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Fighters are a special carrier-only type of drone. These extra-large drones require 5000m3 of space each, but can have as much armor as a cruiser and output enough damage to match. Fighters are unlike other drones in that they can follow their targets through warp and can be "assigned" to other pilots' control. However, with a 12x training time modifier this skill is a large time investment. Only pilots wishing to fly carriers in combat will have a need to train this skill at all.
Using Assigned Fighters
The most common usage of fighter drones on fleet ops is for carriers to assign them to small, fast-locking ships like Interceptors. Ships with assigned fighters can then use them like normal drones, with the added bonus that the fighters will follow them anywhere in the same system without needing to be scooped or launched. Once sent to attack a target, fighters will follow it anywhere in the same system until it is dead, cloaked or they are recalled. On fleet ops it's usually a bad idea to let fighters follow hostiles as they warp out, because they can be easily led into a trap such as an enemy POS where they can be killed. Regarding skills, assigned fighters essentially replace your regular drones. You can control one per level of Drones you have trained, although generally should only be using fighters with Drones to V. Assigned fighters take the place of standard drones so you can't exceed your Drones limit by using both. Fighters also go towards (and actually exceed) the Drone Bandwidth for your ship, so even if only have 4 or fewer assigned to you, you can't launch any of your own drones to fill the gap. Skills that affect drone damage, health and speed are only taken from the carrier pilot providing fighters, someone controlling them only uses the Drones skill and nothing else.
Fighters have lower accuracy than all other drones, which makes using them against smaller targets a bad idea. They will only hit frigates and destroyers if they are not moving or still on approach for attacking.
Frigates/Inties/AFs: Fighters can't hit them, although there is a very small chance you can instapop them if they have a MWD on, it's not worth it, use Light drones.
Destroyers/Interdictors: Fighters can't normally hit them, although there is a very small chance you can instapop them if they have a MWD on, it's not worth it, use Light drones, or heavies if you have them webbed.
Cruisers/HACs/Recons: Fighters will shred them if they have a MWD on, otherwise, they will miss enough that Heavies are better, use Ogres or Berserkers unless you are trying to exploit a resist hole.
Battlecruisers/Command Ships: Fighters don't track perfectly but do reasonable damage, BCs die in 20 seconds to 10 fighters, Command ships in 40-60. These are the best targets as they die faster than cruisers or battleships.
Battleships: These are what fighters were designed to kill, a Raven will die in approximately 60 seconds to 10 fighters. Although it takes approximately fifty smartbomb activations to kill fighters, be careful of groups of smartbombing battleships.
Dreads: They don't miss, if you've taken out the BC/BS support go ahead. Moroses may try killing the fighters with their drones.
Carriers/MSs/Titans: They pack smartbombs 90% of the time so be very careful if you are attacking with fighters, if they have their own drones out they may not be smartbombing.
Types of Fighters
There are four types of fighters, amazingly enough representing each of the four racial drone types. Unlike normal drones, however, fighters have split damage types, bringing them more in line with the types of damage normally done by the various racial ammunition types. All fighters do a base 75 damage before damage modifications, having a 50/25 damage type split. Each fighter type does the same raw dps but with slightly different damage modifiers and ROF.
Dragonfly - 50 Kinetic / 25 Thermal, 4.25x damage modifier, 6.38s ROF = 50dps
Einherji - 50 Explosive / 25 Kinetic, 2.5x damage modifier, 3.275s ROF = 50dps
Firbolg - 50 Thermal / 25 Kinetic, 3.5x damage modifier, 5.25s ROF = 50dps
Templar - 50 EM / 25 Thermal, 4x damage modifier, 6s ROF = 50dps
Effective Hitpoints (thousands)
(related) Bombs Damage (thousand):
1 bomb: base: 6.4; covops IV: 7.68; covops V: 8.0
2 bombs: base: 12.8; covops IV: 15.3; covops V: 16.0
Level I: All Fighters