapons for different roles, including Sidearm and Sidewinder missiles for air-to-air duty, Hellfire-Vs for anti-armour, Hydra rocket pods and gun-pods for infantry and light-vehicle suppresion, the Orca Gunship became fast favourites for commanders in the field. It's role became akin with earlier helicopter gunships like the Nod Apache, while her turbofan engines gave her the agility unmatched by any helicopter until the deployment of the GDI Hammerheads.
The start of the Third Tiberium War in 2047 was the trial-by-fire of the Orca Gunship, after a long and rather expensive development process. The gunship quickly excelled in air-to-ground duties, especially armour and vehicle suppresion, relegating the role of air-supreriority to the much more advanced and capable Firehawk jets. The Orca Gunship quickly evolved into a sort of tank-hunter, taking out Nod vehicles and walkers with extreme effectiveness. One of the more interesting roles a GDI commander could use for his Orca Gunships were "harvester hunting", crippling local Nod economy in the area with swift Orca strikes onto their Tiberium Harvesters. This in turn, led the Brotherhood to develop Stealthed Harvesters, to minimize the effect on these raids to their production and economy. But necessity being the mother of invention, GDI field commanders and Orca maintainance crew quickly came up with a quick fix, by replacing the 30mm cannon from the Orca's nose turret with a Sonar-Pulse scan device, a surplus of which were in GDI inventories. This allowed Orcas to continue to raid Nod harvesting operations by detecting the said stealth harvesters. This field modification quickly became commonplace within many GDI airbases, with the information to do so quickly spreading, until a more permanent solution could be found. This solution came with the deployment of GDI high-command's new Sensor-pod, an expendable mobile detection device that could be fitted onto the Orca's modular airframe. Orca Gunships equipped with these devices could deploy sensor pods across the battlefield, attaching to friend or foe alike, and revealing any stealth units in the process. Unfortunately, the sensor pods were less well-recieved compared to the "field-modded" Pulse Scans, due to it's high deployment costs, and the relatively low battery life of the sensor pods.
Soon, the Orca Gunship Mk.III had to take on increasingly dangerous roles. Nod Venom craft quickly became the arch nemesis of Orca pilots, as most would often carry a full anti-armour loadout, having no cannon nor air-to-air armaments to defend his or herself. Increasingly advanced Nod anti-aircraft like the robotic Mantis and Laser-armed buggies threatened the Orca's very existence in the battlefield. With the arrival of the alien Scrin and their powerful stellar navy of Devastator Warships and Planetary Assault Carriers, as well as the nimble and deadly Stormrider fighters, the future of the Orca Gunship looked bleak, as more and more GDI commanders preferred the faster and heavier Firehawk fighters for base incursions and air supremecy. Halfway through the war, a new engine upgrade was given to the Orca Gunships, allowing them to carry heavier payloads into the battlefield. These engines enabled increased hardpoint space on the Orca, allowing them to carry more missiles, and hence, more firepower into the battlefield. The Orca rose like a Phoenix once again, becoming the workhorse of the GDI airforce, just like it's predecessors had done in the past Tiberium conflicts.
The GDI's special elite operations group, the Zone Operations Command (ZOCOM) uses a specialised variant of the Orca Gunship. Affectionately named the "Zorca", portmanteau of the words "ZOCOM" and "Orca", by their pilots and crew, the ZOCOM Orca differs from the average GDI Orca in many ways. While "regular" GDI Orca Gunships are used to operate in relative comfort in Yellow and Blue Zones, where Tiberium infestation is relatively moderate of low, ZOCOM's operations take place exclusively in the Red Zones, where the spread of Tiberium is rampant and left uncontrolled. With this added danger, ZOCOM Orcas, like most of the unit's specialised equipment, are adapted to their needs, ensuring the very survival of their crew in these harsh envrionments. ZOCOM adapted their Orca Gunships in many ways, from slight modifications to the air ducts to prevent Tiberium formation in the gunship's engines itself, to advanced redundant life-support systems, giving crew members peace of mind as they fly missions across vast and dangerous Tiberium glaciers. Most prominent of all are ZOCOM's use of Ceramic armour technology, not only on their Orca Gunships, but all ZOCOM aircraft in the battlefield. Ceramic armour served many functions, including protection from the harsh Red Zone envrionment, as Tiberium often favours growing on metal rather than smooth ceramic. Ceramic armour also helps the survivalbility of ZOCOM Orcas during Ion Storms, dangerous and deadly particle storms caused by particle imbalance in the atmosphere due to Tiberium radiation. While not perfect, ZOCOM Orcas encountering these storms could buy time and find shelter to land or hide, where an unarmoured Orca Gunship would be outright destroyed by Ion Storm lightning. While first designed for a more peaceful role, Ceramic Armour quickly became one of the Zorca's most important assets in the war, becoming an added layer of protection from Nod and Scrin antiaircraft weapons. Due to the weight added on to Zorcas and other ZOCOM aircraft, they are unable to carry additional weapon hardpoints like other GDI aircraft, even with the new engine upgrades. Most Zorcas also utilise the trademark sonic-weaponry that ZOCOM is most famous for. Zorcas are typically armed with Sonic Grenade launchers, similar to those fired by the same unit's elite Zone Raider teams, as well as the epic MARV recently pushed into GDI service. Sonic grenades, unlike the more precise Hellfire-Vs that most commanders opt for, do better area damage, making them ideal to tear down enemy bases. Due to the nature of sonic weaponry, they also aid ZOCOM in it's reclaimation projects, halting and pushing back the spread of Tiberium.
Orca Gunship Mk.IIIs and their variants are expected to serve the GDI for many years to come. With peace finally enveloping the world, variants like the "Zorca" will continue to help the Initiative in land reclaimation projects, hopefully stopping Tiberium and it's creators from fully consuming the world.
I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO CNC4.
Seriously. No MCV? IT'S NOT COMMAND AND CONQUER.
EA. WHY? You're already doing great with CNC3, WHY THE FARK DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS CRAP?!?!?! You've already ruined the Red Alert series. WHY?!?!?!?!?!
<3 MCVs FOREVAH!