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XCOM: Enemy Unknown research and engineering guide

Interceptors

Interceptors exist to protect your satellites by engaging UFOs in direct combat. As the game progresses, it is crucial to upgrade your Interceptors to match the increased firepower of UFOs. You’ll want to research the “New Fighter Craft” as soon as possible and upgrade to Plasma Cannons. 

Defense Matrix (dodge), UFO Tracking (boost), an Uplink Targeting (aim) are all available to purchase in Engineering. These are expendable items used to aid an interceptor in battle. They can turn the tide if your ship is outclassed by the UFO with which it is engaged.

Once you have well-equipped Firestorm interceptors, you have a good chance of defeating a Battleship class UFO. Doing so is crucial, as the power core recovered from the wreckage is used to create some of the most powerful weapons in the game, including the best interceptor weapon, the Fusion Lance.

Avalanche Missiles (free) and Phoenix Cannons (for a small price) are available at the beginning of the game.

Key:HC = Hit Chance
R = Range
FR = Fire Rate
D = Damage
AP = Armor Penetration 

Research: Heavy Lasers

Requirements: Beam Weapons, 5 Weapon Fragments, 5 Alien Alloys
Unlocks: Laser Cannon (HC:85%,R:Short,FR:Rapid,D:Low,AP:Medium)

Research: Phoenix Cannon

Requirements: Experimental Warfare research
Unlocks: Phoenix Cannon (HC:95%,R:Short,FR:Rapid,D:Low,AP:Low)

Research: Plasma Cannon

Requirements: Light Plasma Rifle, 30 fragments, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Plasma Cannon (HC:85%,R:Long,FR:Medium,D:Medium,AP:High)

Research: New Fighter Craft

Requirements: Salvaged Alien Nav Computer, UFO Power Source, 75 fragments, 10 alloys, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Firestorm Interceptor and Hover S.H.I.V.

Research: EMP Cannon

Requirements: New Fighter Craft, Plasma Cannon, 20 Elerium
Unlocks: EMP Cannon (HC:100%,R:Short,FR:Medium,D:High,AP:High)

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