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Several different types of craft are available to X-COM Commanders, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. There are two basic roles any X-COM craft can fulfill, the ability to intercept enemy UFOs, which requires mounting points for craft weapons. The second potential role is for a troop transport which requires carrying space for soldiers, equipment (especially weapons) and potentially Heavy Weapons Platforms. A couple of the craft with can be researched can fill both roles.

Interception Craft

Interception Craft are used by X-COM to chase after and shoot down UFOs as they travel through Earth's atmosphere performing some mission. They need to be fast enough to catch up to the UFO, have sufficient weaponry to take it down, and enough damage capacity to survive long enough to use that weaponry. Note: All damaged craft are repaired at the rate of 1 HP per hour.

  • Interceptor - The only initial interception craft you can use, it is the best humans have at the time but it is comparatively slow and fragile.
  • Firestorm - The first new hybrid of Human-Alien technology applied to craft design, it is a big step up from the interceptor in all but range.

Troop Transporters

Troop Transporters are used to deliver soldiers to a remote mission location. Ideally they need as high a capacity as possible so that large squads can be sent out where a mission demands it, and sufficient range to get to all potential mission sites. High speed will also help for certain mission profiles, but is of lesser importance for most purposes.

  • Skyranger - A solid piece of equipment that gets the job done for most of the conflict, although it is slow when missions are required at all sorts of places around the world.

Multi-Role Interceptor/Transporters

Later research will allow X-COM to field some multi-role craft that can fill both the interceptor and troop transport roles. These craft might supersede the other more specialist craft for general usage, although some commanders may prefer to use them more rigidly in one role or the other, or create entirely new roles that make use of all aspects of these craft.

  • Lightning - This design suffers a little from being too small to do both jobs well, but it can be useful in certain roles, mopping up smaller UFOs with it single weapon and then immediately being able to recover the resulting crash site if a small squad is enough.
  • Avenger - The ultimate hybrid craft created - although its fuel is limited, its speed means it still retains an impressive range and gets there much faster than the Skyranger leading to faster mission turnarounds. It's only weakness is a very short airtime, like all hybrid craft, making it terrible at detecting alien bases.

See Also

UFO Badge X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense: Craft
Craft: SkyrangerLightningAvengerInterceptorFirestorm
Craft Armaments: StingrayAvalancheCannonFusion Ball LauncherLaser CannonPlasma Beam

UFO InterceptionAircraft Firepower TableCraft Comparison Table
Craft-Based UFO DetectionAircraft Detection and Duty Cycle Table