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How to target engines and disable ships in Starfield

With a specific skill, you can target exact parts of ships in space duels

A very ugly Starfield ship begins a grav jump Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

In Starfield, you can target engines specifically to take down ships without making them explode, making them ripe for boarding and looting.

Our guide explains how to unlock the ability to target specific parts of ships in Starfield.

How to target engines in Starfield

To do this, you’ll need a specific skill in the Tech skill tree: Targeting Control Systems. This “unlocks ship targeting functionality” and upgrades in the tree will allow you to lock on to ships faster.

Once you have this unlocked, you can use it on ships by aiming your reticle on them and starting the lock on process by pressing E (PC) or A (Xbox). After the target locks, press R (PC) or X (Xbox). This will zoom in on the ship and time will slow down. You can then select the target ship’s engine by using the arrow keys (PC) or the left stick (Xbox). After selecting it, you can fire off your ballistics or lasers as usual and it’ll aim specifically at the engines.

A player locks on to a ship’s engines specifically in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Once the engine indicators turn red, you’ll be able to approach the ship easily, since it won’t be able to move Be careful, as if you continue to shoot the ship until its health bars are completely depleted, it still will explode.

How to loot exploded ships

If you did accidentally overshoot one of the ships and make it explode, you can still loot it, though you won’t get nearly as much good stuff from it. In the wreckage of the ship, you’ll see a floating box containing some of the ship’s remains. Carefully approach the box and target it to pick up the goods from it.

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