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The Recon Patrol Vehicle, commonly abbreviated "RPV," is a relatively rare enemy in Duke Nukem 3D. It is first encountered on Red Light District, the second level of the game.


The Recon Patrol Vehicle is a quick and agile reconnaissance flying vehicle, formerly owned by the LAPD but now in the hands of the Pig Cops. Armed with twin laser blasters and minimal armor, the RPV cannot take much damage, but its maneuverability easily makes up for it. It can effortlessly dodge projectile weapons (such as rockets), making it very difficult to hit with anything powerful enough to do it serious damage.

Its main use is for patrolling and scouting outdoor areas. It has a set flight plan, and will protect the area in which it flies by firing upon intruders with its twin laser blasters. It is often to be found flying around city streets a few meters above them, although it may be assigned to other locations as well. It flies high in the air to allow the sturdy underside of the vehicle to take shots from below, thereby protecting the exposed pilot.

The Pig Cop is not harmed when the RPV is destroyed. Instead, he survives and starts attacking. This is due to the RPV being equipped with a jettison device, which automatically ejects the pilot (a Pig Cop) when it is destroyed and spiraling to the ground. This makes it two enemies in one, and all the more dangerous for it.


The Recon Patrol Vehicle is a sleek and angular flying vehicle, large enough for one occupant (the pilot). It is grey, with a rounded nose. It has a chain gun on either side of its nose, which fire lasers. The underside of the nose has a shark's mouth and eyes painted on it in red. Towards the back, it has two small tail fins on the top, and two larger wings on the sides, at the ends of which appears to be rockets or ballast tanks. On the underside of the vehicle the acronym "L.A.R.D." is written in yellow. At the back are maneuvering thrusters.

The pilot is a Pig Cop, who sits in an open cockpit in the middle of the vehicle. His head and bulky arms jut outside the cockpit. He also has his Shotgun with him.

Combat analysis[]

Weapon effectivenesses
Mighty Foot
13 kicks
22 shots
2 shots
Chaingun Cannon
15 shots
1 rocket
Pipe Bomb
1 bomb
Not effective
9 shots
4 rockets
Laser Tripbomb
1 mine
4-5 shots
4 shots
  • The values given for the Shotgun and the explosive weapons are minimum values only.

The Recon Patrol Vehicle is armed with two laser blasters, which fire as quickly as those of other laser blaster-wielding enemies.

It is very maneuverable, and can easily evade incoming projectile weapons such as rockets. This means that projectile weapons are not recommended for use against this enemy. However, if the player is lucky enough, a single RPG rocket will take it out. When the RPV attacks, it will hover stationary in the air while firing.

Being mechanical in nature, the RPV cannot be shrunk by the Shrinker.

When the RPV takes lethal damage, it is not destroyed immediately. Instead, it spirals towards the ground spewing clouds of smoke. Just before crashing and exploding, it will automatically eject its pilot (a regular Pig Cop) safely. This happens regardless of how it takes lethal damage, and it cannot be damaged or destroyed as it falls to the ground.


Hit points 130
Speed 0-287
Pain chance N/A
Clipdist 32
Scale Undefined
Sprites & sounds
Actor tile number 1960/RECON
1890/EXPLOSION2 (fire)
Alert sound pigrg.voc
Flying sound jetpaki.voc
Pain sound pigpn.voc
Death sound bombexpl.voc
Laser Attack
Type Projectile
Rate ?? shots/second
Speed 840
Damage 7~
Actor tile number 1625/FIRELASER
Sound gblasr01.voc

The Recon Patrol Vehicle in other games[]


  • There is no scale definition for the Recon Patrol Vehicle, similar to the Protozoid Slimer Egg, as such it can be in any size. Theoretically the correct scale should be 40 x 40, as it would then match the correct size of the Pig Cop.
    • The Red Light District and Hotel Hell levels use slightly oversized values (48 x 40), while Bank Roll has a considerably larger version (56 x 48) which makes the difference easily noticeable. The Zoo level and all the levels in the The Birth episode uses the correct version, however.
  • The Recon Patrol Vehicle is the only enemy that requires extra features in the map to be placed. It requires a series of waypoints to be placed that dictate its movement route. Due to the limitation of the path system, a map cannot have both a Recon Patrol Vehicle and a two-way train (like the one in Dark Side) in it.
  • The RESPAWN flag doesn't work for the RPV. Because of this, an RPV in Red Light District that was originally intended to spawn once Duke enters the area with the Blue Access Card doesn't. Due to this, the player cannot reach the maximum score at the end of the level, and there will always be an missing enemy.
  • The Recon Patrol Vehicle cannot be shrunken by the Shrinker.
  • While the RPV always flies in a higher position, it behaves as though it has infinite height. That is, an enemy standing in its flight path but at a different height to it can stop it from moving.
    • This is a sure-fire way to get it to stop moving. However, it will begin attacking the enemy instead.
  • When attacking, the RPV will not evade incoming projectiles, which makes it a good time to use an RPG against it.
  • The RPV will eject its pilot just before it hits the ground, regardless of its height above the ground when it was destroyed. If it was flying high in the air when destroyed, it won't eject its pilot until the very end of its lengthy plummet.
  • The Pig Cop driver of the RPV will always survive the crash and will be attacking at full health.
  • The RPV has distinct facial expressions for the Pig Cops.
  • The Pig Cop is hiding his Shotgun in the RPV. He always has it, but it cannot be seen.
  • The RPV seems to constantly become brighter as development continues. An early version of the RPV shows it a very dark grey, the Duke Nukem 3D version has it as grey, and the Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown port has it as nearly silver.
  • The RPV was designed to have an Enforcer or even Duke Nukem himself as its pilot.
  • The RPV's paint job resembles a shark's face.

See also[]

Duke Nukem 3D
Episodes L.A. MeltdownLunar ApocalypseShrapnel CityThe BirthAlien World Order
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