Stealth Bombers

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Stealth bombers, often abbreviated as "bombers", represent a captivating subclass of frigates in EVE Online. Equipped with cloaking devices, these ships can traverse star systems without being detected by directional scanners or combat probes. When flying solo, stealth bombers excel at surveillance and intelligence gathering.

In addition to cloaked scouting and reconnaissance, stealth bombers can support fleets with on-grid electronic warfare and damage capabilities. They can silently approach targets and unveil themselves at a strategically chosen moment to unleash potent torpedoes and bombs. As one of New Eden's most formidable T2 frigates, stealth bombers boast considerable firepower, but they also exhibit fragility and a slow base time to warp.

This combination of attributes makes every uncloaked moment for stealth bombers a high-stakes encounter, both for the pilots and their adversaries. To effectively command these powerful ships, pilots must remain acutely aware of their vulnerabilities and exercise caution.

Stealth Bombers

Stealth bombers are specialized frigates that can warp while cloaked and lack sensor recalibration delays, enabling them to lock targets immediately after decloaking. Equipped with battleship-sized torpedo launchers and bomb launchers, they can deploy area-of-effect weapons exclusively in nullsec or wormhole space. Stealth bombers deliver exceptional alpha strike damage, but their fragility makes them vulnerable to swift destruction if they sustain damage. Consequently, bomber pilots often launch a few salvos or a single bomb before warping away and recloaking. In well-coordinated groups, stealth bombers pose a significant threat to large ships, including capital vessels, particularly in nullsec.

Each stealth bomber has a Covert Ops-based damage bonus for bombs (5% per level) and torpedoes (15% per level) reflecting its empire's associated damage type.

  • AmarrPurifier The Purifier has the lowest CPU, making it harder to fit. With bonuses for EM torpedoes and bombs, it is effective against shielded targets
  • CaldariManticore Bonused for Kinetic torpedoes and bombs, the Manticore is the easiest stealth bomber to fit due to its high CPU.
  • GallenteNemesis With bonuses for Thermal torpedoes and bombs, the Nemesis is the middle of the pack and a solid pick for most situations. Like the Manticore, its four mid slots offer some extra utility.
  • MinmatarHound The Hound has the best base time to warp of the stealth bombers. Its bonuses for Explosive torpedoes and bombs make it effective against armored targets

There is also the SerpentisVirtuoso, an Alliance Tournament variant of the Nemesis that has some attributes of a SerpentisDaredevil attack frigate. As a limited edition AT ship, the Virtuoso is quite rare and does not have a big role in everyday gameplay.

Stealth Bombers all have the following bonuses, regardless of Empire:

  • 75% bonus to torpedo velocity
  • 50% bonus to torpedo flight time
  • 99.65% bonus reduction in Torpedo Launcher powergrid needs
  • 50.00% bonus reduction in Cloak CPU usage
  • 100.00% bonus targeting delay after decloaking
Hound Manticore Nemesis Purifier
The Minmatar Hound
The Caldari Manticore
The Gallente Nemesis
The Amarr Purifier

Torpedoes

Torpedos are slow flying, hard-hitting, long-range missiles launched by torpedo launchers. Launchers are massive compared to typical frigate-sized weapon systems and are designed for extended bombardments of hard targets like battleships and stations. Torpedo launcher magazines have a large capacity, which is offset by their slow firing rate, long flight times, and trouble applying damage to small, fast ships. To prevent the obvious exploit of launching torpedoes and then warping out before the torpedoes connect, if a ship enters warp, all torpedoes in-flight vanish immediately. This means that especially at long range, bombers on a torpedo run must stay on grid until all of their fired torpedoes have landed to avoid losing damage. The balance between the stealth bomber's fragility and the need to stay on grid is part of the inherent challenge of flying these hulls.

Each torpedo type corresponds to a specific damage type in EVE. Inferno, Mjolnir, Nova, and Scourge apply thermal, EM, explosive, and kinetic damage, in that order. Each torpedo inflicts only one type of damage, but all torpedoes deal the same amount of damage. Stealth bombers are bonused for their empire's damage type, so only one type of torpedo is carried in a given bomber's hold.

Bombs

Bombs are untargeted, area-of-effect (AoE) weapons fired by bomb launchers, with stealth bombers being the sole ships capable of equipping them. The use of bombs is prohibited in empire space, restricting their deployment to nullsec or wormhole space outside of deadspace pockets.

When skillfully employed, bombs can effectively damage or destroy groups of clustered ships, making them ideal for hit-and-run attacks on unsuspecting foes.

Essentially, bombs are unguided missiles that deal AoE damage of a specific type. Launched from the front of a stealth bomber, they travel in a straight line for 30 km at 3 km/s for 10 seconds before detonating. Bombs do not require a target lock, and their direction depends on the stealth bomber's orientation upon activating the bomb launcher. To successfully utilize these high-damage weapons, pilots must master timing, direction, and skill to align the stealth bomber with a target, approach, uncloak, launch a bomb at 30 km, and evade capture.

Bombs are separated into two categories.

  • Damage Bombs: Unguided weapons delivering 5,800 points of thermal, EM, explosive and kinetic damage with a 400m explosion radius.
  • Utility Bombs: Bombs inflicting a small amount of omni-damage alongside an EWAR effect.
    • Void bombs neutralize 1,800 GJ of energy from the affected ships' capacitors.
    • Focused Void Bombs: 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 Electronic Counter Measure (ECM) burst of 12.5 strength to all sensor types.

Fitting

Essential modules

Given the limited fitting space on stealth bombers, it is crucial to discuss the indispensable modules for an effective fit:

  1. Covert Ops Cloaking Device II: As the foundation of stealth bomber piloting, this cloaking device is essential. A stealth bomber without a cloak is a non-starter; if you cannot fit a Covert Ops cloak, you should not fly a stealth bomber.
  2. Torpedo launchers/bomb launchers: Stealth bombers are the sole ships capable of mounting bomb launchers and the only sub-battleship vessels that can fit torpedo launchers. With bonuses for both, they are mandatory fits (depending upon the use case).
  3. Ballistic Control System (BCS) modules: BCS modules significantly boost torpedo damage and rate of fire, but demand substantial CPU fitting space.
  4. Propulsion Module (afterburner/microwarp drive): Due to their slow base velocity (275m/s - 310m/s), stealth bombers require propulsion modules.

After the essentials, there will be some flexibility.

  • Depending on skills and fit, pilots may equip a high slot with a bomb launcher or an expanded probe launcher in addition to their torpedo launchers.
  • EWAR modules, such as target painters, remote sensor dampeners, warp disruptors, and warp scramblers, are commonly used in available mid-slots following the propulsion module.
  • If a fit is too tight, a Co-processor may occupy a low slot instead of an additional Ballistic Control System.

Rigs

Rig choices depend on a pilot's skills and fitting requirements. Missile launching rigs, such as the Warhead Calefaction Catalyst (boosts torpedo damage) and the Warhead Rigor Catalyst (decreases missile explosion radius for increased effectiveness against smaller targets), are popular. However, they also increase CPU usage for each launcher, complicating fitting on already challenging bomber hulls.

The Processor Overclocking Unit, which increases ship CPU output at the cost of slower shield regeneration, is also useful for stealth bombers. As stealth bomber tactics prioritize escape over combat, the shield regeneration penalty is acceptable. With these rigs fitting Tech 2 Torpedo launchers and other standard modules, including the Bomb Launcher, is possible.

Astronautic rigs like Low Friction Nozzle Joints and Poly-Carbon Engine Housing, which enhance ship agility and speed, are also utilized on bombers for swift alignment and grid escape when deploying bombs. The trade-off is reduced armor, making the bomber more fragile, but increasing the likelihood of escape.

Skills

While the minimum skills will allow a pilot to get into the ship, the covert ops cloak, and the weapons systems, to fit and fly the ship well requires a more substantial skill train.

Minimum skills

To fly a stealth bomber:

To operate a covert ops cloaking device module:

To operate a torpedo Launcher module:

To launch bombs:

Suggested skills

The following skills aim to enhance the bomber's strengths, reduce CPU and power consumption, and contribute to its survivability.

In addition, increasing these relevant missile, bomb, and spaceship command skills to V has significant impact

Different roles of Stealth Bombers

Stealth bombers find their place in various roles across different types of space, seamlessly integrating with fleets.

Black Ops

Stealth bombers can effectively participate in black ops operations involving all cloaky ships.

  1. Recon identifies and tackles a target in System A.
  2. The rest of the gang, waiting in a neighboring system or wormhole, or using a black ops battleship's covert jump portal, jumps to the target system.
  3. In this role, bombers are usually optimized for torpedoes instead of bombs.

Bomber wing

Stealth bombers can support a large fleet. A sizable bomber force operates independently from the main fleet, often as a separate in-game fleet under their own bomber FC. In non-empire space, bombers can execute bombing runs on enemy fleets to destroy, weaken, or distract them, providing support for the main fleet. Bombers in this role are typically equipped with bombs.

Bomb squadron

A bomb squadron typically consists of seven bombers, all launching the same type of bomb and ideally using the same type of bomber hull. Coordinating multiple bomb launches increases complexity, making the FC's skill crucial. Multiple bomber wings can execute bomb runs on a single target.

Torpedo damage dealer

Applicable in Wormspace, Nullspace, Low-security, and High-security space, Bombers can be employed in frigate gangs to deliver a powerful punch against larger targets. EVE University roams may occasionally encounter large signature targets, where torpedoes can inflict significant damage. Even against small signature targets, torpedoes contribute to overall damage.

  1. Carry a primary torpedo loadout.
  2. Operate independently of fleet movement.
  3. Engage targets of opportunity.
  4. When attached to a high or low-security roaming fleet, bombers often swap bomb launchers for torpedo launchers. In this role, bombers function like cloaked EWAR ships: they warp in at range, align out, choose a target, uncloak, apply EWAR, activate torpedoes, and warp out when targeted. If left undisturbed, a bomber's torpedoes can deal substantial damage to ships with large signature radii (battlecruisers and battleships). However, frequent targeting and warping away considerably reduces inflicted damage.

Fleet scout

A bomber within a fleet can serve as a scout, reporting target movements and intelligence to the FC.

  1. Scout ahead or behind the main body.
  2. Evade gate camps and enemy fleets.
  3. Remain cloaked at a safe distance from stargates and deadspace sites, reporting target activity.
  4. Position undetected behind target ships to provide a tactical fleet warp-in.

Tips

General Stealth Bomber tips

  • Run Away When deploying bombs, warp away as your bomb is released. With few exceptions, stealth bombers do not remain on grid post-bomb release. Uncloak, bombs away, then run away.
  • Reload: As soon as practical, make sure you reload your bomb and/or torpedo launchers. Many escape points are far enough away that you are able to uncloak and complete a 10 second reload prior to landing. A fully loaded stealth bomber has more utility than a half empty launcher. Plus, it frees up space in cargo for more bombs or even loot if your run was wildly successful.
  • Shotgun away and recloak For making your getaway, you and your fleet will be warping to a pre-planned escape point. If everyone successfully cloaked upon warping away from the bomb run, then everyone will land cloaked without issue. However, if any of the other stealth bombers land uncloaked or became uncloaked during warp, shotgun away from where you landed with the goal of putting at least 2,500 meters between you and your fleet mates. Recloak once you have a safe distance. Remember, ABC: Always Be Cloaked
  • Reset: After reaching your escape point the bomber leader may have you reset at an observation point. Being reloaded, recloaked, and ready-to-go may give your squadron the opportunity to restrike a target.

Targets

Stealth bomber torpedoes are highly effective against larger targets such as battlecruisers and battleships due to EVE's missile mechanics. As the ship's signature radius approaches the explosion size, more damage is inflicted. Conversely, smaller ships take considerably less damage from torpedoes. For instance, a torpedo's 400-meter explosion deals minimal damage to cruiser-sized ships and smaller.

Target painters play a crucial role in stealth bomber fleets because of this. Applying just three target painters to a Vexor Navy Issue cruiser, for example, increases its signature radius from 135m to 234m, significantly improving torpedo damage application. When a target-painted ship activates a microwarpdrive, the 500% signature radius bloom combined with target painting results in a substantial increase in damage inflicted on that ship.

It is generally advisable to avoid engaging frigates and destroyers. Despite target painting and signature bloom, these smaller ships pose a greater threat to bombers than bombers do to them.

Threats to Stealth Bombers

  • Interceptors/Fast Frigates: With their on-grid speed, these ships can close a 50km gap between you and the battle in just a few seconds. Keep your overview sorted by range, and when you notice someone quickly ascending the list, it's time to warp away, cloak, and re-engage from a different angle.
  • Sniper ships: Tornadoes, Nagas, Oracles, Apocalypses, Zealots, or any ships fitted for long-range attacks can pose a serious threat. They only need to hit you once, and even if you have a sensor dampener fitted, it won't be effective enough to protect you from their attacks.
  • Drones: If a target's drones continue to attack, you'll be unable to cloak. Even if the target is destroyed, their drones can still prevent you from cloaking by keeping you locked. The key is to avoid being locked in the first place.
  • Heavy Assault Cruisers (HACs) / Cruisers: Ships like Vagabonds and Cynabals are designed to destroy frigates. These vessels have speed, range, drones, and deal significant damage. If they're on the field, stay cloaked until they're eliminated, or closely monitor them for signs they're coming after you.

See also

External links