Republic Fleet Firetail
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The Firetail is modeled off a fighter frigate known as the Shamrock, a design used by a small, now-extinct pirate faction known as Lazari Dromitus. The blueprint found its way into the hands of Matari military forces after a raid on Lazari Dromitus's headquarters succeeded in killing its leader, thus beheading the organization and scattering its remnants to the four winds. It has since been improved upon and upgraded, and the Firetail is now a mainstay in most Republic Fleet patrols.
Minmatar Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
The Republic Fleet Firetail - usually just called Firetail - is a high speed close range brawler. While being not as fast as the Dramiel it's still able to hold its own against other frigates and even bigger ships, simply dodging their turrets and missiles while still being able to hit them.
Its skill bonus acts as a strong multiplier to its otherwise low to medium firepower, essentially doubling the amount of turrets with Minmatar Frigate IV. In addition the tracking bonus ensures better hits even while orbiting targets with an afterburner running indefinitely.
Considering the ship bonuses and overall gameplay style the ship can act as a stepping stone from more common and generic T1 frigates to faster and more advanced ships, such as the Dramiel or T2 frigates, especially Assault Ships and Interceptors. Thanks to its speed and superior tracking it's a very interesting hull, even for more experienced pilots being able to fly more expensive ships.
- Small Projectile Turret IV
Due to the slot layout, the low amount of turrets and the ship's bonus, it's essential to fit two small projectile turrets. Other weapon systems will perform far less effective. While T2 projectile turrets are optional, they greatly increase the damage potential of the Firetail.
- Motion Prediction IV
Due to the high velocity of the Firetail, it can be hard to properly hit targets, even for experienced and skilled pilots. As such every added tracking helps, making this skill rather mandatory.
- Acceleration Control, Afterburner, Fuel Conservation, and Navigation IV
These skills further improve the ship's velocity as well as its ability to keep the Afterburner running indefinitely. This makes it easier to keep up with targets as well as avoid being hit.
- Minmatar Frigate IV
With only two turret slots in the highs, training this skill to IV is essential for the Firetail's damage to match the performance of the Rifter's. Although the ship comes into its own with the skill trained to V, with anything less than IV the pilot is probably just as good flying a Rifter instead.
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- Always fit an Afterburner for PvE: Given its speed and natural shield regeneration, the Firetail can simply speed/signature tank most lower level missions as well as cosmic anomalies and DED sites without further adding resistances or repair modules. However this greatly depends on skills and experience. Some missions and situations might make it necessary to fit a MWD instead to quickly reach some specific point or get in range to destroy a critical object like a Stasis Tower.
- The Firetail can be tanked either way: It's possible to shield tank, armor tank or simply speed/signature tank the ship. While this is up to personal preference, the ship really starts to shine when the pilot tries to outmaneuver enemies and their weapon systems rather than taking the hits. This frees up valuable low and mid slots to further improve the gun' tracking, damage and rate of fire. Given its price compared to common T1 frigates however, newbie pilots should try to gather experience while being properly tanked (or possibly overtanked).
- Don't get caught: As with all lighter tanked Minmatar ships, the Firetail can't sustain heavy hits and suffers greatly from speed impacting effects, such as Stasis Towers or Stasis Webifiers.
- Orbit or strafing runs: While it can be a lot more convenient to simply set a close orbit around a target, the Firetail can be even more effective doing strafing runs by burning right through or past enemies. Before leaving the falloff range, simply turn around by up to 180 degree and repeat. Especially when close by this will increase the transversal velocity a lot. The Firetail is affected by this as well, but it's able to counter part of this with its own tracking bonus.
- Get close and personal: While it might be tempting to use the Firetail's tracking bonus in conjunction with artillery, the ship is far better off with autocannons. At high distances the ship can't take advantage of its high velocity and the limited Powergrid makes fitting artillery even less desirable.
- While it is possible to fit two projectile turrets as well as one missile or rocket launcher, it might be more effective to either use the third high-slot for capacitor warfare or leave it empty to free up CPU and Powergrid for other modules, such as Webifiers or Warp Scramblers.
- Blueprint Copies with either 1 or 3 runs for the ship hull can be obtained from several Minmatar corporations. However, it might be cheaper to simply buy the ship off the market and use the LPs to equip the ship (with faction ammo for example).