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Lightning - New Fighter-Transporter

The prototype X-Com fighter/transporter, the Lightning is the second UFO-based craft researched, with the emphasis on troop transport capabilities.

This craft appears in UFO: Enemy Unknown. For the Terror from the Deep equivalent, refer to the Hammerhead.


The Lightning is a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' as it neither excels at being an interceptor nor does it excel at being a troop transporter. Either role may be better filled with other aircraft, such as Firestorms or Skyrangers, but the Lightning is a meld of both.

As an interceptor, it has a short range, low speed and only one hardpoint. But don't be fooled: loaded with a single Plasma Beam can destroy all UFOs -except for the Battleship- without being even damaged. As a transporter, it is unable to carry Heavy Weapons Platforms and has room for a bit smaller squadron of soldiers than the Skyranger. These are the main reasons why a number of X-COM Commanders frown on the usage of the Lightning.

The Lightning shares a design flaw with the Firestorm that forces it to return to base after using half of it's fuel supply, regardless of how close or far it is from the base.


However, unlike the Skyranger or the Avenger, the Lightning does offer 2 completely unique experience when it comes to ground combat because of its peculiar octagonal design.

Firstly, due to an unusual design flaw, troops are able to leave from four other locations apart from the official entrance. These additional exits are found on the corners of the ship. With a combination of well trained soldiers, adequate equipment and strategy, the ability to deploy from almost every direction can prove to be very advantageous in many different situations.

Furthermore, the Lighting incorporates an additional piece of alien technology: AUTOMATIC DOORS. This is in fact a major tactical advantage, especially at the start of combat when aliens have full TU. The automatic door prevents aliens from spotting X-COM agents and summarily throwing grenades/ firing blaster bombs INTO the troop carrier itself, killing the entire squad.

As the Lightning is designed to carry troops, it lacks the acceleration of the Firestorm. This means that even though it can stay in the air longer, it has only a marginally greater range. Its acceleration still outclasses every other earth based aircraft available, making it excellent for rapid short range interceptions and ground assaults. The Lightning also has much heavier armour and hull strength than the Firestorm and is second only to the Avenger in terms of its ability to sustain damage. Although it may not be destroyed completely by a single attack from a Battleship, the odds of a lone Lightning surviving an attack against a Battleship are substantially smaller than that of the Avenger.

The Lightning, for all its advantages and disadvantages, is best used as support for other ships with a more dedicated role rather to be relied on by itself. If you need rapid response times and don't have the Avenger, this craft can shuttle back and forth between all those landed alien craft who are building an Alien base. Grab that Elerium quick.

Battlescape Graphics

Special Requirements

The "Lightning" craft is fueled by Elerium-115. Before manufacturing this craft, ensure that you have sufficient stocks of Elerium in your general stores.

While airborne, the Lightning consumes fuel at the rate of 1 fuel unit (1/5th unit of Elerium-115, 3.33% total fuel) every ten minutes, regardless of the speed of the craft. The Lightning has a maximum (radial) range of only 7,750 nautical miles, while being airborne for 2h, 30m. Its maximum (distance) range is 15,500 nautical miles, for a total fly time of 5 hours. Patrolling has no effect on fuel consumption.

One Lightning requires 6 units of Elerium for refueling. When refueling, the Lightning receives 16.67% more fuel (i.e., 1 Elerium) every half hour, on the half hour. So it can take up to three hours to refuel, and will be finished fueling precisely on the turn of a half hour.

Service is done in this order: Repairs, refueling, rearming. If you transfer a Lightning 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).

Lightnings are repaired at the rate of 3% damage per day.

Vital Statistics

Maximum Speed:3,100
Fuel Capacity:30
Weapon Pods:1
Damage Capacity:800
Cargo Space:12
HWP Capacity:None
Work Space Required:34

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