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USCSS Patna: Details You Might Have Missed

By | Published May 30, 2024

The USCSS Patna was the Weyland-Yutani Bio-Weapons Division ship that arrived on Fury 161 to acquire the Xenomorph specimens from Ellen Ripley. Serving as a mobile base for Michael Bishop, the ship was connected to the Company Network and knew everything that happened on the Sulaco and the EEV. Here is the full overview of the company ship which is barely seen in Alien 3, including details from the Expanded Universe.

The USCSS Patna Is A Conestoga Class Like The USS Sulaco

The USCSS Patna approaches Fury 161

The USCSS Patna is the same Conestoga type as the USS Sulaco, the "USCSS" indicating the United States Cargo Star Ship, same as other Weyland-Yutani ships. The Conestoga type was used for budget reasons, as a new ship was not needed to be built. The USCSS Patna was not named in the movie, but the name was taken from the Alien 3 script. Like other ships in the Alien universe, the name is taken from one of Joseph Conrad's novels. In the novel "Lord Jim", there exists a ship named "SS Patna". Patna (historically known as Pataliputra) is also the capital and largest city of the state of Bihar in India.

Did The Patna Land on Fury 161?

The USCSS Patna prepares to land on Fury 161

Although it might not be entirely clear in the movie, the USCSS Patna does in fact land on the surface of Fury 161. However, this does not seem practical at all, as the Conestoga type does not seem well-fitted for a surface landing, having protruding parts underneath and no landing legs. Instead, drop ships are used for planetfall, which the Conestoga types of ships have at least two of. Being a Bio-Weapons Division ship, the USCSS Patna likely had extensive internal overhauls, fitted for large research and medical laboratories, leaving room for a much smaller hangar.

The Aft Section Is Visible

The Bio Weapons Division leaving the USCSS Patna
The USS Sulaco schematics

The USCSS Patna is briefly shown in a landed position next to the staircase to the underground Fury 161 prison facilities. It seems to have landed just between the beach (if not on the beach) and the large cranes on the beach. The ship's captain (if there even is one), probably took quite a risk landing in such an exotic area. It can be seen that the contour of the ship's aft section is visible behind the Bio-Weapons Division personnel. However, this was modified by the filmmakers, adding "landing lights" and other details.

The USCSS Patna Is Different In The Comic

The USCSS Patna from the Alien 3 comic book

The USCSS Patna is depicted quite differently in the Alien 3 comic book adaptation. Instead of the Conestoga type we see in the movie, the ship is smaller, more akin to an oversized USCM dropship. The comic was based on the script of the movie, so the USCSS Patna was not designed properly yet. Perhaps it was the intention of the comic book artists for the mothership to remain in orbit, while this large dropship would come down. Furthermore, the ship has engines on its wings and landing wheels, hinting at its non-space-oriented capabilities.

Start With Alien Comics

Another Ship Lands Beside The Patna

The Sulaco service ship lands on Fury 161

According to the convoluted lore of Aliens: Colonial Marines (and its DLC, Stasis Interrupted), another ship landed beside the USCSS Patna while the Bio-Weapons Division was in the furnace with Ripley. The ship was a small "service craft" originating from the USS Sulaco, which was still nearby (possibly in orbit). Supposedly, in addition to the two dropships and about a dozen EEV-s, the Conastoga type has this service craft for outside repairs. On board the ship was Corporal Dwayne Hicks (unrealistically not being in the crashed EEV at all) and a colonist named Samwell Stone. Together, the duo witnessed Ripley plunging into the molten lead and were immediately arrested by the Weyland-Yutani mercenaries.

Bishop's Remains Were Taken On Board The Patna

Bishop re-activated in Alien 3

According to the newly released Aliens: Bishop book, Morse wasn't the only one taken on board the USCSS Patna. Bishop's remains were recovered and taken to the ship as well. Michael Bishop (seemingly the creator of Bishop) was looking for any hidden knowledge of the Xenomorphs and tried to extract it from Bishop's reactivated mind. The USCSS Patna was then pursued by the Il Conde, another Colonial Marine Conestoga class troop transport, headed by Captain Marcel Apone, the brother of Al Aphone from Aliens. Hicks (captured in Aliens: Colonial Marines, Stasis Interrupted) was taken on board the Resolute, another Weyland-Yutani research ship in the area.

Does the USCSS Patna Appear In "Aliens: What If?"

The USS Sulaco in Aliens: What If?

A mysterious Weyland-Yutani ship appears in the recent "Aliens: What If" comic series by Marvel, chronicling a scenario where Carter Burke could have lived the events of Aliens. In a surprising turn of events, Burke escaped cocooning in the LV-426 Atmosphere Processor hive and escaped together with the Queen to the dropship, ending up in the Sulaco. While the Queen was defeated, and the survivors went to Hypersleep, Burke emerged from hiding and set fire on the Sulaco himself (similar to the sabotage story that Ripley mentioned in Aliens). He was then picked up by a ship that looked remarkably like the USCSS Patna from the Alien 3 comic, which would have been the closest W-Y ship in the sector.


In conclusion, the USCSS Patna is a Weyland-Yutani Bio Weapons Division troop transport, the same type as the USS Sulaco. It landed on Fury 161, a seemingly crazy stunt for a warship like this. The USCSS Patna's misadventures were further explored in the Alien 3 comic book, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and the Aliens: Bishop book.

Tag Categories: Alien Universe Ships

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