Bombs are ranged, untargeted, area-of-effect weapons. Only stealth bombers equipped with bomb launchers can use them. They are banned from use in empire space, and so can only be used in null sec or wormhole space.
Bombs, when used in well coordinated groups, 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.
How bombs work
Bombs are unlike normal weapon systems as they are unguided and do not require the pilot to lock his target prior to launch. When they are deployed, they will travel forward from the front of the bomb launcher in a straight line, continuing for a fixed amount of time (12 seconds for damage bombs, 7.5 seconds for Void and Lockbreaker bombs) until they reach a distance of 30km from the original launch point, where they will detonate. This detonation causes a large amount of damage of a single type to all ships within 15km radius of the detonation. This damage is indiscriminate and causes the same damage to all ships within the blast zone, including allies and the launching ship. As stealth bombers are notoriously squishy, it is likely that those that are caught within the blast radius will be destroyed. Do not continue flying in a straight line following the launch of a bomb and if flying with other bombers, be aware of their launch points as well.
Bombs take up 75 m3 in a ships cargo hold, meaning that stealth bombers, with an average cargo hold of 260 m3, can only carry three at a time. Usually this isn't an issue since only one bomb will be launched per ship per bombing run, but it can be a logistical factor in larger operations.
Each bomb inflicts 6400 of raw damage, plus an additional 5% damage per level of Covert Ops skill trained. Thus, a character with Covert Ops trained to IV would inflict 7680 raw damage. The damage of each bomb is of a single type and these are:
- Concussion bombs do kinetic damage
- Electron bombs do EM damage
- Scorch bombs do thermal damage
- Shrapnel bombs do explosive damage
- Void bombs do negligible omni damage but neutralize 1,800GJ of energy from their victims' capacitors
- Focused void bombs are similar to Void bombs, but neutralize 15,000GJ of energy in a much smaller area of effect. They are only effective against capital sized ships.
- Lockbreaker bombs do negligible damage but emit an ECM burst with a strength (on all sensor types) of 12.5
Note that Lockbreaker bombs will apply ECM jamming to everyone in the area of affect, both friend and foe, so use them with care. They are generally used to help with an emergency escape. Avoid using or maybe even carrying them unless agreed on in advance with the FC. Void and Lockbreaker bombs travel at 4,000m/s, so it only takes them 7.5s to travel 30km before they explode. Focused Void bombs are slightly slower at 2,000m/s, and so will take 15s to travel 30km.
Stealth bomber types
Each of the four stealth bomber hulls has a damage bonus for one specific type of bomb
- Shrapnel: Explosive damage best used in the Hound
- Concussion: Kinetic damage best used in the Manticore
- Electron: EM damage best used in the Purifier
- Scorch: Thermal damage best used in the Nemesis
Bombs, like all weapon systems, 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.
Bombs have a small number of hitpoints and can be destroyed by smartbombs or by other bombs. 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.
Each of the four damage-dealing bombs has a 99.8% resistance to its own damage type. 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.
A good introduction to bombing can be found at Bombing 101.
- Credit to Hallan Turrek, from his guide "A Merry Life and a Short One"
- Credit to Space Junkie for "Flying Stealth Bombers In EVE Online"