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Here are things to consider:

There were 36 "City Destroyers" and each of these have smaller interceptors, the thing our heroes fly into the Mother Ship to upload the virus and set off the Big Boy, that fly out of them in much larger numbers - and we know at least one alien is piloting each of those as well.

The movie shows us that crashed scouts and interceptors can have surviving aliens or human heroes on board.

After the Aliens shields are shut down by the virus, the movie (probably for brevity and dramatic effect) don't show that all 36 City Destroyers are in turn destroyed.

In your estimation of the material you are familiar with (I have only seen the movie), do the locust aliens survive at all? If they do survive, do they manage to continue to be a threat to stripping earth of its resources and killing off human-kind?

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3 Answers 3

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It is unlikely the aliens were able to survive well enough to put up effective resistance. With their primary defense posture (their force fields) eliminated their air superiority advantage in combat was lost.

  • Adding the now released vulnerability of their energy beam system mounted below their ships, this meant most of them were probably destroyed within a few hours.

  • Should an alien ship have managed to escape the assault on their beam weapon, (which is conceivable) they would have had to have dealt with a combined and unified Earth who would move their resources to wherever the remaining aliens managed to hold out.

  • It was implied the bulk of the alien forces were, however, still on the main ship and waiting to be carried to Earth. This means each of the City Destroyers, probably didn't have enough troops or equipment to fight against the entire (however meager it might have been) remaining Earth fleet effectively.

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    Per my answer to this question it's reasonably clear that the ships were remotely powered. Even if they managed to avoid being shot down, they'd rapidly run out of power.
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:27
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Based on this question, we learn in the the official novelisation that the ships were remotely powered via wireless power transfer. As soon as the Mothership was destroyed in space, each of the city-destroyers and their complement of "stingray" fighters were disabled and forced to land.

In the sidequel/sequel novel Independence Day : War in the Desert we see groups of armed fighters (as well as ordinary civilians) moving to dispatch the aliens as they emerged from their ships as well as learning of a dastardly plot to use a chemical weapon to destroy the Earth's population:

And their troubles were only beginning. Seconds after the shooting began, the alien ground army started pouring out of the destroyer. Hundreds of aliens, clad in their eight-foot-tall exoskeleton suits of armor, raced down the ramp of debris, firing as they came. Marching out behind them were scores of strange-looking chariots. These vehicles looked like oversize dark brown toboggans that had sprouted short sticklike legs. Each chariot carried a pair of aliens sitting side by side. The chariots looked too flimsy to handle the weight of their bulky passengers, but they raced down the sloping ramp with ease and, when they reached the desert floor, fanned out in several directions to surround the humans.

Spoiler alert for the ending:

We win!

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The Americans managed to destroy one City Destroyer and only just. Presumably all the others were still alive and destroying away at that time.

That's how I orginally understood the ending.

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    Wait, what? They destroyed one on-screen, but they quickly say that they're sending the information out to armies all over the world, and we see dozens burning and exploding City Destroyers during the finale.
    – Nerrolken
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:21
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    Aside from what @Nerrolken mentions, it is known that all ships are powered remotely from the mothership, so even if they did not get blown up, they will run out of power quickly and be destroyed later. (Richard provided this information in another question) Feb 10, 2015 at 19:45

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