The Gunship or Flying Drone is the basic air unit of the Ravager assault force in games after Global Defence Force, replacing the old UFO. They move erratically, and are fast and hard to hit. They tend to make strafing runs against ground targets and tend to swarm. They have appeared in Earth Defense Force 2017, Earth Defense Force 2025, and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. A similar enemy referred to as "Gunship" appears in Insect Armageddon. Earth Defense Force 5 features a new variant called the "Battle Drone" that resembles the old UFO.
Earth Defense Force 2017
In EDF 2017, gunships came in two varieties: The normal silver gunship which was basic and flimsy with a weak attack and the much stronger elite red gunships. They both however behave in the same manner, while not particularly focused, they could maneuver at high speeds giving them an easy way to fire diffusion lasers from above.
In the storyline they are stated to have annihilated all the world's air forces. It is not at all clear how.
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
Gunships in Insect Armageddon come in only one type, first appearing in Chapter 1 Mission 3: On the Run. They have two different attacks; a strafing energy gun run and a laser attack which requires them to remain stationary and charge up for several seconds. They are easiest to shoot down while they stop to charge up and fire the laser attack (which is easily dodged while strafing the target) or when making an attack run. Homing weapons are recommended as they can easily seek and destroy gunships, although you can hit them with most weapons while they are stationary.
The Gunships also sometimes go on a suicide rush after you shoot them down, aiming themselves for the nearest player, emitting a warning tone and a red glow. Gunships can be intercepted and destroyed while they are on a suicide run, thus preventing them from being able to crash into you. Keep in mind however that the wreckage of the Gunship can still hit you and deal damage if you do not hit them soon enough.
2025 / 4.1
In these two games the aircraft are referred to as Flying Drones. They come in the same two types as in 2017, and behave in essentially the same way.
The gleaming chrome-silver Flying Drone is the basic Ravager aerial unit, first seen in mission 10: The Return where they are deployed from the Mothership over Japan. Elsewhere in the campaign they are deployed from Quadruped Fortresses and Large Transport Ships, and are often seen accompanying regular Transport Ships. Later a new and deadlier Ravager aircraft, the Flight Vehicle, is introduced and becomes far more common later in the game, but the Drones continue to operate alongside them.
Flying Drones move erratically, swooping around and bouncing off obstructions and each other in a very unpredictable manner and very rarely staying still. Their attack uses six weapons in the roots of their wing structures that fire volleys of small red energy pulses in two bands; as with an Ant's acid spray attack these pulses are tracked as individual projectiles by the engine and each have their own assigned damage, so it is possible to be only partially hit by a shot.
Drones are flimsy with less health than a standard Ant, and depend on numbers to take down their foes. Their erratic movement means they have difficulty focusing on an actual target, and seem to only attack when their path happens to intersect with an enemy and they are facing in the right direction. Because their attack is strictly direct-fire, damage can be largely avoided by moving into a narrow gap between two buildings, though they will occasionally end up in a position to fire into it.
They are best fought with multi-lock homing weapons, though spread weapons like shotguns and rapid-fire weapons like assault rifles and ZE-GUNs are also effective against them.
If they are not aggro'd they will simply circle around vaguely. Their fuselage and wings will flash red when they switch from idle to aggro status.
As in 2017, the Red Drone is a powerful elite version of the standard Flying Drone, analogous to the Mutant variants of giant insect enemies. They first appear in mission 27 (28 in 4.1) High-Speed and are fairly infrequent in the campaign, acting as something of a mini-boss enemy whenever they are present.
The Red Drone is far faster and has around 20 times the health of a standard Flying Drone, along with a vasty more potent attack which is not the same as in 2017: rather than firing in the exact same way as a normal Drone as there, they have a unique variation. Their attack still uses the same gunfire effect, but the guns now fire a long stream of shots so densely they form a continuous beam that deals immense damage. This dense beam of individual shots is incredibly fast and persists for a short time after being fired, and covers quite a large horizontal area. Like the regular drone, it fires in a limited vertical arc with no real ability to aim upwards.
Like the standard Flying Drone they move erratically and do not attack often, and their high speed often results in them whizzing off out of view to far-flung map areas. However, the sheer power of their attack means this random nature often works in their favor, with Storm Team suddenly taking immense damage from a Drone the player or players had lost track of.
Their resilience means that normally weak anti-air homing weapons and ZE-GUNs are practically useless against them, and they are best fought with high-damage, high-velocity weapons like sniper rifles and the Epsilon Armored Railgun. Their erratic movement makes leading shots tricky, and they are best targeted during the moments when they stop briefly, seemingly to get their bearings or detect more things they can crash into. They also stop briefly immediately before firing, though this is a very dangerous time to attack them if they are going after the player character at the time. Using a Decoy will give good chances to attack them if playing as an Air Raider.
In 2025's version of the DLC mission Bloody River a sub-variant is introduced, a weaker "mass produced" Red Drone with lowered damage and much weaker armor, with the mission containing 15 of them at once to compensate. The mission is totally overhauled in 4.1 due to the higher number of "red" enemies that can be included (from two types to eight) and so the mission contains five completely normal Red Drones instead.
In 2025 they will drop up to four items on death, while in 4.1 this is increased to up to seven.