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In a gang with a ranged EWar squad - mainly ECM and damp boats - that ranged squad needs to be protected, as it poses a significant threat to the targets, and will thus be a primary target for the target force.
The EWar squad is threatened by two basic setups:
- Speed setups - inties, vagas, the odd stabber
- Sniping setups - mostly sniping BS that sit "down" on the gate
To defend against speed setups, counter with webifying force recons or drone-speed / track-disrupt boats. Watch for ships "burning up" to your EWar group and counter them.
- Huginn (Force Protection)
- Rapier (Force Protection)
- Arbitrator (Force Protection)
To defend against sniping setups, have all members of the EWar squad orbit each other to increase transversal speed, and counter snipers with ECM/damp. A part of your ECM/damp force should be set aside to protect that force. The two basic ways to neutralize a sniper are to damp their range, or to ECM them and damp their lock time. The former tactic is a surer way to take a sniper out, the latter tactic may work better with a large opposing force. Identify any snipers in the target fleet and neutralize them immediately. If you wait for them to make the first move, they will alphastrike you out of the black.
- Celestis (ECM support / Force Protection)
EWar Force go boom
One or two pilots need to be dedicated to looking out for threats to the range EWar squad. If this is not done, threats will go undetected and uncountered. It is recommended to let the speed-counter pilot(s) look out for speed threats, and the snipe-counter pilot(s) look out for sniping threats.
The squad commander needs to be ready to warp squad at an instant - it may make sense to have one of the protection pilots be the squad commander, as (s)he will have a clearer head to direct the squad than an ECM pilot who is busily micro-managing her/his ECM modules.
(Current as of Dominion Mar 2010)
Force Protection setups for Arbitrator, designed to kill inties and the occasional vagabond. With variations for merely "holding off" vagabonds. Does not protect against snipers - ECM, damps or a combination thereof will be needed to keep snipers from taking out the EWar group.
The force that is being protected here is your long-range EWar squad - ECM boats mostly, with some damps likely thrown in. This is not the be-all-end-all of force protection, but it makes for a good (and sometimes unexpected) addition.
Ability to use minny II drones is pretty much a must, you won't be doing enough damage otherwise. Drone Navigation V is preferred, but the build works with IV. If you use the track disrupt variant, be sure to have your second-tier track disrupt skill to IV.
Flying a force protection arby
Hang with the ECM crowd at 100km+ off. Watch for incoming inties and/or vagas, or other ships "blipping up" to you.
For the drone-go-zoom build: Kill inties with your warrior-IIs. Kill vagas with your valkyrie-IIs. You can control your drones up to 90km out - preferred tactic is to sic the drones on the target when it is 30-40km off, so the drones have time to kill it when the target realizes what is happening and starts fleeing. Keep some hammerhead-IIs around just in case some cheeky cruisers decide to hang with your ECM crowd.
For the track-disrupt build: Keep fast vagas off by track-disrupting them. You won't be killing them, though.
[Arbitrator, ZOOM] Signal Amplifier II Signal Amplifier II Signal Amplifier II Damage Control II Drone Navigation Computer I Drone Navigation Computer I Omnidirectional Tracking Link I 10MN MicroWarpdrive I Drone Link Augmentor I Drone Link Augmentor I Medium Energy Neutralizer II Medium Energy Neutralizer II Warrior II x5 Warrior II x5 Valkyrie II x5 Hammerhead II x5
Discussion and Variations
The two Omnidirectional Tracking Link modules increase the tracking of your drones, increasing the chance that they will hit. The tradeoff is lower drone speed - these drones will go around 9.2km/sec and 4.5km/sec respectively.
Alternative fits use one more Drone Nav for higher drone speed but lower drone tracking, possibly a worthwhile thing if you find you are up against fast opponents that still outrun your drones.
Another alternative fit is to fit one or two tracking disruptors in the mids with range-script, to scare off (but not actually damage) a vaga, instead of the Omnis.
The Neuts are not actually used much in combat, I have found - a small remote armor rep is an option to allow you to repair drones that have taken damage.
[Arbitrator, Disrupt] Signal Amplifier II Signal Amplifier II Signal Amplifier II Damage Control II Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Drone Link Augmentor I Drone Link Augmentor I Medium Energy Neutralizer II Medium Energy Neutralizer II Warrior II x5 Warrior II x5 Valkyrie II x5 Hammerhead II x5
Your Warrior-IIs go a lot slower now - on the order of 6.4km/s-ish. The Valk-IIs may no longer be worth it, but I kept them in for flexibility. You will "hold off" a vagabond with your track disrupts. Two tracks will shut down one vaga, so you can keep two vagas away from your force.
Ultimately, killing something is a preferred tactic over scaring it away in my book - I have, thus, not flown this variant yet. I have flown a two track-disrupt drone-go-zoom variant to good effect, though I will likely go for the omni build overall.