The D-4 Nightstrike is the first successful combat drone produced by SynTec. A large proportion of Drone Monkeys find the idea of using their technology for destruction abhorrent, which makes combat operatives rare and therefore very valuable. The advantages of drones are clear enough; one person can operate more than one craft and drones are quick, agile and waste no space on pilots or life support.
The Nightstrike gets it’s name from it’s faint to non-existant sensor profile. The combination of it’s small size as well as it’s method and material of construction means it is often difficult for sensor operators to ‘see’ unless they are specifically looking for it. ‘Nightstrike’ refers to it’s ability to use this to it’s advantage and sneak up on unsuspecting enemies. It’s twin pulse cannons aren’t the heaviest weapon but are accurate and effective at short range.
Above: D-4s flying in formation with their control ship, ISS Ningyo.
Aside from circumspect scouting and ambush missions, the D-4 is more than nimble enough to dogfight with opposing starfighters. It has a low capacity/high recharge shield, meaning it can survive a hit or two but no more. The most combat grizzled Drone Monkeys can coordinate advanced combat manoveres that would take a team of human pilots months to learn.
Drones are more fragile than starfighters, more tricky to repair and more expensive to replace. The control ship must be relatively close to the drones to transmit and this transmission can – with some skill – be jammed. These overheads and potential weaknesses mean hiring a combat drone control ship is significantly more expensive than hiring human counterparts, but it is often worth the outlay.