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The Kestrel Cruiser is the starting ship of the game. It’s a pretty well balance ship that start with very powerful weapon. The burst laser II with 3 laser will take care of the early sector and the Artemis missile will help you remove those nasty shield. The burst laser II is so good that I never had to sell it or get rid of it in all my gameplay with this ship.

Layout A: The Kestrel Cruiser

The Kestrel first layout

Unlock: Unlocked by default

Starting weapons of that ship are some of the best in the game, you’ll probably will likely keep one or even both for the whole game. Burst Laser II is simply amazing, it’s only 2 power for 3 laser shot making it probably one of the best damage output for that amount of power. If you manage your way well this weapon should be to cruise through the early sector where enemy ship usually have 1 or no shield. The Artemis will help you to take out those shield, 1 power for 2 damage it’s quite good the only other missile using 1 power is the leto and it does only 1 damage.

One tactic with this ship is to add beam weapons, due to this ship’s high shield removal capabilities. Pike beam or halberd Beam will fit quite well on this ship. Another amazing setup I managed to get was to get two extra Burst Laser II (one found the other bought) and I cruised through the game with them. Weapon pre-igniter fit well on this ship, specially if you manage to get beam weapon, extra burst laser or better missile (Pegasu, etc)

Layout B: Red Tail

The Kestrel second layout

Unlock: Unlock that ship by earning two of the three Kestrel achievements.

The Basic Laser isn’t really good alone but four of them can make significant damage and will be very effective for early and even mid game. They are pretty good at leveling up your crewmember weapon skill. You will need replace these lasers with better lasers or support (bombs, missiles, beams). Already having a mantis might make it worthwhile to by a crew teleporter earlier than usual.

Layout C: The Swallow

The Kestrel Third layout

Unlock: Unlock that ship by surviving up to sector 8 with the Red tail (the kestrel layout B)

  • Default name: The Swallow
  • Starting Crew: 2 Human , 1 Lanius
  • Starting Weapons:
  • Starting Resources:
  • Slots: 4 Weapon, 2 Drone (requires system)

I haven’t had the chance to try this ship yet but it’s hacking system combine with the ion stunner make a good combo to prevent enemies from repairing their systems specially their shield, add the hacking stun augment and they won’t repair anything. It can be use to take down the Med bay or oxygen and prevent them from repairing them. I really like its layout, the oxygen system can be drain out of oxygen surrounding it forcing them to move elsewhere.


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Source : The FTL Wiki Kestrel Page, The Wiki Ship Strategies and my tear and sweat trying to unlock those damn ship.