FTL Unlocking Ships – Here Is How IT Works

When I first bought FTL I had no idea that there were more playable ships but once I realized this I simply needed to know how to unlock all ships in FTL.

Playing the different ships and species makes FTL: Advanced Edition even more fun to play and I highly recommend you give them all a try.

Without further delay; let me show you how to unlock all ships in the FTL: Advanced Edition…

FTL Unlocking Ships

There are 10 ships in total and 2 or 3 different layouts per ship that can be unlocked as well. A ship can carry a maximum of 8 crew members from various races.

Each race has a special ability and all of them gain experience while performing a task like piloting, repairing, engaged in combat, etc.

Some ship unlocks require a crew member from a certain race.

Apart from unlocking ships, there are different layouts per ship that can also be unlocked:

Ship Layouts

You start the game with the Kestrel and layout A. Different layouts provide different starting weapons, crew members and some stats may vary.

All ships have a layout A and B with only the Lanius – and the Crystal cruiser with no layout C for the advanced edition.

Kestrel Cruiser – The Kestrel

FTL Kestrel Ship
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 8
  • Drone Parts: 2
  • Crew: 3
  • Drones: 0

The Kestrel Cruiser is the standard ship with layout A with wich you start off with. It is a good starting ship with lots of firepower. The Burst Laser 2 will give you the edge against enemies.

There is no need to unlock the Kestrel.

Layout B – Red-Tail

To Unlock The Kestrel Layout B

Complete two of the three achievements for the ship. Hover your mouse curser over the locks just below the text ‘Complete 2 for layout B’ to see the details of the achievements.

With Layout B you start with 4 Basic Lasers which can tear down level 3 shields and score a hit.

Layout C – The Swallow

To Unlock The Kestrel Layout C:

Reach sector 8 using layout B of the Kestrel.

Layout C will start you off with Dual Lasers and an Ion Stunner. The Ion Stunner is to delay repairs on a damaged ship and with the dual lasers makes it a cost effective weapon setup and easier to upgreade.

This is a good setup for early ships but you will need to upgrade your weapons if you want to defeat shield level 3 or higher enemies.

The Federation Cruiser – The Osprey

FTL Federation Cruiser
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 5
  • Drone Parts: 2
  • Crew: 4
  • Drones: 2 Slots (Requires Systems)

The Federation Cruiser starts with a human, Engi, Rockman and Mantis as crew members. Its main cannon is pretty wicket. Other than that, the Federation Cruiser is a pretty standard ship.

To Unlock The Federation Cruiser:

There are two ways to go about this: 

1. Defeat the Rebel Flagship at the end of the game in sector 8 using the Engi Cruiser or

2. Locate a big Rebel Shipyard in a Rebel Stronghold sector. Look around and defeat a difficult opponent near the shipyard.

Layout B – Nisos

To Unlock The Federation Cruiser Layout B:

Complete two of three achievements for the ship

Layout B starts you with the Artillary Beam at rank 2 which is nice along with dual lasers. There are also 2 slots in the medical bay. You also get a Slug and a Zoltan as two of your three crew members.

Layout C – The Fregatidae

To Unlock The Federation Cruiser Layout C:

Reach sector 8 with layout B of the Federation Cruiser.

With Layout C you have less Reactor Power (7) but has 4 crew members again: 2 Zoltans, a human and a Mantis. The Federation Cruiser is equiped with the Flak Artillery weapon which is unique to the Federation Cruiser and is deadly at higher levels.

Engi Cruiser – The Torus

FTL Game Engi Cruiser
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 10
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 0
  • Drone Parts: 15
  • Crew: 2
  • Drones: 3

Three crew menmbers accompanies you on layout A. (2 Engi and 1 human). The Engi cruiser is equipped with the Ion Blast II and a Combat Drone Mark I. I dispise drones attacking my ship and I will gladly return the favor with the Engi. 🙂 

To Unlock The Engi Cruiser:

Reach sector 5 with any ship. Well, you will probably do it with the Kestrel and unlock the Engi cruiser as your second ship.

Layout B – The Vortex

Unlocking Layout B For The Engi Cruiser:

Complete 2 out of three achievements for the Engi cruiser

Layout B is not all that great: You start with only one crew member (Engi) and a Drone Reactor Booster as a unique ability. It is supposed to make the drones move faster but it is not much help.

There are only two spaces in the medbay (probably because you only start with one crew member) and the healing augment is droppped.

Starting weapons:

  • Heavy Laser
  • Heavy Ion

Staring Drones:

  • 2x System Repair Drone
  • Anti-Personnel Drone

With only one crew member it is difficult to manage everything. Personally I do not like this layout much.

Layout C – Tetragon

Unlocking Layout C For The Engi Cruiser

You need to reach sector 8 with the Engi cruiser using Layout B.

Thankfully you start with 2 Engi crew members and 1 Lanius crew member on Layout C. For weapons your ship is equipped with Dual Lasers and a Beam I Drone which is a decent start.

Your ship is also fitted with a Defense Scrambler which is good against enemy defensive drones.

Zoltan Cruiser – The Adjudicator

Faster Than Light Zoltan Cruiser Layout
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 5
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 12
  • Drone Parts: 2
  • Crew: 3
  • Drones: 0

Three Zoltan crew members man the Zoltan Cruiser for its Layout A. You also have Zoltan Shields that stops almost any attack in its tracks.

The Zoltan Shields is an extra shield layer that goes over your normal shields. The shield can absorb 5 HP of damage and can only be recharched by doing an FTL jump. Ion and Beam weapons will do double damage. Zoltan shields will also block teleporting and boarding drones.

To Unlock The Zoltan Cruiser

Enter the Green Sector (Zoltan Homeworlds) and find the node where a peacefull ship will hail you. Choose the ‘Hear them out’ option. 

A quest marker is added and at the marker choose the option for attempting to hail the rebel attacker. Throughout the whole dialogue choose all the options that will avoid any conflict. (All the peaceful options)


You can complete the game by defeating the Rebel Flagship using the Federation Cruiser.

Layout B – Noether

Unlocking Layout B For The Zoltan Cruiser

Earn two of the three Zoltan Cruiser achievements will unlock Layout B

Layout B is pretty much the same as Layout A with better weapons and a better layout in my opinion but with a weakend shield. Your Level 1 shield requires 100 scrap to upgrade to Level 2.

You start again with 3 Zoltan crew members and for weapons you have 2 Ion Blasts and a Pike Beam.

Layout C – Cerenkov

Unlocking Layout C For The Zoltan Cruiser

As always: Reach level 8 with layout B of the Zoltan Cruiser.

Here you start with 4 Zoltan crew members which I welcome. You have; however, a weak level 2 reactor and so you have to rely on backup batteries and your crew. It will cost 30 scrap to upgrade to a Level 3 reactor.

You have an Ion Charger as a starting weapon and an Anti-ship Beam Drone I.

Stealth Cruiser – The Nesasio

FTL: Faster Than Light Stealth Cruiser
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 0
  • Drone Parts: 0
  • Crew: 3
  • Drones: 2 Slots (Requires Systems)

Layout A starts you with 3 human crew members. Shields are exchanged for cloaking technology. Normal ships are no problem to overcome but you are vulnerable to asteroids, drones and beam weapons. 

Luckily your ship is fitted with Long-Ranged Scanners to avoid asterroid fields.

The ship comes equipped with Dual Lasers and a Mini Beam. The MiniBeam cannot penetrate shields but that is where the Dual Lasers comes into play. This means that any ship with 2 shields or less will easily be defeated as the Mini Beam can hit up to 4 rooms in one go.

To Unlock The Stealth Cruiser

There are 2 ways to go about this:

  1. Complete the game with the Rock Ship or
  2. Make sure you have an Engi crew member on board. Now find the Engi Homeworlds green sector. One of the nodes will have a blue dialogue for having an Engi crew member on board. Choosing this dialogue will spawn two quest markers on the map. 

    Each quest will have a ship powering up their FTL drives. Do not let them get away. One of these ships will give you a new quest marker when defeated and after you demand information on the stolen technology with thir surrender.

    Go to the new quest marker and defeat the Mantis ship there. You have now unlocked the Stealth Cruiser.

Layout B – DA-SR 12

Unlocking Layout B For The Stealth Cruiser

You need to earn 2 of the 3 Stealth Cruiser achievements to unlock its Layout B.

It is not that easy to handle this ship: Allthough it has a powerfull Glaive Beam weapon fitted, it takes 25 seconds to charge. Few cruisers will be able to withstand your might as long as you are able to charge your Glaive Beam in time.

Layout C – Simo-H

Unlocking Layout C For The Stealth Cruiser

You need to reach level 8 using Layout B of the Stealth Cruiser.

With no shields or cloaking device, your first priority should be to get a shield. You do start with 2 drones (Shield Overcharger Drone and a Anti-Drone) where the Shield Overcharger drone generates a Zoltan supershield which is essential for your survival in the beginning.

The starting weapons are decent. Thay are the Laser Charger (S) and the Mini Beam. Your ship is also fitted with a Clone Bay and 3 crew members of whom 1 is Human, 1 is a Rockman and 1 is a Slug.

Rock Cruiser – Bulwark

Faster Than Light Rock Cruiser Ship Layout
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 28
  • Drone Parts: 0
  • Crew: 3
  • Drones: 2 Slots (Requires Systems)

The Bulwark starts with 3 Rockman as crew members. Armed with deadly missiles and a strong hull, thanks to the starting Rock Plating augmentation, this vessel is made to overpower its enemies.

The Rock Plating augmentation is also available in Layout B and C of the Rock Cruiser.

The Bulwark comes equipped with only missiles which comprises of Artemis Missiles and the Hull Missile. It is therefore important to keep an eye on your missile stores.

The Hull Missile fires 1 missile for 2 damage and double damage on systemless rooms. The Artemis Missiles does the same damage at a lower cost and cooldown than the Hull Missile but without the double damage modifier.

To Unlock The Rock Cruiser

Get to the Rock Homeworld sector (Red Sector) where a Rock ship will insult you at one of the nodes. Respond to the insult and follow the new quest marker.

You will find the Rock ship at the marker, but do not destroy it. Wait for them to FTL away and do the same. A new quest marker will be added. Go to the marker to unlock the Rock Cruiser.


Complete the game by defeating the Rebel Flagship with the Slug Cruiser.

Layout B – Shivan

Unlocking Layout B Of The Rock Cruiser

As always: Complete 2 out of the 3 Rock Cruiser achievements to unlock Layout B.

In Layout B you will start with 4 Rockmen. 

The interresting part is that you do not have any airlocks in this layout and you won’t be able to drain the oxygen from rooms like you would normally do. Instead, you will need to make use of your Rockmen to put out the fires.

Starting Weapons:

  • Fire Bomb
  • Heavy Pierce Laser Mk. 1
  • 18 Missiles

The Fire Bomb is a self-teleporting bomb that sets fire on board a ship. You do not get a teleporter and the strategy therefore is to target your own ship with the bomb should your ship be boarded.

The Shivan is probably one of the easiest ships to play with. Starting with 4 Rockmen makes it easy to man each station and quickly deal with enemies invading your ship. Added to that: You can deal with fires much easier and the layout of the ship makes it easy to manage fires too.

Layout C – Tektite

Unlocking Layout C Of The Rock Cruiser

Reach sector 8 using Layout B of the Rock Cruiser to unlock Layout C.

2 Rockmen and 1 Crystal unit accompanies you on the Tektite. Having a Crystal unit is also one means of unlocking the Crystal Cruiser.

Starting Weapons:

  • Swarm Missiles
  • Heavy Crystal Mk. 1
  • 15 Missiles

Slug Cruiser – Man Of War

FTL: Faster Than Light Slug Cruiser
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 10
  • Missiles: 15
  • Drone Parts: 0
  • Crew: 2
  • Drones: 2 Slots (Requires Systems)

You start with 2 Slug crew members on the Man Of War. The ship is without Sensors and although Slugs can reveal rooms and lifeforms without sensors, you will need to listen for fires that break out.

The unique augmentation on board all Slug Cruisers is Slug Repair Gel that repairs hull breach damage.

To Unlock The Slug Cruiser

You will either need a Slug crew member or Sensors level 2 and go to the Slug Homeworlds (PUrple Sector).

Many a Slug ship will surrender when damaged enough and will offer what they have in their cargo. Accepting their surrender, there is a random chance that they will offer you an experimental weapon. Decline the offer and ask for more data. 

A new quet marker will appear on the map where you choose the option: “Try to tail them without being noticed”
Now choose whichever Blue Option appear and destroy the fleeing ship before they can make their escape. You have now unlocked the Slug cruiser.


You can also complete the game by destroying the Rebel Flagship with the Mantis Cruiser.

Layout B – The Stormwalker

Unlocking Layout B Of The Slug Cruiser

Complete 2 out of the 3 Slug Cruiser achievements to unlock Layout B

This is an awesome boarding ship equipped with the Healing Burst that can heal your units. Note that it uses a missisle per heal and with no Medbay you will need to rely on Healing Burst.

The Stormwalker starts with 3 Slug crew members which is great.

Starting Weapons

  • Healing Burst
  • Artemis Missiles

Layout C – Ariolimax

How To Unlock Layout C Of The Slug Cruiser

Reaching sector 8 with the Slug Cruiser using its Layout B will unlock Layout C.

This ship starts with Hacking and Mind Control Systems. This makes for effectively disrupting enemy ships.

Starting Weapons

  • Chain Burst Laser

The Mantis Cruiser – The Gila Monster

FTL: Faster Than Light Mantis Cruiser - The Gila Monster
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 7
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 16
  • Drone Parts: 0
  • Crew: 4
  • Drones: 2 Drone Slots (requires system)

Unique attribute: Mantis Pheromones for all Mantis cruiser layouts

Mantis Pheromones makes your crew move at 25% faster speeds.

The Gila Monster starts with 4 crew members – 3 Mantis and 1 Engi crew mwmber. You have weak weapons but the ship is equipped wit a Teleporter and you have 3 Mantis crew members to invade enemy ships.

To Unlock The Mantis Cruiser

You will need a Mantis crew member, a level 2 Teleprter and a  level 2 Medbay. Now go to the Mantis Homeworld Sector (Red). Your long range scanners will pick up a node with a famouse Mantis thief called Captian KazaaakplethKilik. Choose the blue option that will make them to dance. Kill all the crew on the ship without destroying it.

Choose the blue option again to have them teleport on board. Finally, choose the blue option again to save the Captain; healing him in the Medbay.


Finish the game with the Zoltan Cruiser by defeating the Rebel Flagship.

Layout B – The Basilisk

Unlocking Layout B For The Mantis

You need to earn 2 of the 3 Mantis cruiser achievements to unlock Layout B.

The Basilisk starts with 2 Mantis crew members.

This ship is made for good defense and teleporting raiding parties on board enemy ships.

You start wit no weapons but the ship is equipped with a 4-pad Teleporter and two drones. (A Boarding drone and a Defense Drone 1)

Layout C – The Theseus

To Unlock Layout C

Reach Sector 8 with the Mantis Cruiser using Layout B.

This ship layout is deadly when making use of a capable boarding party. 

Starting Weapons

  • Crystal Lockdown Bomb
  • Stun Bomb

You start with 3 Crew mwmbers: 1 Lanius, 1 Engi and 1 Mantis.

The Crystal Cruiser – Bravais

FTL: Faster Than Light Crystal Cruiser - Bravais
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 0
  • Drone Parts: 0
  • Crew: 4
  • Drones: 2 Drone Slots (requires system)

Unique attribute: Crystal Vengeance

Unlocking The Crystal Cruiser

For starters, you need the  ‘Damaged Stasis Pod’ augmentation which can be found in an Engi-controlled, Rock-controlled, or Pirate-controlled sector as a random encounter.

Now go to a the Zoltan sector (to guarentee results) or an Engi sector to find the ‘crew study’ event to unlock the Crystal crew member.

Now travel to the Rock Homeworlds (Red) to find the Crystal Beacon at the quest marker where the Crystal crew member will provide a blue option. You will then be sent to the hiden Crystal Worlds. Reach the quest marker where the Crystal Cruiser is docked. The Crystal cruiser will be unlocked at arrival.

This ship is difficult to unlock and therefore a few tips:

  • Having the Rock Plating augment guarentees receiving the stasis pod from the derelict ship at the asteroid belt as a blue option.
  • Playing with the Rock Cruiser Layout C, you already have a Crystal crew member which means you can simply go to the Crystal Sector and search for the docked Crystal cruiser.
  • Now if the Crystal crew member is ‘Ruwen’ then the quest marker will appear when entering the Rock Homeworlds.
  • You can also unlock the Crystal Cruiser by defeating the Rebel Flagship at sector 8 with Layout A or B of any ship (except the Lanius) on normal difficulty

You start off with 2 Human – and 2 Crystal crew members on the Bravais. 

Starting Weapons: Crystal Burst Mark 1 and Heavy Crystal Mark 1. These weapons are powerful but slow and defense drones shoots them down. The better weapon to keep is the Heavy Crystal Mark 1.

The Crystal Cruiser is a big powerful ship and Crystal crew makes for formidable boarding parties. Of course you will need a teleporter and therefore you may just love Layout B to make this ship an unstoppable beast: 

Layout B – Carnelian

Unlocking Layout B Of The Crystal Cruiser

To unlock the Carnelian you will need to complete two of the three Crystal Cruiser achievements.

The Carnelian is argueably the best ship Faster Than Light have to offer. It does not start with any weapons but is focused on being a boarding ship.

You have 3 Crystal crew members from the start along with a Medbay, Cloaking and a rare 4-pad teleporter! The Lockdown ability is your formiddable ally that is sure to cripple all that stands in your way.

Zoltan ships may be a problem initially as they will be untouchable with their Zoltan shields and you having no weapons. A few upgrades later and the Carnelian becomes the most overpowered ship in the game with The Shrike (Lanius Layout B) in close second:

The Lanius Cruiser – Kruos

FTL Kruos Lanius Cruiser
  • Scrap: 10
  • Reactor power: 8
  • Fuel: 16
  • Missiles: 3
  • Drone Parts: 9
  • Crew: 3
  • Drones: 2 Drone Slots (requires system)

Unique attribute: Emergency Respirators

Unlocking The Lanius Cruiser

You will unlock the Kruos once you have unlocked 4 other ships excluding the Kestrel.

Starting Weapons:

  • Chain Burst Laser
  • Ion Stunner

You start with 2 Lanius and 1 Human crew members. With the Lanius ability to drain oxygen from a room, makes them excellent boarding units. It makes sense to get a Teleporter else you can start by relying on Hacking to fire off the first shot and chasing better shields and perhaps a weapon.

Layout B – The Shrike

Unlocking Layout B Of The Lanius Cruiser

Earn two of the three Lanius Cruiser achievements to unlock Layout B – The Shrike.

Starting weapons:

  • Advanced Flak

The Flak can damage crew, hull, systems and hit rooms once all shield layers are stripped from the enemy ship.

You start with 2 Lanius and 1 Engi crew members. Now that you start with a Teleporter and Mind Control, few enemies will stand in your way!


So there you have it: You now know how to unlock all the FTL: Faster Than Light ships and I hope this helps you in achieving maximum fun with this awesome game.

Please let me know if you have any questions below in the comments and I will answer them as soon as possible.

Read my Faster Than Light Game Review

4 thoughts on “FTL Unlocking Ships – Here Is How IT Works”

  1. I’m glad I stumbled on this post.

    I’ve seen that there tends to be a relatively complex series of events that leads to unlocking a new ship type. And it looks like for at least some of them, a measure of advance planning and correct event responses is required.

    I’ve managed to unlock one or two of the other ships in the hangar.

    But now after going through your article, I’m now able to unlock all the FTL ships. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Hi Kell,

      It is only a pleasure. I am glad that you found my article helpful. I had trouble unlocking some ships in FTL: especially the Crystal Cruiser and I thought that this guide will also benefit others.

      Enjoy the new ships in FTL: Faster than Light and a Happy New Year by the way!

  2. Wow! This is almost perfect in the information I was looking for. I am abig time fan of strategy games and one of my colleagues just suggested the FTL for me but I just cannot seem to maneuver well around it so I was looking for as many I do as I could get on it from the internet. This that you have shared is really informative and I love it. I will try to work around this right now and see how it works for me plus I will bookmark the post

    • Hey Rodarrick! I am happy to know that you also like strategy games like me. It is great to know that you found my FTL Unlocking Ships guide informative and useful.

      Let me know if you are stuck somewhere or need some more information and I will gladly help where I can.


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