How to Destroy a Ship’s Engines in Starfield

Anastasios Antoniadis

How to Destroy a Ship's Engines in Starfield

During your space adventures in Starfield, you may be wondering one thing. How the *&*$ can I target a ship‘s engines to disable them? Well, the answer is quite simple, but obscure at the same time. You can’t destroy a ship’s engines without the Target Control Systems. You must have unlocked at least the first rank of the skill in the Tech Skills tree to be able to use the targeting mode once you lock onto a ship.

Why You May Need to Destroy a Ship’s Engines?

First, let’s answer why you must destroy a ship’s engines in Starfield. In the vast, immersive universe of the game, you can even become a pirate and steal or commandeer enemy ships (please note that pirating is different than commandeering, even though pirates may do both things; pirating is an option that allows you to steal a ship’s cargo from the cargo hold without or without engaging in combat depending on your Deception skill rank).

Anyway, let’s get back to ship engines and how to wreak havoc upon them. As I already explained, you must have unlocked the Targeting Control Systems skill.

Step 1: Target the Enemy Ship

Targeting and Locking
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

The elementary step to enter targeting mode is to press E on PC or A on Xbox, and with your crosshair, target the enemy ship until your target switches to it. Note that pressing E or A isn’t necessary; based on what I’ve seen, putting your crosshair on the ship will automatically target it, but pressing the buttons may speed up the process a bit.

Step 2: Locking onto the Targeted Ship

Target Lock - Enable Targeting Mode
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

As you can see in the first image, once you target a ship, your target will start locking on it (as long as you have the Targeting Control Systems). In the second image, you can see what happens when Locking reaches 100%. You can now press R on PC or X on Xbox to enable Targeting Mode.

Step 3: Using Targeting Mode to Target a Ship’s Systems

Using the Targeting Mode
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

Not really pro but tip: Entering Targeting Mode while the enemy ship has still it’s shield on may seem like a waste of time, but it really isn’t. Once you have unlocked Rank 2, 3, 4 you will be able to receive less damage from the enemy ship and score critical hits. In previous guides I have recommended to disable the shield before you enter Targeting Mode. The reality is that as soon as you master space combat you will know when to use Targeting Mode and when not.

Once you enter Targeting Mode, you will see a panel with the enemy ship’s systems; you can use A and D on PC and the left stick on Xbox to target a system. In the above image, you can see that our target is the Shield Generator. Pressing A on PC or left on your controller will switch the target to the Engines.

Target the Ship's Engines
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

Now, you can start shooting at the enemy ship to disable its engines. Another important mention is that the green bar at the panel’s top indicates the remaining time of the Targeting Mode. At Rank 4 it lasts really wrong.

What’s important here is that you still need to target the ship as, for instance, your missiles can very easily miss if you are not careful.

Additionally, the enemy ship will take hull damage once the shield is gone. You must disable the engines without destroying the enemy ship.

Disable the Engines and Missiles Systems
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

The above shows your goal. In this case, I have disabled both the enemy ship’s engines and missile systems. Once the engines are gone, you can dock with the ship and board it.

Best Weapons to Disable the Enemy Ship’s Engines

This section is quite important. When you purchase weapons from a Ship Services Technician, you can see what type of damage they deal. Look for EM Weapons (Suppressors), which deal EM damage instead of Hull damage. As already explained, you don’t want to destroy the hull before you disable the engines.

My recommendation is to build a ship with LAS, BAL, and EM weapons as its W0, W2, and W3 in weapon systems assignments so that you can choose whether to destroy the enemy ship or disable its engines.

Anastasios Antoniadis
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