NPC Mining Operations
NPC mining operations are mining fleets formed by NPC corporations in order to mine nearby asteroid fields to support their industry. They can be attacked and killed for their drops. If attacked they will call in a response fleet to destroy the aggressor. These fleets can be identified from normal rats from "♦" in front of their name.
The mining / industrial ships react to hostile players on grid with them. They consider anyone who attacks them or has poor standings as hostile.
The mining ships / industrial ships will warp off to a deadspace safespot when hostiles are on grid. They can be scanned down with combat probes.
When mining ships / industrial ship see hostiles they will call in a response fleet that will warp on grid in a few seconds.
The response fleet will attack the ship that they deem hostile all who help the attacker with remote assistance modules.
The mining fleet will sit on an asteroid field. The fleet will be a group of mining ships ranging from ventures, mining barges to exhumers. Periodically a hauler will warp in for a moment and then warp off to a station and dock. The occurrence frequency of the hauler depends on the mining vessels at field, the more efficient mining vessels needs frequent hauler runs to empty their ore holds. Hauler can be T1 industrial or T2 industrial. While T1 industrial needs 1 point to tackle and hold it on position, T2 variant needs at least 3 points to hold.
The defence fleet can include frigates, cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships and logistic support ships. The combat ships will point and, and use EWAR suited to their faction. Depending on the system's security status the hull types of the defence fleet may vary from frigates to battleships. Higher security systems has higher chance to have frigate level defence fleet while the lower security systems tends to have cruiser and even battleship defense fleet. Defense fleet is very successful in simulating a capable capsuleer combat (PvP) fleet with having damage dealer ships as well support ships like logistics, tackle and e-war. When the fleet landed on grid, the tacklers will land point and webs on you while E-War targets your electronic systems while combat ships attack your ship to destroy it. Logistics will repair their fleet members whenever they take any damage from attacker(s).
Capsuleers who engage the mining fleet operation get a standing hit from related NPC corporation. The loss is very small, either -0.0667% or -0.08% per ship kill. Fighting the mining fleets incurs no faction standing losses. A capsuleer with good standings with the defence fleet will get repairs from defence fleet if attacked by someone else.
There are two approaches that can be used to solo kill the NPC hauler.
First approach needs a specific ABC (Attack Battlecruiser) fitting with very high volley damage output that can destroy a T1 hauler with one cycle of your weapons. You approach the T1 hauler when he warps on grid, you come very close and you tackle and one-shot the hauler, loot it, align out and warp out before defense fleet arrives. It is a very efficient and very good way to kill T1 Haulers, however, you cannot destroy T2 haulers with one-shoot.
Second approach is to use a Hecate with Polarized Light Neutron Blasters. It can put out around 1100-1350 DPS and align in under 2 seconds. If you do not have a 2 second align time and 1100 or more DPS, this will not work. MWD to 0 of the NPC hauler (this only works on T1 haulers), overheat your guns and warp scramble and fire on it. It should die in around 8-10 seconds. Loot the wreck and dock or tether.
Third approach needs much effort then the first and with proper setup you can destroy both T1 and T2 haulers. It needs effort and extra modules in your cargohold. Whenever you spot a NPC mining fleet, you need to create a ping Bookmark 400-500km away from the belt they are mining. Warp to that ping and set a Mobile Depot beforehand and warp back to the belt. Whenever hauler warps in, you approach the hauler, and when you are close you start aligning to the Mobile Depot you set at ping bookmark and then tackle and engage the hauler. Seconds later you will spot the defense fleet on d-scan and here you need to warp to Mobile Depot 400-500 km away from the belt. That will leave hauler free to warp away to run. When you land to Mobile Depot, equip with Combat Probes and combat probe the NPC mining fleet since they are all warped to a deadspace safe location. Be careful about the approaching defense fleet while you are probing and don't let them to come very close (their tackle range) When you combat probe the NPC hauler, bookmark its location. After probing is finished and you have the hauler's location, you can refit your weapons and defense modules by unfitting combat probes. You can now warp to hauler at 100km range! And before landing on grid try to burn another ping bookmark 500 km far. This is very important and may need some practice. So be sure that you burn a Bookmark 400-500km far from the hauler! And whenever you landed on grid, warp to the ping bookmark you have just created! Now the defense fleet on grid (since when you warp away from belt, the defense fleet warps back to the deadspace safe location of their fleet) will target you and approaches you while you are 500km away! Now wait for them to come to an optimum distance where they cannot approach back to their hauler in short time while you warp to the hauler again and start engaging it!
Response fleet is very good at simulating capsuleer PvP fleets since they have ships with various roles (combat, e-war, logistics, tackle) and they can be used for practicing PvP fleet engagements. FC can apply his/her fleet tactics and doctrine to see whether they are good to go for PvP or not.
Strong Box drops from Hauler. A Strong Box can hold various items such as Faction Module BPCs, Faction Drone BPCs and Permanent Empire Faction Skins for ORE Mining Vessel and Industrial Ships. The wrecks of T2 ships can be salvaged for T2 Salvage Materials and Ore can be looted. No further drop from defense (combat) fleet.