So what's the difference between the Federal Dropship, Federal Assault Ship and Federal Gunship?

Screenshot of the Federal Assault Ship from Elite: Dangerous
A screenshot of the Federal Assault Ship

The next major update for Elite: Dangerous, version 1.4, is currently in beta so it won't be long now before we see it deployed to the live servers. As part of the update the there will be three new ships: the Imperial Eagle (or Eagle Mk III), the Federal Assault Ship and the Federal Gunship. For today's post, I thought it'd be good to examine the preliminary stats of the two variants of the Federal Dropship and see what their strengths and weaknesses are.


The Assault Ship and the Dropship are around the same price at about 20,000,000 CR whereas the Gunship is around 46,000,000 CR which puts it firmly in the premier 40,000,000+ CR tier of ships (along with the Orca, Fer-de-Lance, Python, Type-9 and Anaconda)


The Federal Dropship is still one of the slowest vessels in the game, but the Gunship is even slower ("IMPOSSIBRU!") at a top speed of 174 and a boost speed of 287. The Assault Ship on the other hand is faster with a boost speed comparable to a Fer-de-Lance (350) although its top speed is much less at 210 instead of the Fer-de-Lance's 260.


Both new variants are apparently more agile than the Federal Dropship. The Gunship has only slightly better agility than the Dropship ("2" instead of "0") but with the same hull mass. The Assault Ship however has a reasonable "6" and a hull mass of 480t. It's still not quite as agile as a Fer-de-Lance or a Python but it's slightly cheaper and it's no longer one of the least agile ships in the game.


The original Dropship wins hands down when it comes to shields (200) which is interesting since the Gunship which is meant to be a beefier (and more expensive) variant of the Dropship has less shields at 186. The Assault Ship also has less shields at about 133 which makes its shield capacity only slightly better than tier-1 fighters like the Eagle, Diamondbacks and Viper.


If you're wanting to haul cargo, you might as well stick to the Federal Dropship. The Assault Ship only carries 32t by default and the Gunship is even worse at 16t. But then again, you're probably not buying the other variants if you're wanting to do some trading...


They all have the same fuel tank size of 16t.

Hull Mass

The Gunship and Dropship are the same weight at 580t. The Assault Ship shaves off 100t at 480t although this still makes it one of the heavier ships in the game.


The Fed Gunship, as its name implies, can carry quite a bit of weaponry. While it doesn't sport a huge hardpoint like the Anaconda or Fer-de-Lance, it can carry 2 small weapons, 4 medium weapons and 1 large weapon. The Dropship has a similar loadout except for the extra 2 small weapons. The Assault Ship, despite it being more combat oriented, has less hardpoints at 2 medium and 2 large – although 2 large hardpoints are not to be sneezed at considering the other two variants only have one.


Considering the Dropship, Gunship and Assault Ship are all still pretty heavy with small fuel tanks, it's not the best ship to use on long voyages. The Assault Ship is probably slightly better thought due to its reduced weight.


The Assault Ship seems the best variant of the bunch if you want to focus on combat. The only thing that bugs me is its low shields (although it does have a whopping 540 armour compared to the Dropship's 300). While the Gunship does have a whopping 630 armour (the most of any ship in the game) and slightly better maneuverability than the Dropship, it only has two extra small hardpoints over it and paying more than double for that seems a bit pricey.

So what do you think? Are you likely to get the Dropship, Gunship or Assault Ship?