Drones in Arma 3 are very underutilized for their potential. IMO the third most powerful combination in Arma 3. A lot of people just don’t know how to use them or know when to use them. So what are drones exactly?

Drones in Arma 3 come in two categories, UAV and UGV. Unmanned Ariel Vehicles and Unmanned Ground. Typically, weapon platforms, drones also offer utility in the forms of reconnaissance, equipment transport, and demining.

While drones are unmanned, they require AI in them. Because this is Arma 3 the AI have names personalities in terms of stats. For a drone to work properly, besides the AI, you also need the emissions enabled. This puts the drone on the sensor network, sharing information. Doing this allows the AI to send tactical target data such as a laser designator. Without this, the laser won’t work, and the drone will be effectively useless.

Drones are not without their drawbacks. Drones are not fully autonomous, they require the focus of someone, which can decrease your overall firepower. They don’t have any staying power and can’t take much fire. They’re easily destroyed and rendered useless. If you can get around the limitation of personnel and keep them safe, drones are recommended.

The UAVs are a good option when you want everyone on the ground while providing a stand by CAS. A drone operator can quickly get heavy support into the field where it’s needed most. All while your operator can switch back as infantry.

A2 Darter

The darter is your main go to drone when it comes to Arma 3. It’s man-portable as a backpack and can be deployed in the field. It boasts the highest stealth radar cross-section of any vehicle in Arma 3. The main defense of the darter is its size and distance. Keeping the drone 1K away from any action will keep the drone mostly secure. It’s out of range of small arms fire and most vehicles won’t spot it.

The main advantage of the darter is spotting enemies and using the laser. Having a direct line of sight with a friendly vehicle can transmit the location of the laser to the support vehicle. This allows support to fire around mountains and structures, assuming the munitions can make the turn. A darter can turn the Rhino into a mobile artillery station.

You can set the drone to autopilot and have it follow a user, it will keep the user in view at all times. Helping with spotting. It’s recommended to keep either altitude or distance for spotting.

The Good:

  • Portable
  • Batter-recharge able
  • laser designator
  • PTZ camera

The Bad:

  • Weak to all weapons
  • Backpack takes a vital slot (The main reason it’s not used a lot)

ED-1 Mini

This drone is primarily a demining drone. It’s got a large detection range for mines. The powerful shotgun can clear buildings fairly easily, and it’s able to navigate an urban landscape.

The drone is a great spotter with its thermal imaging. Most ops don’t allow thermals, and this may be a way to sneak some in. Always take an ED-1 when IEDs are expected. The camera can be adjusted to many heights and positions, making it an ideal drone for scoping out a building safely.

The ED-1 can be used as a support drone covering flanks or positions. While a sniper team is holding a building, busy spotting and shooting. This drone can hold the stairs and protect or at least warn the team.

The good:

  • It can take a few hits
  • Large mine detection range
  • Good shotgun mounted on the head
  • Can be used as a deployable infantry

The Bad:

  • DLC item
  • Very Limited ammo
  • Takes Backpack slot
  • Slow, it has a hard time keeping up with a squad in motion

UGV Stomper

The Stomper has a lot of firepower at its disposal. The 12.7 mm cannon and 40 mm grenade launcher can easily hit targets 1k away. It’s a powerful street sweeper on wheels. You’ll find the stomper is best when protecting infantry in open fields or in cities.

The stomper also has inventory and passenger space. The stomper can be a good ammo supply or emergency medical supply workhorse, while the passenger can be used for injured but stable soldiers.

I generally find the Stomper is most useful as an overwatch vehicle for infantry. Keeping supplies topped off for the troops and dispensing a large amount of suppression when required. The Stomper is weakest in a tight urban environment

The good:

  • Powerful guns
  • Forces Infantry to use AT (usually)
  • Good speed to keep up with infantry
  • Good for mobile container storage

The Bad:

  • Can’t keep up with convoys
  • Any armored vehicle will make quick work of it
  • Wheels are a bit weaker than MRAPs.

MQ 12 Falcon

The falcon is a gunship drone without the guns, the only thing it lacks. The falcon carries 4 pylons of missiles and thermal targeting computer (like A-10). The falcon is a great CAS fire support option in most situations. It’s not often used because the same role can be done with a human pilot. And well, people prefer to fly if given a chance. DAGRs for infantry and light-medium vehicles. Scalpels for vehicles of any type. Falcons carry enough firepower to destroy most bases by themselves.

The Good:

  • Great anti-tank or infantry platform
  • Fast and maneuverable
  • Most potential Firepower per-weight in the game

The Bad:

  • DLC drone
  • Expends all munitions quickly
  • Sensitive to any fire
  • Easily spotted due to size
  • Weak to AA

MQ-4A Greyhawk

The Grayhawk is often thought about when people think of combat drones. The combat drone only has two pylons for use, so far more limiting than the other drones. The Grayhawk works best at a very high altitude. Because of its low speed, the altitude gives the munitions time to correct and find their target. This is another drone that’s underutilized. It can be used in place of a darter and AT if used right.

The Grayhawk fills a unique role as a high-altitude loitering CAS. The drone is best used when circling an objective very high, out of sight.

The Good:

  • Fits a niche that most humans don’t occupy
  • Easy to use

The bad:

  • Very slow, takes a while to get into position when starting out
  • Generic enough to be forgotten

UCAV Sentinel

The sentinel is a bomber version of the Grayhawk with a lower radar profile and larger pylon capacity. If you want a drone that can rearm on a carrier and that carries heavier payloads, the Sentinel is it. Unique to the sentinel among drones is that it carries HARM missiles. It stands for Homing Anti-Radiation Missile, so it’s an anti-anti-air missile. This makes the Sentinel the perfect first strike bomber for any occasion, giving your other more room for other munitions.

The Sentinel fits a few roles, high-altitude loitering CAS, first strike Bomber, Bomber. Best used for a specific target or as a Laser Designator.

The Good:

  • First Strike
  • Hardened targets
  • Fast
  • Laser Designator
  • Good at supporting other CAS

The Bad:

  • Ignored as people prefer to fly
  • Jets DLC