[Top 5] Elite Dangerous Best Combat Ships (2020 Edition)

Best Elite Dangerous Combat Ships
Bounty Hunters Blasting Pirate Scum out of an Asteroid Belt

Curious what the best combat ships in the Elite Dangerous universe are?

Lasers flashing past your cockpit, cannons hammering your hull, and of course your enemies exploding all around you.  There’s no bigger rush in Elite Dangerous than combat. Dog fighting is a high risk career, but if done correctly it can also have huge payouts.  With countless ships, modules, hardpoints, and engineering upgrades, customization is as limitless as the Elite universe. All these choices can be a bit overwhelming when you’re first starting out, but we’ve got you covered.  Whether you’re interested in PvP, PvE, or blowing some Thargoids out of the sky, this guide will help you get started by picking the best ship for the job.

1. Viper MkIII

A lone viper on the prowl looking for its next victim

The Viper MkIII is the third and newest iteration of the extremely popular Viper line.  It’s anagile, dogfighter used frequently by security forces, mercenaries, and bounty hunters alike.  

What’s Awesome about the Viper MkIII

  • While you’re learning the basics of combat your ship will probably get destroyed...a lot.  Due to its rock-bottom price, the Viper MkIII is the perfect ship to hone your piloting skills without worrying about huge insurance costs.  It’s also one of the only small ships that performs well right out of the box without a lot of modifications. This allows you to develop your own style and preferences before dropping millions of credits on a loadout that you’ll soon never want to use again.
  • The Viper MkIII has a good balance of firepower, maneuverability, and tankiness which makes it popular not just with newbies, but also with veterans.  This ship’s great specs make it great for PvE, but if flown correctly it can hold its own in PvP as well.

Viper MkIII Details

  • Cost: 142,931 CR
  • Insurance: 7,146 CR
  • Base Top Speed: 316 m/s
  • Base Boost Speed: 395 m/s
  • Armor: 126
  • Armor Hardness: 35
  • Shields: 137
  • Hardpoints

               -2x Small

               -2x Medium

               -2x Utility

  • Optional Internal Compartments

               -3x Class 1

               -1x Class 2

               -2x Class 3

               -1x Class 3 Military

How to Get the Viper MkIII

This ship is incredibly cheap and requires no rank grinding.  Head over to your nearest station equipped with a shipyard and pick one up today!

2. Federal Assault Ship (FAS)

A Federal Assault Ship waiting for its next victim

The FAS is a combat oriented variant of the Federal Dropship.  It’s a top tier PvP meta ship that will serve you well in any of your combat needs.

What’s Awesome about the Federal Assault Ship (FAS) 

  • This ship can turn on a dime and is a ton of fun to fly.  Enemies will be hard pressed to keep you in their crosshairs as you draw circles around them.  It’s so maneuverable you can almost avoid damage completely when fighting 1v1. If anyone is actually brave enough to interdict you, they’ll soon be wishing they hadn’t.  The FAS can take down anything from the smallest eagle to the largest corvette with ease.  
  • It’s an endgame PvP ship that’s perfect to spend the time and credits min-maxing.  The FAS has slightly less firepower and bulk than the FDL, but it makes up for it in its maneuverability.  Both are fantastic ships, and deciding between them will come down to your personal preferences. 

Federal Assault Ship (FAS) Details

  • Cost: 19,814,210 CR
  • Insurance: 990,710 CR
  • Base Top Speed: 215 m/s
  • Base Boost Speed: 358 m/s
  • Armor: 540
  • Armor Hardness: 60
  • Shields: 133 
  • Hardpoints

               -2x Medium

               -2x Large

               -4x Utility

  • Optional Internal Compartments

               -1x Class 1

               -2x Class 2

               -1x Class 3

               -1x Class 4

               -2x Class 5

               -2x Class 4 Military

How to Get the Federal Assault Ship (FAS)

As its name suggests, this is a Federation ship.  Unfortunately that means you’re going to have to do a little ranking before you can purchase it.  Find a good system to make your home for a while and grind missions until you reach the rank of Chief Petty Officer.  By the time you make the rank you should have easily enough credits to purchase the ship and begin outfitting it.

3. Fer-de-Lance (FDL)

Dodging asteroids and chasing down pirates in a Fer-de-Lance

The FDL is truly one of the deadliest ships in the galaxy.  This top tier combat ship is one of the most popular PvP meta ships there is.

What’s Awesome about the Fer-de-Lance (FDL)

  • This ship’s raw fire power will blast anyone out of the sky that gets in your way.  The FDL will melt shields and crack hulls like they were made of paper. Additionally, the shields on the FDL are strong enough to withstand any damage that might come your way when fighting wings or faster ships.   Anyone you encounter will have to think twice before messing with you. There isn’t a ship in the galaxy that the FDL can’t defeat.  
  • If you’re looking for an endgame PvP ship to pour credits and hours into, this is a solid option to min-max.  The FDL is slightly less maneuverable than the FAS but it also has significantly more firepower and bulk. Both are amazing ships and deciding between the two comes down to pilot preference.

Fer-de-Lance (FDL) Details

  • Cost: 51,567,040 CR
  • Insurance: 2,578,352 CR
  • Base Top Speed: 265 m/s
  • Base Boost Speed: 357 m/s
  • Armor: 405
  • Armor Hardness: 70
  • Shields: 271
  • Hardpoints

               -4x Medium

               -1x Huge

               -6x Utility

  • Optional Internal Compartments

               -2x Class 1

               -1x Class 2

               -2x Class 4

               -1x Class 5

How to Get the Fer-de-Lance (FDL)

The FDL isn’t locked behind rank requirements, so you’ll be able to pick one up at any time.  They do have a pretty high price tag though, so you may want to head over to Ray’s Gateway to pick one up with a good discount.

4. Anaconda

An anaconda gazing at the relics of a fallen alien

No list would be complete without this jack of all trades.  If you’re looking for the glory of saving civilization from alien invasion, then this is the endgame ship for you.  

What’s Awesome about the Anaconda

  • The Anaconda has the most armor in the game.  Thargoids are fast and deal enormous damage that you won’t always be able to evade.  You’ll be grateful to have the hull tank to withstand multiple hits.
  • The Anaconda and the Type-10 are the only ships that can equip four large AX or Guardian weapons.  This is important because there currently are no huge AX weapons available. The Anaconda wins out over the Type-10 because it has much better convergence.  This will make hittingThargoid hearts like shooting fish in a barrel. When you take this ship out into the fray, even the most daunting Thargoid ships will soon be dropping like flies.

Anaconda Details

  • Cost: 146,969,450 CR
  • Insurance: 7,348,472 CR
  • Base Top Speed: 183 m/s
  • Base Boost Speed: 244 m/s
  • Armor: 945
  • Armor Hardness: 65
  • Shields: 362
  • Hardpoints

               -2x Small

               -2x Medium

               -3x Large

               -1x Huge

               -8x Utility

  • Optional Internal Compartments

               -1x Class 1

               -1x Class 2

               -3x Class 4

               -3x Class 5

               -3x Class 6

               -1x Class 7

               -1x Class 5 Military

How to Get the Anaconda

The Anaconda is incredibly expensive, but it isn’t locked behind a rank requirement. When the time comes for you to pull the trigger, head over to Ray Gateway for a 15% discount which will save you millions of credits.

5. Federal Corvette

Cruising down to a RES site to take out some baddies in a Federal Corvette

The Federal Corvette is a massive battleship used by the Federal Navy.  Its incredible firepower and ability to withstand immense damage make it the ultimate PvE endgame ship.  

What’s Awesome about the Federal Corvette

  • The Corvette is incredibly maneuverable for its size and doesn’t suffer from the sluggish feeling of flying the other large ships.  It’s still not quite enough to make it viable for PvP, but it does make it a pleasure to fly while you are wiping the floor with NPCs in RES sites and Conflict Zones.
  • You can pack two fighters into the belly of this ship.  Though you can’t launch them both at the same time, it does allow you to switch between them freely depending on what type of ship you’re fighting.
  • If you’re looking for raw destructive power, then look no further.  The corvette is the only ship with two huge hardpoints. Take this massive battleship out for a spin, and you’ll feel like a god floating through the cosmos and raining fire down from above.  Those poor NPCs won’t know what hit them!

Federal Corvette Details

  • Cost: 187,969450 CR
  • Insurance: 9,398,472 CR
  • Base Top Speed: 198 m/s
  • Base Boost Speed: 257 m/s
  • Armor: 666
  • Armor Hardness: 70
  • Shields: 519
  • Hardpoints

               -2x Small

               -2x Medium

               -1x Large

               -2x Huge

               -8x Utility

  • Optional Internal Compartments

               -1x Class 1

               -1x Class 3

               -2x Class 4

               -2x Class 5

               -2x Class 6

               -2x Class 7

               -2x Class 5 Military

How to Get the Federal Corvette

As indicated in its name, the Corvette is a Federation ship.  This grind isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll have to achieve the rank of Rear Admiral to unlock the Federal Corvette.  It’s also incredibly expensive, so taking advantage of the discount at Ray’s Gateway will save you millions.

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