A Hydra gang refers to any light-ship gang utilising The Hydra Principle.
To put it simply, the Hydra principle combines the high speed and low signature radius of primarily afterburning frigates with the debilitating effects of electronic warfare to create a very cheap but effective wolfpack. Hydra gangs rely on superior numbers of heavy electronic warfare to overcome the limits of isk and skillpoints.
One of the core principles of the Hydra Principle is redundancy - the key elements of the fleet such as tackle, dps and electronic warfare are split evenly among all members of the fleet, with every ship in the fleet ideally providing a little bit of all three. This means that Hydra fleets remain relatively effective regardless of which ships are destroyed.
Ideally, a 20 person Hydra fleet would consist of the following:
15 Hydra frigates or destroyers 2 Skirmish interceptors 2 Chaser tacklers 1 Interdictor
Note that while the main bulk of the Hydra fleet is usually t1 frigates or destroyers, t2 and faction frigates (especially assault frigates and EAFs) are also excellent choices for such a gang.
Hydra frigates (or destroyers) can be any t1, t2 or faction frigate or destroyer. They should be set up to include the following:
- Afterburners - to ensure high speed while maintaining a low signature radius.
- Weapons with a range of at least 6km - this allows the gang to engage outside smartbomb range, since smartbombs are very common against frigate gangs.
- Tackle and Electronic Warfare in any spare mid slots - this provides the main strength of the frigate gang. Tracking disruptors in particular are very effective for this.
- Tank should use low slots only, and is secondary to all of the above. Other useful low slot modules include speed, range and damage mods.
Note that griffins and kitsunes (which are very useful in a Hydra fleet) should focus on their role as EWAR ships above everything else. While this doesn't stick to the core principles of the hydra fleet, the way in which ECM works makes these ships work much more effectively when fit specifically for it. Ships other than griffins and kitsunes should not fit ECM.
You can see Recommended Ship Setups for BASIC for some examples.
These provide the initial tackle for the Hydra gang, and often double as scouts for the gang. See Skirmish Interceptors for more information.
Skirmish interceptors in a Hydra gang should always fit a long point and MWD, and should be fleet interceptors (stiletto, ares, malediction or raptor).
These are fast, tanked ships (usually assault frigs or combat inties) with a MWD (or both MWD and afterburner) and a scram. These serve to catch and slow down high speed ships which would otherwise out-run the afterburning frigates forming the core of the gang.
Chaser tacklers need quite substantial tanks to ensure they can survive the additional damage they will sustain while running their MWD (since they will no longer have the protection of low signature radius).
Balancing the Fleet
For maximum effectiveness, you should balance your Hydra fleet to make sure you have roughly similar numbers of each tackle and EWAR module. Slight preference should be given to scrams and webs, as well as to tracking disruptors (since these combine very effectively with the low signature radius of frigate fleets). For this purpose, Agony uses the Agony Fleet Manager