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Atreides and Ordos can both build the Ornithopter starting from mission 7 onwards. The unit requires that I build a HI-Tech factory and upgrade it, after which the flyer can be bought for the same price as a Heavy Factory Siege tank. But does this pricey but fragile attack flyer have any practical use whatsoever? Whenever the enemy attacks with these units, they will be fairly hard to shoot down unless I have built at least a couple of rocket turrets, and they are a proper threat against my tanks out in the open. My own ornithopters, even if I already have destroyed the enemy construction yard and taken out their turrets, will take forever to actually destroy anything seeing as the enemy simply repairs faster than the ornithopters can damage them. Add in the non-controllability into this mix and I usually give the ornithopter a pass in favour of standard tanks.

How do I efficiently use this unit? Is there at all an efficient use of them?

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also fwiw i've found regular turrets are much better at shooting down enemy ornithopters than rocket turrets, so I always try to mix in a few of those in my base defense –  z - Apr 11 '13 at 16:48
    
I didn't know that, since I usually give the regular turrets a pass after getting the rocket turrets. Have to try it out. –  Steinin Apr 12 '13 at 12:31
    
yup, they also use up less power, which is another bonus. –  z - Apr 12 '13 at 12:32
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The best use I've found for this unit is simply to let them die by exposing them to enemy turret fire. As they are shot at, the enemy turrets will become exposed. You noticed that they are very fragile and will die to a single hit, and since the enemy bases usually start out with tons of turrets they will quickly die, but due to their speed its a great way of scouting.

The only other effective way of using them I've found is to have multiple high tech bays complete multiple ornithopters simultaneously, this way they can have a shot at at least destroying one of their high value targets (typically the enemy's repair bay), and also expose a good portion of their base.

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I never ever buy those. Also while replaying this awesome game a few months ago, I realised that you almost never have to produce units yourself from the moment you get a starport. Just hammer the starport for price changes and buy throngs of cheap tanks and missile launchers.

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you do have to produce your race's special units though. Typically I max out the unit limit with my race's special unit then start mass purchasing from the starport. –  z - Apr 11 '13 at 16:36
    
You're a bit off-question but Starports are indeed awesome. –  Steinin Apr 12 '13 at 12:30
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In the final level of, IIRC, the Atreides mission, the enemies Ornithopter attacks are devastating.

Building up such numbers of Ornithopter however, is futile to complete the mission. Rocket turrets are the way to go. Standby rocket launches only server to blow up your own structures.

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