Electronic Attack Ships
Electronic Attack Ships are a collection of fast and agile frigates which focus on electronic warfare. They are technologically enhanced to offer strong disruption to many targets, and due to their size are quick and mobile, which makes up for their more limited ability to take incoming firepower. They also have a fast-charging capacitor to host the power needed for their abilities. Each race has independently developed one, utilizing advances in technology to further specialize them towards their preferred tactics and needs.
Electronic Attack Ships were a relatively late development, hinting at the up until then low priority for small electronic warfare platforms. However, the establishment of CONCORD's Emergency Militia War Powers Act would soon make them receive a valuable role in the capturing of complexes, as fielding one would ensure a good chance at disrupting the opposing party’s offense. This however is a relatively niche scenario, and so they remained mostly shunned by the rest of capsuleers as they were considered flimsy vessels that’d often receive primary fire.
While Electronic Attack Ships are united under one ship class, their only similarities are that they are frigate sized hulls with strong electronic warfare capabilities. Each one is a distinct specialization of their basic counterparts, sometimes merely boosting its existing capabilities, and otherwise deviating further from the base ship to create something that fits the current mode of operation.
Due to the complex nature of electronics, it wasn’t until Y115 that further improvements were authorized for production, when a new generation of ship electronics that hit the markets the year before reignited the arms race. These improvements included smaller and stronger capacitors, lighter circuit boards that can withstand higher electrical currents, faster memory components as well as the newest and latest onboard software. Throughout changes of the inner guts of the ships also spurred the four races to employ the latest and best in armor, shield and hull technology to compliment the whole.
The Kitsune is Lai Dai’s adaptation of the Griffin to create a vessel with vastly superior jamming capabilities. This has been achieved by using smaller and stronger electronic components, an upgraded CPU as well as a capacitor that while smaller in size is able to store far more charge and use this more efficiently. Initially the additional target lock was impossible to achieve by simply using more advanced technology, and so the decision was made to have a lower shield capacity as well as targeting range, allowing the power saved there to be routed towards the sensor cluster. This was theorized to be offset by the faster movement speed of the Kitsune, but proved to be a practical mistake. As further breakthroughs were made however, today the Kitsune enjoys both the additional target lock, a similar targeting range to the Griffin, and a slightly bolstered shield capacity that gives it a little more of a fighting chance. It’s biggest defense however still remains its ability to swiftly shut down the opponent’s ability to lock, and keep them incapacitated while the rest of the fleet applies the damage. In true Caldari fashion, this ship focusses on its role as a support vessel, and is generally flown without guns, even with the obvious lack of a drone bay.
Scientists at Duvolle labs saw the opportunity to combine sensor dampening with an increased warp disruption range, hereby creating a vessel that when pushed to its limits can warp disrupt while being unable to be hit. While this requires a skilled capsuleer, and sometimes due to the overheating of modules is not something that can be kept up indefinitely, it is still a nasty situation for any foe to find themselves in. Even more so as the Keres does have some offensive capabilities. Important sacrifices were made to get this far though, namely the Keres is slower than the Maulus, and has only just drone bandwidth for one light drone. This was needed to ensure that the Keres could adequately power all of its features. While recent advances in electronics have ensured that the Keres can now be built from lighter and more powerful components, its speed was deemed to still be a worthwhile sacrifice in order to bolster both its survivability, range, and squeeze an additional light drone in there.
Viziam's love for sturdy ships shines through in the design of the Sentinel. While certainly versatile due to its large drone bay, the only offensive it packs are four light drones. However its combination of target disrupting and energy neutralizing can be quite the nightmare, and with such a tank the Sentinel has time to drain its prey and then pick it apart. This has made it the most popular Electronic Attack Frigate for a long time, as it is capable of doing well on its own rather than being resigned to operate as support only. Unsurprisingly, as newer generations of electronics components became lighter and strong, electronic warfare and defense were the priorities for further improvements. Due to already being a decent vessel, one could argue that the Sentinel has benefited the least of all Electronic Attack Frigates from these advancements.
The Hyena is a hull that while being exceptionally well at both slowing down a target with webifiers, and increasing its signature with target painters, gets favoured by capsuleers to perform almost exclusively the former role. This is possible because despite its efforts of Core Complexion to cater to both roles evenly, the Hyena was far stronger when it came to the latter role. It could also be argued that target painting ‘merely’ makes an opponent easier to hit, where as a webifier module or two can slow one down to a crawl, thus resulting in the same outcome except with far less escape chance. As electronics improved, Core Complexion has managed to make target painting a more attractive role, and it will remain to be seen if capsuleers adapt to the theory or stick with tried and tested approach. Overall the Hyena has followed the other Electronic Attack frigates in its progress and is to date a faster and stronger hull than ever before.
A typical crew consists of somewhere around five members, though one or two more may be taken along during longer journeys to help monitor, adjust and if needed perform on-the-fly repairs to the electronic warfare equipment as the powerful currents that run through these mean they could be a potential hazard in case of malfunction. This means that having electronics specialists is not only a luxury, but a requirement for at least one of the crew members. Luckily, the added cost that comes with this is hardly a concern for a capsuleer who can afford such a ship to begin with.
Room on board is meticulously optimized, leading to living space being the absolute minimum. As constant surveillance of the machinery is needed, the sleeping space is limited to only part of total person count as work and leisure time happen in shifts. Sleeping areas and the mess hall are kept on the opposite end of the ship as the capacitor and electronics, so to keep the heat that comes off of their operation contained and easy to vent. This also ensures that the deafening noise when they are running at full capacity can be isolated, allowing for normal conversation and sleep to happen. In case of an electrical fire, the part of the ship that houses the machinery can be put into lockdown, ensuring at least some of the crew’s safety, and keeping the capsuleer out of harm's way as long as the hull is not fatally compromised.