The venerable and long-serving EF-450 Barrus Lander is the principle means by which the Directorate deploys ground forces to a planet from orbiting Navy ships, the quintessential sci-fi "dropship". Although larger transport craft exist, these are not generally deployed during the first waves of an assault because their large size and slow speed presents a vulnerable target to defensive emplacements. Thus the multipurpose Barrus Landers descend in huge waves of thousands of craft alongside the AEF-25 Aquila Strike Fighter. Their powerful shields and heavy defensive armaments can fend off all but the most powerful weapon systems and most determined attacks, weathering the brunt of defending forces to unload Army and Naval Infantry personnel onto a world's surface.
The EF-450 is the most recent development in a long line of similar concept landing craft bearing the name "Barrus", although this modern version is itself quite old. It is a long, narrow, vaguely insectoid ship driven by four articulating engine nacelles, two forward and two rear, along with four gigantic rear ion jets for forward thrust. Rather than having a closed, integral cargo compartment like other transport craft, the EF-450's body is dominated by a long, narrow spar mounting a series of grevimetric grapples and magnetic clamps for transporting two carrier modules, the internal layouts of which depend upon the cargo being transported. There are modules capable of holding a pair of EMX-200 walkers, an AMX-120 Carnifex tank or AMX-400 Brucus, half a platoon of fully-geared Directorate infantrymen [allowing one Lander to transport a full 60-man platoon], supplies, ammunition, or even - rarely - a squad of armored Janissaries.
The EF-450 is heavily shielded with a triple-layered energy screen system. A full coverage screen encases the entire craft, while a second shield is projected around the carrier modules and central spar to protect the vulnerable connecting spine from damage. Pulsed energy screen emitters are also located throughout the hull to deflect or absorb any attacks which breach the primary shielding. Furthermore, the craft boasts a total of five dual 23mm Magnetohydrodynamic Gun emplacements - dorsal and ventral turrets on both the forward and rear section along with a fifth position located atop the midpoint of the central spar. Finally, a dual 65mm autocannon is located below the cockpit in a chin position. The EF-450 is also quite heavily armored, but lacks the heat ablative outer shell and stealth features of many other exoatmospheric craft as a cost saving measure. It also does not have the same levels of redundancy and is heavily reliant on automation, with a small crew of only 4 personnel. This is an attempt on the part of the designers to save on production time/costs and manpower, because of the heavy losses these landers often incur during the initial stages of a planetary invasion.