In Eve, bombs are unguided weapons which deal potentially devastating damage to anything in their area of effect. They can only be used in nullsec and wormhole space, and they can only be launched by stealth bombers equipped with bomb launchers.
How Bombing Works
Stealth bombers typically move while cloaked into a position for a good bombing run, and then uncloak to launch.
When launched, a bomb travels for 30km in a straight line, in the direction that its parent bomber was travelling at the moment of launch. It then explodes.
Once it is launched, the bomb will do this even if the ship that launched it warps off or is destroyed.
Kinds of Bomb
There are six kinds of bomb. There are four bombs designed purely to do damage, each of which does one of the four damage types:
- Concussion bombs do kinetic damage
- Electron bombs do EM damage
- Scorch bombs do thermal damage
- Shrapnel bombs do explosive damage
Each of the four stealth bomber hulls has a damage bonus for one specific type of bomb (the Amarr Purifier has a bonus to Electron bomb damage, the Minmatar Hound has a bonus to Shrapnel bomb damage, &c).
The normal damage-dealing bombs all travel at 3,000m/s, so it takes them 10s to travel 30km before they explode.
There are also two bombs which are, so to speak, 'ewar bombs':
- Void bombs do negligible damage but neutralize 1,800GJ of energy from their victims' capacitors
- Lockbreaker bombs do negligible damage but emit an ECM burst with a strength (on all sensor types) of 12.5
Void and Lockbreaker bombs travel at 4,000m/s, so it only takes them 7.5s to travel 30km before they explode.
When a bomb explodes, it affects everything within 15km range of it. Normal bombs do 6,400 points of one of the four damage types, while Void and Lockbreaker bombs do a little damage and apply a cap-draining or ECM effect.
Like missile damage, Bomb damage can be modified by the signature radii of the target ships, which are compared to the bomb's explosion radius of 400m. But, unlike missile damage, bomb damage cannot be modified by the target ships' speeds.
This means that frigates can often survive one or two bombs because, although frigates don't have many effective hitpoints, they have very small signature radii.
A frigate that has an MWD on at the moment of detonation is likely to die to one bomb, however, because of the MWD's signature-quintupling side effect.
A small signature radius only helps to mitigate bomb damage -- it does not protect against the ECM effect of Lockbreaker bombs or the cap-drain from Void bombs.
Although they cannot be directly targeted, bombs have a defined number of hitpoints and can be destroyed by smartbombs or by other bombs.
Each of the four damage-dealing bombs has a 99.5% resistance to its own damage type, however.
This means that if a wing of bombers launches a mixture of bomb types at the same time and in the same direction, the first bomb to explode will probably destroy all the other bombs before they have a chance to go off and deal damage themselves.
It is therefore necessary for groups of bombers to choose one damage type and all use that kind of bomb. That way, when the first bombs explode, the other bombs' resistance to their own damage type will let them survive the damage and explode themselves.
Void and Lockbreaker bombs have no such special resistances.
I'm going to list off the type of bomb runs you can do, from least safe, to safest.
First off is the drop and align. You make your way to where you want to be, while cloaked. You point in the direction you want, decloak, drop a bomb, and warp away. You're vulnerable to a point for the entire time, which can last up to 6 seconds. A good 'ceptor pilot will get you. Bad ones will MWD towards you and die. Some will MWD towards you, take damage, but NOT die, and keep going to kill you.
Second is the drop and warp. You set up your position so a celestial, or a safe you've made is directly behind your target. Align to that celestial, wait until you're in range, decloak, drop bomb, and immediately warp. Almost no risk, but requires you to take a long time to set up your position.
Third is the warp and drop. Very simple, especially if there are no bubbles on the gate you're warping to. Have someone watching the gate, or take a look yourself. If people are in jump range of the gate, or aren't moving at all but have a definate position, warp out, decloak(and wait a few moments until you can recloak), warp to the gate at 30k, drop bomb, cloak. Then warp away. Anyone trying to nail you down will immediately stop in his tracks, and likely have put himself right in the area your bomb is about to explode in. It's a fun way to mess with experienced 'ceptor pilots.
- Credit to Hallan Turrek, from his guide "A Merry Life and a Short One"