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Cruiser Hull Kestrel B Red-Tail.png
Cruiser Kestrel B Red-Tail.png
Ship type Kestrel Cruiser
Layout Layout B
Weapons Basic Laser, Basic Laser, Basic Laser, Basic Laser
Missiles 5 Missiles
Drone parts 0
Power 8
Augmentations None
Achievements The United Federation, Full Arsenal, Tough Little Ship
Door System
Weapon Control

Kestrel Cruiser
The Kestrel
Stealth Cruiser
The Nesasio
DA-SR 12
Mantis Cruiser
The Gila Monster
The Basilisk
Engi Cruiser
The Torus
The Vortex
Federation Cruiser
The Osprey
Slug Cruiser
Man of War
The Stormwalker
Rock Cruiser
Zoltan Cruiser
The Adjudicator
Crystal Cruiser


The Red-Tail is the Kestrel's second layout, unlocked by achieving two achievements that are Kestrel specific. It looks more like a rebel ship than a Federation ship, and has a different layout. Instead of starting with three Humans, it starts with two Humans, a Mantis, and a Zoltan. It favors four Basic Lasers instead of an Artemis and Burst Laser II.

How to Unlock the Red-Tail[edit]

The Red-Tail layout for the Kestrel is unlocked by completing two achievements in the Kestrel set.


It may be hard to be a drone focused ship with the Red-Tail due to its starting weapons. Teleporting, however, is easier with the Red-Tail than the Kestrel because your crew starts off with a Mantis, who are, arguably, the best boarders in FTL. Being weapon-focused is easier than the Kestrel because of its starting weapons.

Ship Strengths[edit]

  • Weapon loadout that is fast firing, damaging and ammo-less.
  • Varied crew from the start.
  • Your gunner will level up very fast.
  • Enough crew to man every system.
  • Strong early game.
  • Great room structure. Kudos! Red-tail has air lock right next to door system, pilot, and oxygen. Moreover, Weapons and shield room is airlock. Intruders and fire will not be able to attack main systems easily due to red tail's impressive airlock locations. Except for the teleporter and sensor room, all possible system rooms can be defended by using airlocks. However, since player's boarding crews will often be stationed in sensor room and teleporter, this weakness does not matter. Thus, this ship is nearly invincible against boarding. In addition to this, the teleporter is right next to the Medbay, making it easier to use a boarding strategy.
  • No real glaring weaknesses.

Ship Weaknesses[edit]

  • No special systems.
  • Starting weapons will become outdated by about sector 4.
  • Layout is centralised in the back, meaning beam weapons can take out most critical systems in one shot, and that your pilot is cut off from the rest of the crew.

Leaving the Hangar[edit]

The Red-Tail is an extremely powerful ship, capable of being upgraded in pretty much any fashion. It has a good enough start to specialize in any area or to cherry pick what is needed from each.

Like the Kestrel, it begins as a 'Jack-Of-All-Trades,' relying on its generalized loadout to effectively hedge its bets, instead of relying on a special system.

Early battles should be fought by firing your Basic Lasers in sync. Four lasers fired simultaneously will quickly toast any one-shield ship, as well as provide easy experience for your gunner. By the end of the second sector, you should have a fully-experienced gunner.

It is important to upgrade your weapons when possible, allowing your ship to become even more reliable, not to mention freeing up slots for additional weapons.

It seems best to upgrade everything on the Red-Tail a bit, to increase your overall effectiveness.

General Tips[edit]

  • Consider a small drone bay equipped with Def. Drone I (or II, if you have the scrap and energy spare), coupled with maxed stealth and shields to make your ship almost unhittable.
  • Focus on finding weapons to either pierce or disable shields (or both), or multi-shot weapons. Combining both is extremely powerful.
  • On the whole, you have no real weaknesses. Try to keep it that way.


The United Federation: This is unlocked by having six unique aliens on the Kestrel at once. If you have a Human, Engi, Zoltan, Rock, Mantis, and Slug on your ship, you will unlock the achievement.

Full Arsenal: This will be unlocked when you have all systems on the ship at once. Purchasing the Cloaking, Teleporter, and Drone Control systems will unlock this achievement.

Tough Little Ship: This will be unlocked from repairing at a store with one hull point left. Try to find an asteroid field or auto-scout directly next to a store, let your hull get to one point left, jump to the store, and repair. You should need 58 scrap to repair fully.

Layout A[edit]

Layout A of the Red-Tail is the Kestrel, which looks like a Federation ship rather than a rebel one. It starts with a Burst Laser II and an Artemis missile launcher. It is easier to become drone focused with the Kestrel, but harder to become weapon focused. Read more on the Kestrel here.

Layout C[edit]

Layout C of the Kestrel, The Swallow, is unlocked using this ship. To unlock the type C Kestrel, one must reach sector 8 in the Red-Tail, with Advanced Edition content on.