Kane began to make use of technology plundered from the alien artifact known as the Tacitus in order to create powerful new weapons for the Brotherhood. One of the developments from the data storage device was a technology in which he used to create a next generation heavy attack fighter/bomber aircraft.
Nod established a cloaked base in North-east at Sector Seven (somewhere in the Balkans) which served as the primary production facility for the advanced Banshee fighters. After the existence of the Banshee was discovered, General James Solomon dispatched Commander Michael McNeil to destroy the base where he was assisted by Umagon, Ghostalker and other Mutants from the Forgotten. The Forgotten were able to determine the location of the hidden Nod base and the Global Defense Initiative deployed its forces to destroy the Banshee factories in the hopes of eliminating all the prototypes.
While the prototypes were destroyed, it didn't stop these flying terrors from entering the battlefield during the final stages of the war. But even then they were not able to save Nod from an eventual defeat.
|The following is based on the Nod campaign for Tiberian Sun and some details might contradict canon.|
As the conflict of the Second Tiberium War raged on, GDI began its testing of its new prototype Mammoth Mk. II heavy walkers. Kane sought to destroy it as it was a threat to continued Nod operations and thus gave Anton Slavik a squadron of Banshee attack fighters from his elite guard which were used to destroy the Mammoth prototype.
During the Firestorm Crisis, the Nod machine intelligence known as CABAL rebelled against the Brotherhood in an attempt to dominate the Earth. During this time, it managed to make use of Nod Banshees in a bizarre method for attacking enemy structures before its defeat. For reasons not known, the Banshee was later retired from service and further production of the craft were discontinued. Instead, by the time of the Third Tiberium War, the Brotherhood had developed a stealth bomber craft known as the Vertigo which fulfilled many of the duties of the Banshee.
The Banshee is extremely thin, compact and very heavily armored. It mounts powerful rapid fire plasma cannons, also developed using Tacitus technology. The plasma reactors have to be recharged at a Helipad, however, so the Banshee is not capable of long-term independent operation. Its speed and armor mean that the Banshees nearly always return from missions.
Its weapons are optimized for use against vehicles, especially lighter vehicles, although there is evidence to suggest that a small group of them can destroy even the Mammoth Mk. II. Although very effective against GDI armour, these weapons are less effective against GDI structures, and SAM towers make such operations very risky. Despite this being the case, the rogue artificial intelligence known as CABAL made use of Banshees as weapons to target structures during the Firestorm Crisis.
During the Third Tiberium War, there was a striking resemblance between the alien Scrin's Stormrider fighters and that of the old Nod Banshees. It was then confirmed that the Banshees' technology was derived from the Tacitus, therefore explaining the similarity of the Nod Banshee and Scrin Stormrider.
Banshees are seen as lethal air-superiority fighters in cutscene, but serve as equivalent of Orca Bomber in game. Compared with Orca Bomber, Banshee's plasma cannons are much more accurate. However small-sized, fast moving targets still have some chances to dodge the plasma charges. Although it has no anti-air capabilities (the ONLY aviation unit with air-to-air ability in Tiberian Sun and Firestorm is the Jump Jet Infantry from the GDI), the Banshee is very suitable for dealing with ground vehicles, and structures as well if sent in large numbers (nine Banshees are efficient at destroying structures except the Barracks and Radar.
After three phases of attack, Banshee must return to Helipad for reloading.
Behind the Scenes
The Banshee was named after a female spirit from the Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld - a fitting name indeed, given its weapons can send screaming plasmatic death towards its target(s).
Humorously, when the Banshee is shot down in-game, the pilot merely says "whoops" calmly before crashing into the ground, unlike other aircraft pilots in the entire series, which scream or yell out help before they crash.
One interesting matter is that the Banshee's voice in the German versions of Tiberian Sun and Firestorm differs much from the one implemented in the English versions. In the German versions its voice sounds feminine and quite dire - both characteristics make this voice better fitting to the unit's name (with regard to the name's direful meaning).