The Tri-Rotor is a Fourth Echelon-developed remote-controlled drone used for recon and covert operations intelligence gathering controlled via the user's OPSAT. It is designed with minimized noise to avoid detection and can be outfitted with a series of gadgets for both non-lethal stealth encounters and assault means. Tri-rotor can be detected by enemies if the sticky shocker misses or the Tri-rotor is too close, once the drone is shot down, the enemy will be alerted to Sam's presence.
It can be used by the player to do multiple tasks such as:
- Stalk enemies from a distance (when upgraded, you can use Sonar vision to detect them) and the Tri-Rotor can be used as recon tool while the path is not accessable by player.
- Intelligence gathering, in some point of the game, the Tri-Rotor is needed for looking for High-Value targets, or important items.
- Knock out multiple enemies, the upgraded Tri-Rotor has 4 shocker arrow equipped, once the Rotor is close enough, Sam can use the explosive to kill enemies.
- Disable electronics from a distance, the Tri-Rotor can be used against electronic devices, via its EMP charge upgrade. The Tri-Rotor can only use one kind of explosive at a time, either this or the C4 charge that kills the enemy.
Care should be taken however while flying the drone. The drone is very fragile and even the slightest damage from gunfire will destroy it, if enemies manage to spot it. Simultaneously, if the drone is used while enemies are actively searching for the player, the player should make use of mines in order to keep enemies at bay from attacking the player.
- The Tri-Rotor is named so because it has three rotor propellers in a trifocal placement, similar to the iconic trifocal image of the Splinter Cell series.
- If the Tri-Rotor is not detected, the explosive kill counts as Panther kill.
- The Tri-Rotor is featured in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist was designed by Fourth Echelon's Charlie Cole. This gadget is also unique for receiving upgrade for free throughout the game.