Interdiction is the process of using a Frame Shift Drive Interdictor to intercept another ship during supercruise travel. Interdictions can be caused by System Authority Vessels, Bounty Hunters, Pirates, and other players. An interdiction instigated by a Thargoid vessel while in hyperspace is known as a hyperdiction.
When an interdiction occurs, the interdictor and their victim engage in a brief tug-of-war: the interdictor must follow the victim and maintain the connection until the interdiction process completes, while the victim must either try to escape by closely following the designated escape vector to break the connection or submit to the interdiction by throttling down. The progress of the interdiction is indicated on both ships' HUDs by two parallel, synchronized meters. The blue meter will fill as a ship aligns with its target or the escape vector, while the red meter will fill as a ship fails to keep up with its target or escape vector.
Upon successfully interdicting, the victim of the interdiction drops out of supercruise mode into normal flight mode with a small amount of heat damage and their FSD locked into a lengthy cooldown; the interdictor will also suffer heat damage. If the victim submits to the interdiction at any time during the process by throttling down to zero, they and the interdictor will avoid the heat damage and experience a much shorter FSD cooldown. Players that struggle with escaping interdictions may find it easier to submit, and then immediately target another star system and attempt to jump when the shorter cooldown finishes to elude their pursuer; jumping to another system is recommended over returning to supercruiser as the interdicting ship's Mass Lock Factor may interfere with FSD supercruise charging.
If an interdicting ship is successfully evaded by its intended victim, it will forcibly drop from supercruise and have to endure a FSD cooldown, which may give their target enough time to reach safety at a local station or jump to another system. The victim will remain in supercruise.
System Authority Vessels will interdict only to scan for criminal status (Bounties) and contraband (Illegal Goods/Stolen Goods). If either scan turns out positive then they will begin to open fire on the ship.
When Bounty Hunters interdict a ship they will likewise scan it to determine its criminal status, and they will open fire if the scan reveals a bounty.
Pirates seek to steal a ship's cargo and will exhibit one of four different behaviors after interdiction. They may open fire immediately to frighten the victim into jettisoning cargo. They may broadcast a threatening message and wait a few moments for cargo to be jettisoned, and open fire if the victim does not drop any cargo or attempts to flee. They may scan the victim's cargo before demanding it be jettisoned. Lastly, if the pirate finds their victim has no cargo or is only carrying Limpets, they will express disappointment and let the victim depart peacefully.
- The Frame Shift Drive Interdictor was introduced in Elite Dangerous Beta 3.
- If a ship enters the exclusion zone of a star or planetary body while being interdicted, they will make an emergency drop out of supercruise along with the interdictor.
- If the victim of an interdiction was in the process of charging their Frame Shift Drive for a hyperspace jump before the onset of the interdiction, the FSD will continue to charge and the victim can escape if their escape vector happens to align with the jump destination marker.