UFOs (LWR)

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In General

UFOs come in a variety of different sizes and configuration, and knowing what works well against what UFO can make the difference between victory and defeat. Below is a short general description of the types of UFOs that the player can encounter in the Long war. Unlike Vanilla, Long War UFOs get better over time. Just as the player researches and upgrades their interceptors, the Aliens upgrade their UFOs. This means that new tactics need to be employed during later stages of the game, as late game UFOs can vary wildly from Early game UFO of the same type.

It is also important to note that a new UFO Analysis Research will become available after raiding a crashed or landed UFO, matching the type of the UFO. Once this Analysis project is completed, your interceptors will have better chances of quickly taking down UFOs of the same type in future. This is essential if you intend to engage the tougher craft more than once! It will also grant significantly increased resource yields from downed and destroyed UFOs.

Detecting UFOs

Each satellite in a country will detect all UFOs that enter that country.

UFOs above countries without satellite coverage can still be detected by XCOM aircraft positioned in the continent which contains that country. The chance of an aircraft detecting a UFO in a country without a satellite is 7% per aircraft (can be increased to 14% per aircraft with the UFO Tracking foundry project). With a maximum of 6 aircraft per continent this chance maxes out at 42% (or 84% with UFO Tracking).

UFO Equipment

Crashed UFOs will have some their equipment damaged. This is represented by a flat black scar left where the equipment used to be. As well, explosives and other environmental damage can destroy UFO equipment that was not damaged in the crash. Landed UFOs will start the mission with all their UFO equipment intact, but it can still be damaged during the tactical battle.

The chance for each artifact to remain intact is 20-50%:

  • Power Cylinder: 20%
  • Stasis Capsule: 30%
  • Alien Surgery: 30%
  • UFO Computer: 50%
  • Alien Food and Entertainment: 50%
If the UFO is shot down and the final hit was from an EMP Cannon, all chances for artifacts to remain intact are additively increased by 40% (to 60-90%).

Each Power Cylinder on a UFO contains 4-6 UFO Power Sources. So you may acquire up to 6 from a Scout and up to 24 from a Battleship. All other UFO equipment is acquired on a 1:1 basis from what you see on the tactical map. Damaged Power Cylinders will yield 1-2 UFO Power Sources.

Each Power Cylinder yields 100 elerium and each Damaged Power Cylinder yields 20 elerium (both modified by difficulty and campaign length).

UFOPowerSourceCylinder.png

Small UFOs

Scout

UFO-Analysis Scout.png

Firepower: Low (1x Single Plasma)
Durability: Low (500 + 150%/lvl)
Armor: Unarmored
Speed: 45
Equipment: 4-6x UFO Power Sources, 2x UFO Flight Computers
Missions: Scout, Research, Harvest
Alien Count: 6-10, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, a command pod of 2 outsiders (before May) / 3 outsiders (after April)
Troop Level Boost: None

These will likely be the first UFO's that the player will encounter. They will start appearing during the first half of the first month and continue to show up throughout the game. Scouts are unarmored and lightly armed, but fast moving, meaning that the interception window is smaller. Although they give less in terms of alloys and elerium, they offer a great opportunity to train up rookie soldiers and get alien captures. The scouts gain a lot of health each alien level up so they can become quite durable in the later game.

Fighter

UFO-Analysis Fighter.png

Firepower: Low (1x Single Plasma)
Firepower Upgrade (Level 6): Moderate (2x Single Plasma)
Durability: Low (800 + 50%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 3
Speed: 45
Equipment: 4-6x UFO Power Sources, 2x UFO Flight Computers
Missions: Hunt, Bomb
Alien Count: Will never land or be shot down

These UFOs appear during the first month and can be recognized by a purple strobe emanating from their blip. They have much less health but are armored. This makes Stingray Missiles the optimal choice in the early months. A Fighter in high orbit will be targeting your satellites, so aggressively engage it with Stingrays or Phoenix Cannons if you can, to destroy it or at least damage it enough to dissuade it from completing its mission (50% damage will prevent a hunt mission from succeeding).

Fighters never land. They must be destroyed for alien materials to be salvaged by the military forces of the affected country, resulting in an award to XCOM, too.

Like the scouts, fighters gain a lot of health each alien level up so they can become quite durable in the later game.

Medium UFOs

Raider

UFO-Analysis Raider.png

Firepower: Low (1x Single Plasma)
Firepower Upgrade (Level 11): Moderate (2x Single Plasma)
Durability: Moderate (5000 + 30%/lvl)
Armor: Unarmored
Speed: 35
Equipment: 8-12x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers
Missions: Scout, Research, Harvest
Alien Count: 8-13, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +1 command pod of 4-5 outsiders
Attribute Level Boost: +1
Leader Level Boost: +1

These UFOs may start appearing during the latter half of the first month. Tougher than the Scout, the Raider serves a similar purpose. With a larger chassis, several interceptors are required to reliably bring one down, though a Raider is slow enough in the air that it will stick around longer. Both Avalanche and Stingray Missiles work effectively against this UFO, though Stingrays are more variable and deal less damage. Raiders are a good way to gather Alloys and Elerium.

Medium UFOs will have onboard aliens that are 1 level higher than the player normally encounters. As well, alien leaders will be 1 level higher than normal, at least. Expect more difficult aliens on these missions. This is reflected in the UFO description in geoscape saying, e.g., 'Raider - Level 1(2)' if the alien level is 1 and the boost to alien soldiers and leaders brings them to level 2. If the leaders are additionally boosted on top of that, a plus sign appears in the description.

Destroyer

UFO-Analysis Destroyer.png

Firepower: Low (1x Single Plasma)
Firepower Upgrade (Level 5): Moderate (1x Double Plasma)
Durability: Moderate (2000 +30%/lvl)
Durability Upgrade (Level 5): Moderate (3000 +30%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 5
Armor Upgrade (Level 5): Tier 6
Speed: 35
Equipment: 16-24x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers
Missions: Hunt, Bomb
Alien Count: Will never land or be shot down

Well armored and well armed, this aptly named UFO will annihilate unprepared interceptors. Usually appearing during the second month, the Destroyer requires a concerted effort to bring down, and while it's not impossible it is usually not worth the risk early on. As the Destroyer is armored, Stingray Missiles will be more effective than Avalanche Missiles - though higher tier weapons such as the Phoenix Coilgun or EMP Cannon should be used if available. Interceptor Upgrade Projects are useful to ensuring swift and effective takedowns - otherwise a full contingent of unupgraded interceptors may be required, and doing so will most likely mean that there are no interceptors left to defend the continent's airspace for several weeks.

Destroyers never land. They must be destroyed for alien materials to be salvaged by the military forces of the affected country, resulting in an award to XCOM, too.

Overseer

UFO-Analysis Overseer.png

Firepower: High (1x Double Plasma, 1x Single Plasma)
Durability: Moderate (2000 +10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 5
Speed: 45
Equipment: 16-24x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers
Missions: Infiltrate, Retaliate, Command Overwatch
Alien Count: 1 Ethereal, 1 Sectopod + 1 Drone, 4 Muton Elites, 4 Heavy Floaters, 3 Outsiders, Sectoid Commander pod, Cyberdisk pod
Attribute Level Boost: +1
Leader Level Boost: +1

The Overseer is difficult to take down and will likely require multiple interceptors with EMPs or stronger. Firestorms are recommended due to the high damage output.

One thing to keep in mind is that additional Overseers can appear, as opposed to it being a one-time plot event.

Overseers never land and cannot be destroyed in air combat (they will always be shot down instead).

Large UFOs

Abductor

UFO-Analysis Abductor.png

Firepower: Moderate (1x Double Plasma)
Firepower Upgrade (Level 8): High (1x Double Plasma, 1x Single Plasma)
Durability: Moderate (3000 + 10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 7
Speed: 32
Equipment: 8-12x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers, 6x Alien Stasis Tanks, 2x Alien Surgeries
Missions: Research, Abduction
Alien Count: 10-18, including a number of terror pods, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +2 command pods of 4-5 outsiders
Attribute Level Boost: +2
Leader Level Boost: +2

These UFO's will pop up randomly and fly towards a country. They can be difficult to take down due to their short flight path and high armor.

They will not go after satellites or go on bombing runs over cities. Abductors are almost exclusively used for either Abduction or Research missions, so they will almost always either land or spawn an abduction mission, either way allowing you to thwart its mission with a ground assault.

Harvester

UFO-Analysis Harvester.png

Firepower: Moderate (1x Double Plasma)
Durability: High (8000 + 10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 4
Speed: 32
Equipment: 8-12x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers, 6x Alien Stasis Tanks, 3x Alien Surgeries
Missions: Harvest
Alien Count: 10-18, including a number of terror pods, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +2 command pods of 4-5 outsiders
Attribute Level Boost: +2
Leader Level Boost: +2

These UFOs sometimes pass through airspace with a satellite during the early stages of the war. Like Abductors, going against one early is a very unwise decision as it can decimate interceptors rather quickly and be very difficult to take down. You'll want experienced pilots in well-equipped interceptors to have a good chance of taking them down. These UFO's fly around and gather materials, meaning that sometimes there is a chance to assault one while it is landed. During the early months this can be a suicide mission, but if successful, you gain a lot resources, as well as disrupt alien research, slowing down alien level ups.

Transport

UFO-Analysis Transport.png

Firepower: Moderate (1x Double Plasma)
Durability: High (14000 +10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 6
Speed: 32
Equipment: 16-24x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers, 8x Alien Stasis Tanks, 2x Alien Surgeries
Missions: Harvest, Infiltrate
Alien Count: 11-20, including a number of terror pods, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +2 command pods of 5-6 outsiders
Attribute Level Boost: +2
Leader Level Boost: +2

This UFO is a tough ship to take down. It has even heavier armor than the Harvester. You're liable to have one land long before you can shoot one down; in fact you may see landed Transports even in the first month. Assaulting Transports early game is very risky, even more so than assaulting Harvesters, but can give your campaign a flying start, both in captured artifacts and denying the aliens resources for their missions.

Terror Ship

UFO-Analysis TerrorShip.png

Firepower: High (1x Double Plasma)
Firepower Upgrade (Level 8): Very High (1x Double Plasma, 1x Single Plasma)
Durability: High (10000 + 10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 5
Speed: 32
Equipment: 16-24x UFO Power Sources, 4x UFO Flight Computers, 10x Alien Food, 8x Alien Stasis Tanks, 2x Alien Surgeries
Missions: Research, Terrorize
Alien Count: 11-20, including a number of terror pods, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +2 command pods of 5-6 outsiders
Attribute Level Boost: +2
Leader Level Boost: +2

You may encounter these in high-panic continents, but won't be able to take them on until late game. If they don't land, they give advance warning on the location of terror missions, since they do a fly around the target country before the bulk of the alien forces are inserted via an Assault Carrier. Terror Ships that land, on the other hand, are doing Research missions, and can be assaulted for their valuable rewards.

Very Large UFOs

Battleship

UFO-Analysis Battleship.png

Firepower: Extremely High (1x Fusion Lance)
Durability: Very high (20000 +10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 7
Speed: 30
Equipment: 16-24x UFO Power Sources, 6x UFO Flight Computers, 2x Fusion Cores
Missions: Scout, Hunt, Bomb, Infiltrate
Alien Count: 12-22, including a number of terror pods, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +2 command pods of 6-7 outsiders, +1 monster pod
Attribute Level Boost: +3
Leader Level Boost: +3

As the name implies, these massive ships are some of the most dangerous craft an interceptor can go against. They are highly armored and packed to the teeth with weaponry. They sometimes spawn as lead guards for Terror missions, DON'T engage them early game, since they will one-shot interceptors without upgrades.

They can be taken down with several Firestorms with Plasma or EMP Cannons with max Foundry upgrades and modules. Once you've downed one, you can use the Fusion Cores to build Fusion Lances to make it easier to take down more, but realistically you can win the game more easily than you can build an air force that can routinely take down Battleships.

The aliens on these ships are high level and will have some max level leaders you might not have encountered yet.

Assault Carrier

UFO-Analysis AssaultCarrier.png

Firepower: High (1x Double Plasma, 1x Single Plasma)
Firepower Upgrade (Level 11): Very High (2x Double Plasma)
Durability: Very High (20000 + 10%/lvl)
Armor: Tier 8
Speed: 30
Equipment: 16-24x UFO Power Sources, 6x UFO Flight Computers, 2x Fusion Cores
Missions: Terrorize, Retaliate, Research
Alien Count: 12-22, including a number of terror pods, +2/4/6 aliens on Classic/Brutal/Impossible, +2 command pods of 6-7 outsiders, +1 monster pod
Attribute Level Boost: +3
Leader Level Boost: +3

A variant of the Battleship. It has much less firepower but more durability.

Just like the Battleship, the aliens aboard are high level and you should expect to face some max level leaders you might not have encountered yet.

UFO Weapons

Weapon Hit Chance (%) Fire Rate (s) Damage Potential (dmg/s) Average Realized (dmg/s) Penetration
Single Plasma 40 1.0 350 350 140 Tier 2
Double Plasma 40 0.5 400 800 320 Tier 4
Fusion Lance 50 2.0 5000 2500 1250 Tier 6

See Also

Long War Rebalance: Head red 2.png Aliens
Aliens
Alien Life Forms Alien Missions UFOs Alien Artifacts Alien Level Alien Resources Alien Aggression