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Sometimes, when a lot of UFOs appear at the same time and I don't have the resources (or nerve) to go on all missions, I simply destroy one of the UFOs for a quick buck.

If you destroy an UFO over water, it disappears immediately. That's why there is the option to "Tail until over land", where there will be a wreckage left for you to destroy via airstrike (for a little money) or engage with a ground team.

Do you get the same amount of money you would get for the airstrike if you shoot down the UFO over water? Or should you always wait to shoot it down over land, even if you know you will destroy it anyway?

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    I only have one data point, but it looks like you get absolutely no funding from splashed down UFOs. I may have missed something, and I cannot reload a save to double-check, but I'm fairly certain I'm correct. – Pvt. Grichmann Aug 7 '14 at 19:58
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I have no hard prof, but to me it seems that you get funding increase when you shot the UFO down. It does not matter if it is over land or sea. Note that there are caps, and as soon as you hit it, the only good thing that happens from shooting down a UFO is that you do not get a decrease.

On the other hand, if it is on the land you may get money either via an airstrike (less) or via an actual mission (more).

And those money gains happen at different points. Funding is permanent at the end of every month, while mission or airstrike money are one time. So there seems to be no easy way to compare them.

Trailing a UFO until it is over land is not free. It may still do some damage resulting in funding and reputation decrease. And you are spending fuel doing that, so you would have less fuel during the fight. In some cases that might be critical. Plus you may run out of fuel even before the fight. Depending on your and UFO technological levels you may not even be able to trail it - it might flight faster than your aircrafts.

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