The battleship is the largest and most powerful alien craft. It is normally the primary alien mission craft, equipped with powerful weapons and numerous crew members.
|Weapon Range(range units)||520|
|UFO Downed points||700|
|UFO Destroyed points||1,400|
Battleships are normally associated with retaliation, base construction and Infiltration missions, however, unlike Terran Battleships the alien battleship can fulfill a very diverse set of mission profiles. Unlike Supply Ships, Terror Ships, Harvesters, or Abductors, a Battleship's presence does not lend itself to one or two specific alien missions. For an X-COM Commander tracking a Battleship using radar, he or she must observe the Battleship's movement patterns in order to guess its mission. The Commander must then take appropriate measures to deal with the battleship. He or she may even choose to ignore the Battleship, as their size and firepower require an extensive commitment of personnel and equipment that may not justify the attack. Though not often, Battleships can occasionally accomplish nothing, with no penalty aside from a slightly raised UFO Activity graph. (See: Alien Retaliation)
Battleships can be involved in the following missions:
The construction of alien bases are marked by heavy UFO activity in rural areas. In addition to the scouts and Supply Ships sent by the aliens to survey the potential base site, a Battleship is sent to inaugurate the base as soon as the construction is completed. To be precise, the moment the battleship appears in orbit means that the base is fully operational. So, if a Very Large UFO appears as part of a large force of Small and Large UFOs, then it is likely to be on an Alien Base mission, and is likely to make a landing. It is possible to capture the Battleship's commander and 4 power plants intact at this time. It is much easier to find the commander on the bridge of a Battleship than deep inside the maze of an Alien Base.
Note that shooting down the Battleship will not prevent base construction, so if you see a Battleship on an Alien Base mission this is a signal to start looking for the base.
Two Battleships are always the primary component in the final phase of an infiltration. The Battleships are part of a large force of five ships sent, much like in Alien Base missions. However, ships involved in an Alien Infiltration mission will instead land in urban locations. Battleships contain the alien "diplomats" who will persuade (with 100% success rate, best door to door salesman ever!) one of Earth's countries to cease funding X-COM, and form a pact with the aliens. The alien "diplomats" leave the ship immediately upon entering the Earth's atmosphere, presumably through teleportation or alien parachutes, however, and continue their goal of signing a pact with one of Earth's countries regardless of what happens to their base ship. This means that a ground assault on the UFO will not prevent the aliens from accomplishing their mission. In addition, this alien diplomat will then convince the nation he has just converted to build an alien base for their new allies, which will be completed in a matter of hours. Shooting down and/or assaulting alien craft during the main infiltration wave will merely delay the second battleship.
In effect, as soon as you see the Battleships appear (with Hyperwave Decoder informing you that it is) performing Alien Infiltration, you have lost 1 funding country, and an alien base has just appeared in or next to that country.
Battleships are most often seen on this type of mission. When two Battleships follow the rapid appearance (in order) of a Large Scout, Terror Ship, and Supply Ship (this group of 5 UFOs is sometimes referred to as the Mass Infiltration Fleet), then it is very likely an Infiltration mission.
Alien Retaliation missions have two main components: Search, and Destroy. The Battleship quite often fulfills the "destroy" component for obvious reasons - it's the troop carrier. The heavy firepower of a Battleship is required to breach any barricaded underground Hangars and Access Lifts, and they contain the troops, weapons, and terror units for the subsequent assault on any X-COM Base itself.
There are two theories on what occurs with the Battleship itself. 1st theory: After unloading its troops, a Battleship on a retaliatory mission will return to space instantly, disappearing from our detection range instantaneously. Perhaps is engages some form of FTL drive. 2nd Theory: Based on how the Battleship comes from space, enters Earth's atmosphere at Very High altitude, very rapidly switches to Very Low altitude, does not decelerate from it's maximum speed at any point, and disappears from radar existance as soon as it makes contact with the Xcom Base... it seems highly possible that the aliens use a kamikaze ramming attack in order to create a direct insertion of troops into the Xcom Base, thus explaining why your forces perform an interior assault defence, instead of exterior. This also explains why your base defences only have time for 1 volley, unless you use the Grav Shield to repel the battleship. In any case, is thus impossible to assault the Battleship after the base has been defended.
Any Battleship that is going to attack your base will head on a direct path for the base at maximum speed. It is thus impossible to shoot down the Battleship except with an Avenger, or with base defenses. If a Very Large craft is detected on a direct course for one of your bases, then start Base Defence preparations immediately.
There are other Battleships that appear on Retaliation missions, however. In the final stages of a Retaliation mission in an area, two Battleships will be deployed to search for your base. These Battleships can find your base (though they will not attack it themselves), but it's less likely - Battleships are much faster than the various scout craft sent earlier, and consequently spend less time searching.
An easy way to tell whether the battleship is a "searcher" or a "destroyer" is it's altitude. It always starts Very High, but if it almost immediately shifts to Very Low, your base has been found and it is going to head straight for your base and land at top speed. If it remains Very High, then it is merely searching.
Battleship movement on an Alien Retaliation mission is characterized by either a fast, direct course for one of your bases, or a repeated "weaving" pattern around where many UFOs have been downed recently. Often, a battleship which has not detected your base will make a fast direct course towards your base, but will then begin it's weaving pattern. They will only land to attack your base. A Battleship searching for your base will soon give up and head for space.
Alien Harvest missions also include a Battleship in their final stages (after the Harvesters). The aliens' motivations for sending a Battleship to do this are unknown, but it performs the same function as a Harvester within these missions (lands several times, counting as a successful Alien Harvest each time).
Despite being the largest class of ships, alien Battleships have four Elerium-115 powered power sources, and as such can travel through Earth's atmosphere at a surprisingly high speed - they have been known to travel at over five thousand knots during atmospheric entry and exit. Because of this, it is very difficult for standard X-COM craft to intercept a Battleship during these phases of its flight. X-COM Commanders must usually wait for the Battleship to slow down as they approach their mission zone in order to intercept it.
When X-COM forces have engaged a Battleship, the commander and pilots must be extra cautious due to the powerful nature of the battleship's weapon. The battleship's weapon has a range of sixty-five kilometres - equal to the Fusion Ball Launcher, which mean it has a firing range greater than every other weapon. Battleships have a damage range of 74-148 damage per hit. The Battleship will just barely fire 3 times before X-COM craft can get within Plasma Beam range to return fire.
To get a rough idea of how long the various aircraft can survive against direct hits from the Battleship weapon, refer to the following table.
|Ship(health)||Hits to destroy|
|Interceptor (100)||1 ~ 2|
|Skyranger (150)||2 ~ 3|
|Firestorm (500)||3 ~ 6|
|Lightning (800)||5 ~ 10|
|Avenger (1200)||8 ~ 16|
From here we can see that the lighter class Terran Interceptors must rely on luck to survive the initial barrage from the UFO before they can get within Plasma Beam range. This means they have the great risk of destruction when sent against a battleship.
Advanced ships are therefore recommended due to their greater hit point allotments, allowing them to withstand more attacks. Multiple aircraft will always improve the odds of survival no matter the aircraft setup.
A Battleship is well armoured (3200 to be destroyed, 1600 to crash it). Native terran technology - Cannon, Stingrays, and Avalanches - have little chance of downing a battleship quickly unless used in high quantity. Anything less than an Avenger with single or twin Plasma Beams is not discouraged as even an Avenger will sustain moderate damage when intercepting a Battleship by itself. Fusion Ball Launchers may be effective, but only when intercepting with multiple craft or used in combination with a Plasma Beam.
If for what ever mad reason you suddenly decide to use cannons against the Battleship, four fully armed cannons are the absolute minimum, with some allowances given for multiple misses. The four cannons spread across two or more Avengers are required for any chance of success.
Geoscape Engagement: Summary
The Battleship is the fastest, strongest and most durable UFO in the alien fleet. Only the best available ships armed with powerful long ranged weapons should be used to engage it in air to air combat.
Even with the best preparations, any ship can sustain heavy damage from a Battleship, resulting in long repair time. Engaging with multiple aircraft improves the efficiency of the interception and reduces overall damage received while allowing you to shoot down the Battleship sooner.
As a counterpoint to attacking a Battleship, because their appearance is often merely an obligatory gesture and is independent on the success rate of an Alien Base or Infiltration mission, there is no immediate benefit to shooting down a battleship to directly influence the effect of the mission. It may therefore be preferable to do an ordinary ground assault on a Battleship that has landed rather than attack it in the air.
Shooting down the Battleship also causes you to lose some of the power units, and consequently the elerium pods that come with them. Few aliens will be lost as between 0 to 1 engineer will be in any one of the Battleship's four struts. It must be noted however that Engineers on Battleships are armed with Blaster Bombs, making each engineer killed rather significant. Furthermore, these struts are considered fairly good UFO entry points, and a blown up power source will usually result in busted walls in the strut.
The primary advantage of shooting down a Battleship is therefore to forcibly ground it for a few hours, allowing you to attack it when you are ready.
Assaulting a landed or downed Battleship with ground forces is a dangerous operation, and the rewards from a successful raid are equally proportionate to the difficulty.
A Battleship has four power sources, and two hundred units of Elerium-115. In addition, these Power Sources are far away from each other, which gives them vastly better survival rates compared to the Power Unit clusters found in Terror Ship. In short, the Battleship has the highest probability of any shot down UFO to have at least 1 surviving Power Source.
Battleships are manned by a large crew comprising of every possible rank and alien combination in addition to their terror unit counterpart(s). From soldiers to the commanders X-COM needs to capture to end the war. Because the crew size is large, one can often find large amounts of alien weapons and ammo. The Battleship is the *ONLY* UFO where it is possible to find and recover the Blaster Launcher and Blaster Launcher Bombs.
The Battleship carries a large crew complement. These are often equipped with Heavy Plasmas and Alien Grenades, which pose a large threat. In addition to the regular alien species, their associated Terror Units accompany them on Battleships. Last but not least, high ranking officers on a Battleship are armed with the dreaded Blaster Launcher. Squad leaders must be careful in their deployment of personnel on the battlefield.
Heavy Weapons Platforms can enter the central lift and navigate much of the second floor, however the lift on the third floor is closed off via small doorways. HWPs are very useful for opening the main doors on the bottom level and allowing soldiers to fire at any aliens inside, or to send a blaster bomb up into the interior of the UFO.
Forced entry using a Blaster Bomb is often used, as it also reduces the risk of succumbing to an alien ambush on the second or third floors. The four corner legs can be one entry point, although elerium may be damaged from such an entry. If Flying Suits are available, then an entry from the top level is also an effective tactic that also minimizes the risk of damaging elerium. Entering via the top floor also gives a good chance of surprising and capturing alien officers. A pincer movement, with two or more fire teams working from multiple entry points, is a very effective tactic while storming a Battleship.
The Battleship consists of three layers. The ground level, mid section and the top level.
See Terrain Maps and Floorpans for visuals of the various layers.
Level 0: Ground Level
The ground level has four "legs" one on each corner and a central leg that acts as the primary carriage way for the ship. lift shaft. The corner legs cannot be entered from the outside, as they house the power sources. The center leg or lift has two doors that give access to a wide lift.
Due to the compass orientation that the battleship always lands, the doors always open towards the south and west, the other directions are effectively blind. The doors are large enough to allow passage of large terror units and Heavy Weapons Platforms into the UFO. This pair of doors is the only formal access point in or out of the Battleship, therefore a siege is very effective here.
Be warned that any groups of soldiers sieging the the Battleship will be vulnerable to hostile blaster bombs, so use the tactic with discretion and consider your troop spacing with care. Alien Engineers have been known to patrol the fields with their trusty blaster launchers, and most aliens will carry alien grenades.
Level 1: Middle Level
The second level has four major hallways (or two, if you look at it that way). Each leads to a small lift that accesses the four outer pods holding the Power Sources. There are three main rooms, two of which seem to be used for storage. One is filled with the red spheres and cylinders on blue support legs that we have not yet identified. The fourth room, constructed heavily out of alien entertainment walls, is best thought of as the recreation deck.
Note that there is a small access grav-lift in the north-western portion of this floor, which can allow you to enter the upper level indirectly.
Level 2: Top Level
Unlike the level below it, the lift on this level is surrounded by strong walls. This level of the UFO has lots of smaller rooms and tight corridors, making it very dangerous. There are two major rooms which appear to be the navigation room, and bridge. Both rooms have the distinctive blue chairs, yet only one has any navigation modules. The two rooms are on opposite ends of the ship. The third level is also where X-COM forces are most likely to find any Alien Navigators or Alien Leaders, or possibly even the commander on non-Muton Battleships.
Level 3: Roof
The roof is a flat surface and nothing much else. It is of no threat to anyone. Suitable entrances into the level underneath it can be made with the aid of Blaster Bombs.
As with any UFO, soldiers wearing flying suits can also land on the roof and provide support for troops that are storming the UFO from the ground entrance by operating a motion scanner.
|UFO Power Source||$250,000||4||$1,000,000|
Also see UFO Recovery Values.
* Needs testing to determine actual number.