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How to target engines in Starfield

How to disable ships instead of destroying them.

cutscene of ship grav jumping
Image credit: Eurogamer/Starfield

You need to target engines in Starfield so you can disable ships without destroying them.

This means you can hail them or board their ship after winning a battle in space. You'll almost always need a specific Skill in Starfield to target engines, but there is an exception during The Old Neighborhood main mission that we've explained below, along with how to target engines in Starfield the rest of the time.

If you need more help with Starfield's systems, we've got pages on how to access ship storage, where to sell Contraband, and a Persuasion explainer.

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If you'd like more help in your galactic adventures, visit our Starfield guides, tips and tricks page.

How to target engines in Starfield

To target engines in Starfield you need the Targeting Control Systems Skill from Tier 1 of the Tech Skill Tree. Rank 1 of this Skill unlocks ship targeting functionally, meaning you can zoom in on specific parts of a ship when in combat at the cost of only one Skill Point.

tech skill tree menu
Image credit: Eurogamer/Starfield

When you have the Targeting Control Systems Skill unlocked, press the button to lock on to a ship ('A' on Xbox, and 'E' on PC), then press the 'Target Lock' button when it has fully locked on ('X' on Xbox and 'R' on PC). With the targeting skill, time will then slow down and the screen will zoom into the ship, showing you specific parts of the ship you can precisely shoot at by adjusting your view.

You can now target the engines and destroy them without destroying the entire ship.

using targeting systems on engines in space battle
Image credit: Eurogamer/Starfield

How to target engines during 'The Old Neighborhood' in Starfield

While searching for Moara with Sarah in The Old Neighborhood main mission, Sarah asks you to target the engines of Moara's ship so you can disable it without harming him.

While you can do this with the Targeting Control Systems Skill like you would disable any other ship, this isn't required during 'The Old Neighborhood'. You can just shoot at Moara's ship like normal until its shields and health are gone.

ship combat
Image credit: Eurogamer/Starfield

Then, you can dock on Moara's ship to continue with the mission like normal.

Just keep in mind that you will need the Targeting Control Systems Skill if you plan on disabling a ship in the future without destroying it.

All the best in your space battles!

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