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Gadgets are highly distinctive between the different classes. Some serve a supportive role as appropriate for the kit, while others are tertiary weapons such as explosives or underslung weapons. Players can identify teammates that are carrying supportive gadgets by using Commo Rose commands or Spotting—the player's kit or gadget icon will be shown on the minimap.
Players can also carry a single squad leader gadget, but can only use it if they are the squad leader and meet the required squad size for the gadget. (By picking up dropped kits, a squad leader can potentially use multiple gadgets.)
The Assault can equip both underslung gadgets, the PK-74 AR-Rocket and the Herzog AR-Shotgun. The two gadgets are fired from the same underslung weapon and share the same "universal" ammunition. The Advanced Magazine unlock adds an additional magazine and an additional round per magazine, effectively increasing the amount of universal ammo from 12 (4×3) to 20 (5×4).
The Northern Strike expansion pack adds six gadgets among its ten unlocks. Ten special badges are also added, each awarding an unlock point (which can also be spent on the base unlocks).
In Battlefield 3, all gadgets are assigned to a specific slot (Gadget 1, Gadget 2). Certain gadgets can use different kinds of ammunition, and appear as separate gadgets. The slot behavior prevents the use of different ammunition with these gadgets.
The Engineer kit gains access to a wide variety of launchers, including the new MBT LAW as the default launcher and FGM-172 SRAW, also many returning models with redesigned properties. The launchers are no longer faction-specific. Engineer also gain the M2 SLAM as a mine option.
Remote-controlled drones can now be accessed by pressing Aim, allowing players near an Ammo Box or Supply Crate to use an existing drone. Players can also return to a previously deployed drone from a prior life if the drone is still active.
Until the 2013-12-16 patch, drones were able to assist in flag capture in Conquest and Domination gamemodes.