Force Auxiliaries (singular: "Force Auxiliary", sometimes abbreviated as "FAX") are capital-sized logistics and fleet boosting ships. They are the most powerful logistics ships in the game, able to repair large amounts of shield or armor. Each empire faction has one FAX hull:
Following the general theme of the factions, the Apostle and Minokawa have increased damage resistance, while the Ninazu and Lif have stronger local repairs. Furthermore, the Ninazu and Lif have bonuses to both remote shield and armor repairs, while the Apostle and Minokawa each have a bonus to remote capacitor transmitters, and either armor or shield remote repairs. All Force Auxiliaries can also fit two Command Bursts, and have increased range and (racially determined) command burst strength.
In addition to the above hulls, the following pirate faction hulls exist:
Their blueprint copies drop from the Sotiyos of the corresponding faction. This means they are relatively expensive and rare. As FAXs cannot receive remote repairs while in triage they only have very niche use besides being collector items.
The Triage Module
The Triage Module is the defining feature of a Force Auxiliary. The Triage Module has the following effects when activated:
- +400% capital remote logistics amount (Tech II: 450%)
- -75% capital remote logistics duration
- +200% capital remote logistics range
- +900% scan resolution
- +4 maximum locked targets (Tech II: +5)
- -50% (local) armor repairer/shield booster duration
- +100% (local) armor repairer/shield booster amount (Tech II: 120%)
- 60% Remote Sensor Dampener resistance (Tech II: 70%)
- 80% remote assistance impedance
- Immunity to ECM
- 10x ship mass
- -100% maximum velocity
- -100% drone damage
- Cannot receive remote repairs or capacitor transmission
- Disables the use of electronic warfare modules
The Triage Module immobilizes the Force Auxiliary to give it massively amplified local and remote repair abilities. The triage module's cycle time is 5 minutes, and it requires 200 - (level of Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration * 25) Strontium Clathrates ("stront"). While it's active the FAX can't warp, jump, or voluntarily move in any way. (However, it the FAX is moving when it enters Triage, or is bumped, it will uncontrollably move in that direction until it drifts to a stop.)
When active, the Triage Module projects a rippling blue glow across the ship's hull, similar to the animation of an active Assault Damage Control.
The Triage Module does have a significant downside: while it reduces the cycle time of local and remote repair modules, it does not reduce their capacitor costs. This means that once a Force Auxiliary enters Triage, it becomes extremely capacitor-hungry to operate. Prior to the 2020 FAX changes, most fits for armor FAX (Apostle and Ninazu) compensated for this by fitting multiple Capacitor Boosters, and consuming large numbers of cap charges. However, since those changes, FAX have only been able to fit one such module at a time. Because of this, armor FAX now generally fit Cap Rechargers and Batteries in their mid slots.
Usage of Force Auxiliaries and Tactics
FAXs are used to provide a huge amount of remote repair. A single T2 Capital Remote Shield Booster fitted on a Minokawa with T2 triage provides 1581 HP/s remote shield boosts and usually has three or four remote shield boosts fitted. As a comparison a Basilisk with four T2 Large Remote Shield Boosters fitted provides 340 HP/s remote repairs. This means a FAX can about replace a subcap logi squad with respect to the remote repair amount. But, as it does so in triage, it lacks on-grid mobility which can be very important in fights. Because FAXs can’t receive remote support like cap transfers while in triage, they heavily rely on cap boosters. The following sections will explain common strategies for how FAXs are currently used.
Local Repair – Sub Cap Support and Very Small Capital Fights
The triage module provides very strong bonuses to local repairs. The combination of the 100% more reps per circle (120% for T2) and the cycle time bonus results in four times the local repairs (4.4 for T2). On top of that, the hulls either have a bonus to local repairs or a resist bonus which both further increase the local repairs. The exact amount of local repair varies a lot depending how much the FAX pilot invested into the fitting, but you can expect from 25k EHP/s up to 100k EHP/s before heat, with heat increasing that by another nearly 30%. Always bring Hardshell Dose IV and Strong Exile (for armor) or Strong Blue Pill (for shield) on local rep fitted FAXs. In combination they provide more than 40% more local repairs. (Usage of these is already assumed in the above approximations.)
All FAXs have six highslots. One is obviously used for the triage module and you usually fit 3-4 remote reps or cap transfers. This leaves one or two utility highslots. Useful modules there are, for example, a Shield/Armor Command burst with a harmonizing charge loaded. This leads to approximately 10% more repairs as well as buffer if measured in EHP. The Rapid Repair or Active Shielding charge should never be used on a FAX as it does not apply to capital modules. A smartbomb is also a good choice in a subcap support fight, because it can kill drones on you, which reduces the incoming DPS by a good bit.
The amount of local repair limits the engagements in which you can use a local rep FAX. A dreadnought with short range capital guns usually deals around 10k DPS. So, you can calculate roughly how many dreads you can tank, or how many you would need in order to kill a hostile FAX. Presently, this means that local rep FAXs are usually limited to engagements with fewer than ten dreads on the field. As a side note, a Titan could usually volley an active rep FAX with its doomsday.
The common use cases for local repair FAXs are:
- To provide repairs in a wormhole brawl. Because the other side can’t escalate the fight at will, you usually do not have to deal with many hostile caps. For the use of FAXs in wormhole check the external links section.
- As part of a QRF if a (super)carrier or rorqual is tackled by a fleet of subcaps.
- To provoke a capital escalation in a subcap fight. If you have local rep FAX(s) on grid, which prevent the hostiles from killing anything, they might consider dropping dreads.
Besides the obvious option to apply more DPS than the FAX can tank, capacitor warfare is also a good option to break a FAX’s tank. FAXs rely heavily on cap boosters, and so strong neut pressure means they can only activate their reps and hardeners if they activate the cap booster at the same time. Because the activation time of a cap booster is usually longer than for a repair module this results in the FAX being able to tank less. If you only face a single FAX, the cap pressure can be further increase by not shooting the FAX but other ships in its fleet, because the remote reps are less cap efficient than the local reps. As an example, T2 remote repairs on a standard active Apostle fit repair 6016 HP per 1087 GJ = 5.53 HP/GJ, while a local T2 repairs 44069 HP per 2880 GJ = 15.30 HP/GJ. Even though the resists on other ships might be slightly better than on the Apostle itself they are not that much better.
Because neut pressure is the most common way to fight local repair FAXs, they usually fit a lot of cap boosters and often also cap batteries, to provide neut resist. As their primary function is the neut resist and not the extra cap, you usually use subcap faction or abyssal batteries with as high a neut resist as possible. Because these are all midslot modules, armor FAXs like the Ninazu and Apostle can be fitted more neut resistant than the shield FAXs. The Ninazu performs especially well under neut pressure as it has the most midslots. Conversely, the Lif is the most difficult to fit for neut pressure. Because the local tank of a FAX doesn’t matter a lot for the fleet type and the Ninazu and Lif both have the same bonuses to remote reps, the Lif is currently the weakest FAX. (Be aware that this is only in relation with the other FAXs. Any FAX is a very powerful ship.)
Usually, FAX pilots use implant sets. For local repair FAXs, the genolution set is common for its increase in fitting space, capacitor, and buffer, and for slot 6, an additional fitting implant is common. An armor fax would use the RA-700 series in slot 7 for less cap use of remote armor reps and the MC-800 series in slot 8 for more hull buffer in case you bleed through reps. A shield FAX would use the SM-700 series in slot 7 for more shield buffer to make bleeding through less likely and the SE-800 series in slot 8 for less cap use of remote shield boosts.
Buffer FAXs – Damage Sponges for Super Capital Fights
The local repairs of a FAX do not stand a chance if there is too much DPS on the grid. The low buffer is especially problematic as they can easily be volleyed by a group of super carriers or a single Titan doomsday. This means it becomes more viable to utilize buffer fit FAXs and accept that they die if primaried (though if a FAX exits triage while being primary, it can be repped up). The fits balance cost versus EHP to make it cheaper to lose a handful of FAXs rather than a super carrier or titan. Opponents will usually try to clear FAXs before they start focusing on super carriers or titans. If there is a good number of FAXs on grid, their remote repairs simply slow down the kill speed too much. An exception is if there are enough titans present to volley super carriers or titans with doomsdays.
Buffer FAXs usually fit an Emergency Hull Energizer (EHE) which hugely increases the hull resists for a short time. It will usually be activated if the FAX enters hull or if a Titan doomsday is spooling on that FAX. This way the FAX might live slightly longer and slow down the hostile kill speed, even if only a tiny bit. Though since the nerf of the EHE, some groups have decided to fit their FAXs without. As it is normal for buffer FAXs to die, you can easily see the current fits of major alliances by checking their killboards.
The role of Force Auxiliaries was previously filled by the Carrier class of capital ships. In the Rhea expansion the role of carriers was split, with the Carrier class converted in to damage and support ships based around fighter squadrons, and the Force Auxiliary class was created with carriers' previous boni to remote repair, and the ability to equip the Triage module. This is a major reason why both Force Auxiliaries and Carriers share the same Spaceship Command skill.