Bombs are ranged, untargeted, area-of-effect (AoE) weapons. The use of bombs is restricted to stealth bombers, the only ships able to equip bomb launchers. They are banned from use in empire space, and so can only be used in null sec or wormhole space.
When used effectively, bombs can be very effective at damaging or even destroying groups of clustered ships. They make excellent weapons for hit-and-run attacks on unsuspecting enemies.
Types and effects
There are seven different bomb types, each of which is specialized for a different purpose.
The four most common bomb types deal large amounts of a single type of damage, and so are most effective when the enemy's fleet composition is known before deployment. Each of these bombs deals a huge amount of raw damage of their respective type, which can be further increased by ship bonuses. Bomb damage scales based on the size of a target's signature radius (they have a fixed explosion radius of 400m) and is also mitigated by damage resistances as normal. Unlike missiles, the speed of a target does not influence the applied damage.
- Concussion Bombs deal Kinetic damage.
- Electron Bombs deal EM damage.
- Scorch Bombs deal Thermal damage.
- Shrapnel Bombs deal Explosive damage.
The remaining three bomb types deal small amounts of omni damage, but have other disrupting effects on ships caught in the blast.
- Void Bombs neutralize 1,800 GJ of energy from the affected ships' capacitors.
- Focused Void Bombs are similar to regular Void Bombs, but neutralize 15,000 GJ of energy in a much smaller area of effect. They are only effective against capital-sized ships.
- Lockbreaker Bombs emit an ECM Burst of 12.5 strength to all sensor types.
Like all other bombs, Lockbreaker Bombs will apply ECM jamming to all ships in the area of affect, so they should be used with care. Because of the potential consequences of unexpected or badly-aimed Lockbreaker use, it is advisable to check with an FC before bringing or using Lockbreaker Bombs.
Bombs are an unusual weapon system, as they are unguided, do not require a locked target to be launched, and depend on the launching ship's orientation to aim. Like missiles, deployed bombs are physical in-game objects while traveling to their destination, and thus can be destroyed by certain methods.
Each bomb takes up 75 m3 in a ship's cargo hold, meaning that stealth bombers, with an average cargo hold of 260 m3, can only carry three at a time. In most cases, this will not be an issue as only one bomb will be launched per ship per bombing run, but it can become a logistical factor in larger operations.
Speed and flight time
Once deployed, bombs travel forward from the front of the bomb launcher in a straight line, continuing until they reach a distance of 30km from the launch point, where they then detonate. Bombs travel at a constant, predetermined speed specific to the bomb's type, and thus also have a predetermined flight time that is useful for coordinating bombing runs.
- Pure damage bombs (Concussion, Electron, Scorch, and Shrapnel) travel at 2,500 m/s, and have a flight time of 12 seconds.
- Void and Lockbreaker bombs travel at 4,000 m/s, and have a flight time of 7.5 seconds.
- Focused Void bombs travel at 2,000 m/s, and have a flight time of 15 seconds.
Upon detonation, bombs cause damage or other disrupting effects to all ships within a 15km radius of the detonation. These effects are indiscriminate, and are applied to all ships within the blast zone, including any allies and even the launching ship. As stealth bombers usually have few hit points or defenses, any bombers caught within a bomb's blast radius will likely be destroyed. Thus, bomber pilots should avoid flying in a straight line following the launch of a bomb, and should also be aware of the launch points of any other allied bombers present.
Like missiles, bombs have very few hit points, and can be destroyed by defender missiles, smartbombs, and even other bombs. While the nature of the former two methods means that not all enemies will have such defenses at their disposal, the interference of friendly bombs can be a very real concern during larger fleet operations. All bombs have a very small signature radius which decreases the damage they will take from other bombs, but in larger fleet operations this on its own is not enough to avoid destroying friendly bombs without taken additional precautions.
Defender missiles will never target standup bombs and standup guided bombs (bombs deployed by Upwell structures). They should not be counted upon for the successful defense of a fleet attacking a structure. Nor should they be counted upon for the defense of structures by a fleet, as the act of targeting anything breaks tether and makes you vulnerable to attack and counter-bombing runs.
Each of the four damage-dealing bomb types has a 99.8% resistance to its own damage type. Therefore, it is necessary for groups of bombers to choose one damage type and all use the corresponding bomb. This minimizes the risk of bombs being lost to friendly fire during large bombing runs.
Each of the four racial stealth bomber hulls has a damage bonus for one specific type of bomb linked to the Covert Ops skill. Each damage bonus corresponds to that race's preferred damage type.
- Hound: 5% bonus to Shrapnel bombs
- Manticore: 5% bonus to Concussion bombs
- Purifier: 5% bonus to Electron bombs
- Nemesis: 5% bonus to Scorch bombs
Bombs deliver less damage to smaller targets and in general a single bomb will not in itself deliver sufficient damage to destroy any ship. It is usual for bombers to fly in a wing to deliver a large amount of area of effect damage to as many ships as possible. It is possible for bombs to be destroyed in flight, the 12 second flight time allows a fast locking ship to identify lock and destroy the target however the pilot would have to be expecting the launch and as the bomber remains cloaked prior to deployment this is an unlikely scenario.
Like missile damage, Bomb damage can be modified by the signature radii of the target ships, which is 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. The deployment of a target painter also serves to increase the signature radius of the targeted ship.
A good introduction to bombing can be found at Bombing 101.