FTL: Faster Than Light Wiki
FTL: Faster Than Light Wiki

DroneControlCircle The Drone Control system powers drones, which act automatically and cannot be controlled directly. Drones perform tasks such as attacking enemy ships and crew, defending your ship and crew, and repairing your ship.

When the Drone Control system is bought at a store, it always comes with 2 slots and 2 system levels. It includes one random "half price" drone schematic, which is a System Repair Drone, a Defense Drone Mark I, or a Combat Drone Mark I. The base price of the system is 60 scrap, so it costs 75 scrap when bundled with a System Repair Drone and 85 scrap otherwise.


  • Powers all of the ship's drones.
  • Drones are automated robots that each perform a different task.
  • Activating a drone is done in a similar way as activating weapons, by clicking on or pressing the key (5-7).
    • Activating a drone will power it and, if the drone is not already deployed, will spend one drone part to deploy the drone.
    • The drone will stay active until it is destroyed, its system is too damaged to power it, or you deactivate it.
    • External and boarding drones are lost when jumping to a new system and have to be redeployed at each new location or encounter, though a Drone Recovery Arm lets you recover the drone parts of external drones.
    • Crew drones stay on the ship and only need to be redeployed when destroyed.
  • Upgrading lets you power more drones simultaneously (although you can have multiple deployed and only have one powered at a time, switching power as necessary).
  • Most playable ships have 2 slots for Drone Schematics. All Engi ships and Stealth C have 3 slots. Enemies can have up to 4 active drones (Rebel Rigger, Rebel Disruptor, the Flagship, and Engi ships).
  • Drones that fly around a ship can be shot down by enemy fire if they are in direct line of fire, or can be destroyed by colliding with asteroids. Your weapons cannot hit your own drones and your defense drones cannot shot down each other with their weapons.
  • Crew and boarding drones can be damaged and destroyed by hostile crew; however, they take halved damage from any weapons, asteroids, or Zoltan explosion.
  • If a drone is destroyed, there is a 10 second delay before it can be deployed again (costing another part).
  • Drone Control system can be used as a blue option in the Pirate salesman event.
  • Installed drones can be used as a blue option in some events.
  • External drones hit by an ion shot are stunned for 5 seconds for each ion damage. Each second of stun after the first, they have a 15% chance to be destroyed.

Guide and Tactics[]

While all drones can potentially be useful, some of them require very specific circumstances to be worthwhile.

Defense Drones are the most widely useful, as they can shoot down missiles, Boarding and Ion Intruder Drones, and some asteroids. The Defense Drone Mark II can also shoot down lasers and ions; these may distract it from shooting a missile, but careful micro-management largely prevents that.

Anti-Combat drones are an effective defence against offensive drones, which can be among the most dangerous fights in the game. An Anti-Combat drone will typically suppress one enemy drone quite effectively, but not completely. Shield drones are slow to recharge but can block any shot, and can even be timed to block a missile; they can also neutralise ion pulses at a pulsar, but only if you have a shield system.

Combat and Beam drones are generally not a good substitute for weapons, since they cost drone parts to use, and you cannot choose which rooms they attack. Nevertheless, they can combine well with weapons in a supporting role. You can time a Combat drone to remove a shield before your weapons land. They are also effective at stripping Zoltan Shields, especially the Beam Drone Mark II, which does 2 damage each swipe. Using multiple offensive drones in every fight is not sustainable, unless you obtain a Drone Recovery Arm.

Onboard drones overlap in function with your crew. They can be useful, but you likely won't get much benefit from them if you already have a large and diverse crew. They do have some good blue options.

Boarding and Ion Intruder drones have limited applications. They are not effective at getting crew kills by themselves, and if you have a teleporter, you can get the crew kills without them. The Ion Intruder can be very disruptive if it lands in an important system like weapons; Mind Controlling an enemy crew will pull it into their system.

Hull Repair Drones can be extremely helpful if you have plenty of drone parts. However, they are also an expensive purchase and it would often be better to spend that scrap improving your ship instead.

The drone system is quite expensive to upgrade, considering what the upgrades do. One benefit of drones is that they can share power effectively. For example, it's possible to use a Defense Drone, Combat Drone, and Beam Drone (all Mark I) together in a fight, without upgrading the system at all.

Drone Schematics[]

A drone schematic is required to operate a drone, and there are four types: Boarding Drones, Combat Drones, Crew Drones, and Defensive Drones.

Boarding Drones[]

Tip: Boarding Drones require 1 drone part to deploy for each new enemy. They will board the enemy ship and attack as long as they are powered.

When deployed, Boarding Drones fly to the enemy ship, breach the hull and attack crew and systems inside. They take half damage from weapons and zoltan explosion, but can be stunned just like regular crew. They are unaffected by fires and low oxygen. They ignore regular shields, but are destroyed when contacting a Zoltan Shield (the Zoltan Shield will be unaffected).

They can be shot down by defensive drones, and stunned by Anti-Combat Drones with a 50% chance to be destroyed. They cannot board a cloaked ship. And like all drones, the player has no direct control of them.

Boarding Drone[]

Boarding Drone "Breaches through the enemy hull and wreaks havoc. Awesome."
  • Purchase price: 70 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 4)
  • Power requirement: 3 power
  • Health: 150 HP
  • Speed: 18 (when moving through space)
  • Boards enemy ships and attacks enemy crew and systems
  • Rebel Flagship's Boarding Drone requires 2 power

Ion Intruder Drone[]

IonIntruderDrone "Breaches through the enemy hull and randomly ionizes systems."
  • Purchase price: 65 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 4) (Advanced Edition Content)
  • Power requirement: 3 power
  • Health: 125 HP
  • Speed: 18 (when moving through space)
  • Periodically emits an ion blast that deals 3 ion damage to the system and stuns enemy crew, then moves to a different system
  • Pulse time varies between 8.2 and 10 seconds. Stun lasts for 6 seconds
  • Will skip its cooldown if it attacked a blast door or a door locked with the Lockdown effect beforehand
  • Quickly breaks down doors
  • The stun does not affect friendly boarders, Boarding Drones, or other Ion Intruders
  • Doesn't stun friendly crew affected by mind control (e.g. enemy's Ion Intruder won't stun mind-controlled boarders on your ship, but will stun your mind-controlled crew)
  • Will not attempt to ionise a destroyed system, but will target systems that are ionised
  • Removing power does not reset its cooldown, so pulses can be "stored"
  • Specific animation played before its charge attack gives enough time to leave the room to avoid being stunned.

Combat Drones (offensive drones)[]

Tip: Combat Drones require 1 drone part to deploy at each encounter and, if destroyed in battle, 1 more drone part each time redeployed. They will attack the enemy as long as they are powered and can freely be switched on and off. You can only power and deploy a combat drone when in combat.

Confusingly, the game refers to "combat drones" as both a general category and a specific type. The general category is normally called "offensive drones" by players, and comprises combat drones, regular beam drones, and the fire beam drone. The specific type is a drone that fires a laser weapon, i.e. the Combat Drone Mark I and the Combat Drone Mark 2.

Offensive drones orbit the enemy ship and attack it repeatedly, targeting random rooms. They are targeted by Anti-Combat Drones but not by defence drones. They can be destroyed by asteroids or shots from the opposing ship. It's sometimes possible to shoot down enemy drones with precise weapons timing.

They can rapidly deplete hull when shields are disabled, but cannot be relied on to disable specific systems. Players can also time the drone's shots to combine with their weapons fire.

They can sometimes be used as protection from enemy weapons: a depowered drone can block ion blasts indefinitely or can be placed to block a missile projectile. They can also be used to destroy enemy defensive drones.

The movement speed of offensive drones is normalised based on the longest dimension of the enemy's shield. In other words, they attack at broadly the same rate regardless of the ship size. Their next position is chosen by a random angle between 0 and 360 degrees, which must be at least 90 degrees apart from the last angle. However, the game does not account for a wraparound effect: for example, it considers 5 degrees and 355 degrees to be 350 degrees apart, when in reality they are only 10 degrees apart. As a result, drones may fire very rapidly on the right side of the ship (the "nose" of player ships).

Combat Drone Mark I[]

CombatDroneI "Powerful drone that continually attacks the enemy ship."
  • Purchase price: 50 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 2)
  • Power requirement: 2 power
  • Speed: 15
  • Continually attacks the enemy ship with a single laser blast, usually slower than normal shield recharge
  • Laser blast has 10% chance to start fire in the hit room
  • Can be included with the purchase of a Drone Control system

Combat Drone Mark II[]

CombatDroneII "Powerful drone that continually attacks the enemy ship. Moves and shoots faster than Mark I."
  • Purchase price: 75 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 5)
  • Power requirement: 4 power
  • Speed: 28
  • Moves faster, and consequently has a higher rate of fire; often partly suppresses two shield layers
  • Laser blast has 10% chance to start fire in the hit room

Anti-Ship Beam Drone I[]

BeamDroneI "Combat Drone that repeatedly attacks with a small beam weapon."
  • Purchase price: 50 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 3)
  • Power requirement: 2 power
  • Speed: 15
  • Uses a small beam weapon to continually attack the enemy ship. While fast and 100% accurate, the beam cannot penetrate shields at all
  • Beam:
    • 10% chance to set a tile on fire
    • Beam length: 20 (0.4 tile diagonally)
    • Beam speed: 3

Anti-Ship Beam Drone II[]

BeamDroneII "Combat drone that repeatedly attacks with a larger beam weapon."
  • Purchase price: 60 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 5) (Advanced Edition Content)
  • Power requirement: 3 power
  • Speed: 11
  • Moves a bit slower than Mark I, but has a longer beam length, so it can often hit 2 rooms. Also does 2 damage to a Zoltan Shield, compared to 1 for Mark I
  • Beam:
    • 10% chance to set a tile on fire
    • Beam length: 40 (0.9 tile diagonally)
    • Beam speed: 8

Anti-Ship Fire Drone[]

FireDrone "Combat drone that repeatedly attacks with a small beam weapon that lights rooms on fire."
  • Purchase price: 50 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 4) (Advanced Edition Content)
  • Power requirement: 3 power
  • Speed: 12
  • A variant of the beam drone that uses a Fire Beam equivalent to ignite random rooms. Does 1 damage to a Zoltan Shield, just like the Anti-Ship Beam Drone I
  • Beam:
    • 90% chance to set a tile on fire
    • Beam length: 10 (0.2 tile diagonally)
    • Beam speed: 2

Crew Drones[]

Tip: Crew Drones require 1 drone to deploy, but will not need to be deployed again until destroyed. They stay on ship and help your crew as long as they are powered.

Crew drones are deployed on your own ship and act like AI controlled crew members. They move slowly, but are unaffected by low oxygen and immune to fire. As with regular crew, they will break down doors that are locked by hacking.

They take half damage from enemy weapons and zoltan explosion, but can be stunned just like regular crew. When idle they return to the drone bay, where they heal, providing the system is powered.

Anti-Personnel Drone[]

AntiPersonelDrone "Will seek out and attempt to destroy any intruders on-board your ship."
  • Purchase price: 35 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 2)
  • Power requirement: 2 power
  • Health: 150 HP
  • Attacks intruders, dealing the same damage as an untrained Human
  • Can attack friendly crew affected by Mind Control. However, if your mind-controlled crew is not in the Drone Control room or if there is no other hostile crew in the room with your MC-ed crewmember, then the drone won't move to attack
  • Usage tips: see tips for System Repair Drone.

System Repair Drone[]

SystemRepairDrone "Will seek out damaged systems and repair them automatically."
  • Purchase price: 30 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 1)
  • Power requirement: 1 power
  • Health: 25 HP
  • Repairs systems and breaches, and puts out fires, at the same speed as an Engi
  • Priorities (in the descending order):
    • Putting out fires (e.g. fire in an empty room has higher priority than breached and damaged Shields). However, if a fire is in a vented room, it will be completely ignored until the fire goes out (doesn't matter if the room has a system and whether it is damaged or not)
    • Repairing a system room which a drone is currently positioned in when the drone is repowered (e.g. if the drone was positioned and depowered in a system room before the system receives damage, upon repowering the drone will repair this system first before it moves to repair another even higher-priority system)
      • A drone can be potentially managed: it can be stopped by depowering it and then repowered to force the drone to repair a system along its initial repair request route (i.e. make the drone repair a system which it didn't have intention to repair first when it started to move)
      • A redeployed drone (i.e. after destruction) will ignore fires (in other rooms) till the Drone Control is fully repaired
    • Fixing Shields system
    • Sealing breaches
    • Repairing systems
  • With the specifics listed above, the drone prioritises repairs in the same way as regular AI-controlled crew
    • If the oxygen drops below 25%, they prioritise fixing the O2 system over anything else
  • If its power is interrupted, it will fully reassess the task priorities
  • Ignores enemy boarders
  • Quickly breaks down doors
  • Once all tasks are complete, the drone returns to the Drone Control room, where it can be repaired if necessary (any amount of power in the Drone Control is enough for the drone healing, no need to power a specific drone or even a whole drone schematic)
  • Can be included with the purchase of a Drone Control system
  • Usage tips: Controlling system repair drones, Parking repair drones.

Hull Repair Drone[]

HullRepairDrone "Automatically repairs 3-5 damage to your hull. Drone part is consumed once it finishes."
  • Purchase price: 85 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 4)
  • Power requirement: 2 power
  • Speed: 20
  • Moves around and outside of your ship, repairing 3-5 hull points and then self-destructs
  • Each deployment requires a drone part
  • Can be shot down by stray fire
  • Drone Recovery Arm augmentation can consistently recover the drone part before the drone self-destructs: it requires making a FTL jump just after 2 repairs
  • Depowering, or otherwise making an active Hull Repair Drone go offline, interrupts the hull repairs and removes it without salvaging the drone part
  • As repair costs at stores gradually increase in each Sector, it can become a more cost-efficient alternative once hull repairing starts to cost 3 scrap or more.

Defensive Drones[]

Tip: Defense Drones require 1 drone part to deploy at every new location. They will defend your ship as long as they are powered.

Defensive drones orbit your own ship and shoot down asteroids, enemy weapons fire, and some drones. Unless destroyed, they can be recovered with the Drone Recovery Arm augment upon jumping.

It is possible for defensive drones to miss their target, letting the occasional shot get through. Like all drones, their targeting is not player-controlled, so their target selection and timing may prove sub-optimal. They also require approximately a second to acquire a target after being deployed or reactivated; powering up as soon as an enemy missile launches is sufficient.

Defense drone targeting glitch imposes additional limitations on these drone schematics (glitch visualisation).

Defense Drone Mark I[]

Defense Drone I "Shoots down incoming missiles, asteroids, and flak debris."
  • Purchase price: 50 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 1)
  • Power requirement: 2 power
  • Speed: 5
  • Cooldown: 1000 ms
  • Shoots down incoming missiles, hacking and boarding drones, individual flak debris, and asteroids with its laser
  • Can be included with the purchase of a Drone Control system
  • Usage tips: Defence drone optimisation (part 1)

Defense Drone Mark II[]

Defense Drone II "It fires faster than Mark I and can also shoot down incoming lasers."
  • Purchase price: 70 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 3)
  • Power requirement: 3 power
  • Speed: 7
  • Cooldown: 880 ms
  • Shoots down incoming missiles, hacking and boarding drones, individual flak debris, asteroids, but also ion blasts and lasers (including those shot by combat drones)
  • Usage tips: Defence drone optimisation (part 1)

Anti-Combat Drone[]

Anti-CombatDrone "Stuns combat drones attacking your ship."
  • Purchase price: 35 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 1) (Advanced Edition Content)
  • Power requirement: 1 power
  • Speed: 5
  • Cooldown: 7000 ms
  • Stuns Combat, Hacking, and Boarding drones with 47.8% chance to destroy them during the 5 seconds stun
  • Starts fully charged when first deployed, but after the first shot it needs continuous power for 7 seconds to charge the next one

Shield Overcharger[]

ShieldDrone "Creates single Supershield barrier periodically."
  • Purchase price: 60 Ftlgame-scrap  (Store rarity: 4) (Advanced Edition Content)
  • Power requirement: 3 power
  • Speed: 5
  • Periodically adds 1 point of Zoltan Shield to regular shields.
  • Each additional layer has longer cool-down time: 8s/10s/13s/16s/20s for 0/1/2/3/4 existing layers. Each timer resets should the drone become unpowered
  • Overcharged shields are lost when making FTL jump
  • Usage tips: part 1, part 2

Shield Overcharger +[]

ShieldDrone "Creates single Supershield barrier periodically. This modified schematic requires 1 less power."
  • Sells for: 30 Ftlgame-scrap (cannot be bought or found) (Advanced Edition Content)
  • Power requirement: 2 power
  • Totally identical to a regular Shield Overcharger Drone, except for the lower power requirement
  • Only available on Stealth C

Drones blue options[]

Anti-Personnel Drone AntiPersonelDrone[]

Anti-Ship Fire Drone FireDrone[]

Beam Drone BeamDroneIBeamDroneII[]

Boarding Drone Boarding Drone[]

Combat Drone CombatDroneICombatDroneII[]

Defense Drone Defense Drone IDefense Drone II[]

Hull Repair Drone HullRepairDrone[]

System Repair Drone SystemRepairDrone[]

Drone Control blue options[]

System Upgrades[]