The Interceptor is the best combat aircraft that Earth technology can offer. Powered by dual pulse detonation engines, and with specially shielded electronic systems, the Interceptor is one of X-COM's most valuable assets in the fight against the alien threat.
How to use it
Interceptors are comparatively slow: Typically, when attacking an UFO, you will get off only a few rounds before the Aliens accelerate, outrunning the Interceptor. Against small UFOs, a few rounds will suffice; against larger ones, you can still expect to be able and repeat the catch up - engage - outrun cycle a few times until the crafts is downed. But considering the light armor of the Interceptor, anything but small vessels should be approached with great care.
However, most commanders don't want to shoot down alien craft anyway, but rather hope that they will land on their own (in order to recover and loot an intact UFO). Here's the great strength of the Interceptor: an UFO may only zoom past one of your bases, enroute to some other destination area where you have no radar coverage (yet). The Interceptor has tremeduous range so it can follow the enemy around half the globe, and it's still fast enough to usually not lose track of the UFO until it reaches it's theater of operations (where it will slow down anyway). The Interceptor can thus relay precious target information to the Skyranger. At that job, it's better than any other craft, better even than most improved models the scientists will later develop based on alien technology.
Of course, that craft may be have already fulfilled its mission and be exiting the planet, in which case you get nothing. Furthermore, craft that are shot down lose some of the enemies that you would otherwise face in the land battle.
The chief advantage of the Interceptor is that it doesn't use any Elerium, so you can use it for round-the-clock patrols across the planet to fill the gaps in your radar range and/or where there is strong alien activity. The Interceptor will remain useful in this role to the end of the game.
While airborne, the Interceptor consumes fuel at the rate of 21 units (2.1%) every ten minutes, at top speed. This gives the Interceptor a maximum (radial) range of 8,050 nautical miles, while being airborne for 3h, 50m. Its maximum (distance) range would be 16,450 nautical miles, for a total fly time of 7h, 50m. While patrolling in an area, fuel consumption is cut to 10 units every 10 minutes, allowing for a maximum stationary patrol time of 16h, 40m.
After a flight, the Hangar facility will refuel your Interceptor at a rate of 5% every half hour, on the half hour. Thus, it can take 10 hours to refuel a craft from empty. Note that even if your Interceptor has not fired (full ammo), it will still wait until the next hour (straight up) going through that last REARM phase after refueling.
Interceptors are repaired at the rate of 1% damage per hour, straight-up. Service is done in this order: Repairs, refueling, rearming. If you transfer an Interceptor between bases, it will still need refueling and rearming when it arrives even though 12+ hours have passed (if it needed them before it left).
Note that the $600k cost for each Interceptor is both an order price and a monthly fee, so keeping a lot of these active will cut into your finances. It is usually best not to order a new Interceptor towards the end of a month, as you will pay two lease payments in quick succession. Fortunately the agency leasing them too you isnt too stingy to ask you to pay the monthly rent on an aircraft the haven't delivered yet, so you can order them up to 71 hours before the end of a given month without paying out the extra. Unlike transferring employees however, you still pay the rental for Interceptors that are transferring between bases at the end of the month.
Unlike renting a BMW, feel free to smash up that plane, since losing an interceptor will not land you any additional fees. Apparently that 600k includes a full insurance policy. Other than point loss in Xcom performance, there is effectively no difference between selling an interceptor and getting it blown up.
|X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense: Craft|
|Craft:||Skyranger • Lightning • Avenger • Interceptor • Firestorm|
|Craft Armaments:||Stingray • Avalanche • Cannon • Fusion Ball Launcher • Laser Cannon • Plasma Beam|