Floaters are monstrous cyborgs powered by a pair of twin back-mounted jets, which give them the ability to hover. This also allows Floaters to fly into the sky and land behind human soldiers' lines. An ingame autopsy performed on the Floater hints that they may be the invaders' incomplete cybernetic and genetic experiments. They have received extensive mechanical implants, including ones that replace the internal organs. Due to its modifications, there is no distinguishing line between mechanical and biological to describe the Floater.
Floaters possess a weakness to psionic attacks, making Sectoid Commanders, Etherials and psychic humans a massive threat to these creatures. However, because of their flight, they are able to easily evade close-combat specialist, such as the Muton Berserker and Chryssalid. They are usually armed with a light plasma rifle, although the advanced Heavy Floater comes armed with a plasma rifle and a set of alien grenades.
- In the 1994 original version of XCOM (UFO: Enemy Unknown), Floaters looked very different. They had humanoid bodies sans legs, with an anti-gravitational device attached to where the legs should be. They also wore red capes.