POS Defense

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Text by Gienah Corvus

(January, 2009)

Consulting Team:

Tank Charlie, Graeme, Mystique Raven, Dr oozy, Simon Weston


Player Owned Starbases are one of two types of stations that can be operated in space by corporations and alliances. Starbases are an important and sometimes critical asset for many alliances, as they are used to construct advanced capital ships, store ships and supplies deep in space, conduct advanced blueprint research, and mine and combine moon metals necessary in the production of T2 ships and items. They are also used to gain and hold sovereignty in unregulated space, and can serve as well-fortified defensive combat stations and rally points. This article will discuss Player Owned Starbases, and how individual pilots can assist in defense by manually operating starbase weapons.

Player Owned Starbase Overview

Control Tower

The term Player Owned Starbase, often referred to as a Player Owned Structure, or POS, describes a collection of one or more items anchored together in space. Every POS consists of a Control Tower (Tower) and usually has several other structures. Control towers come in three different sizes for each race, and have faction upgraded versions available. Towers must be anchored near moons and brought online, and require constant fuel to remain online. Once online, a tower creates a large shield that resembles a bubble surrounding the tower. Pilots can not target through the shield, so a pilot inside is safe from attack. However, pilots within the shield are prohibited from targeting, so they cannot target opponents outside the shield, or use the safety of the shield to repair friendlies.

Properly fueled towers (fuel type required is determined by the racial affiliation of the tower) create Powergrid and CPU. Similar to ship fittings, this grid and CPU is used to supply various additional structures anchored and brought online near the tower. Larger towers produce significantly more grid and CPU than smaller towers, but have increased fuel consumption as well.

Weapon Systems

The number and type of weapon and Electronic Warfare (EW) batteries that can be supplied by the tower will vary depending on other structures (mobile labs, hangar arrays, etc.) requiring tower resources, the size of the batteries, and the size of the tower. A large tower with only weapon and EW batteries (sometimes referred to as a "Deathstar") can supply a significant number of them with resources.

Starbase weapon batteries are anchorable versions of the weapons used by cruisers, battleships, and dreadnoughts, and have the same advantages and disadvantages of their ship counterparts. The battery versions generally receive significant bonuses to range and damage. The batteries are anchored and placed online outside the shield, allowing them to target (and be targeted by) hostile ships. Many batteries receive additional bonuses when used with a control tower of the corresponding racial type. However, due to the size of these batteries, they are generally very slow to lock targets, suffer a slow rate of fire, and in the case of turret batteries, have extremely slow tracking speeds. Weapon batteries are available in the types associated with their race, and include turret batteries (hybrid, laser, and projectile) and missile batteries. Note that shield hardening arrays are also availble, but as they are not a part of active defense, they will not be discussed here.

Weapon and Electronic Warfare Batteries

Sensor Resolution

A significant consideration with POS defense is the amount of time required acquiring target lock with various sized weapon and EW batteries. The list below illustrates the scan resolution for various batteries.

  • Small weapon batteries / 250mm
  • Medium weapon batteries / 75mm
  • ECM batteries / 50mm
  • Large weapon batteries / 35mm
  • Warp disrupter battery / 30mm
  • Warp scrambler battery / 30mm
  • Stasis webifier battery / 30mm
  • Sensor dampining battery / 10mm

Tracking Speeds

Another consideration is the slow tracking speed of the various turret batteries.

rad/sec (unmodified)

  • Railgun Battery
    • Small 0.01104
    • Med 0.004106667
    • Large 0.00154
  • Blaster Battery
    • Small 0.06
    • Med 0.0487125
    • Large 0.009278571
  • Beam Laser Battery
    • Small 0.01056
    • Med 0.004367201
    • Large 0.001633333
  • Pulse Laser Battery
    • Small 0.024761905
    • Med 0.020377358
    • Large 0.003802817
  • Artillery Battery
    • Small 0.00704
    • Med 0.002566845
    • Large 0.0012
  • AutoCannon Battery
    • Small 0.040228571
    • Med 0.03456
    • Large 0.006171429

Missile Batteries

Missile batteries have a slow rate of fire (24 seconds), and missiles take considerable time to reach their target. Due to these limitations, they are generally only suitable for use with Caldari towers, which grant them rate of fire and missile velocity bonuses.

Electronic Warfare Batteries

There are several Electronic Warfare battery types. Some towers grant bonuses to EW batteries associated with their race. The basic statistics are shown below.

  • Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) Batteries
    • 200 Km optimal range, 100 Km falloff
    • Scramble strength primary race 45, all others 15
  • Sensor Dampening Battery
    • 150 Km optimal range, 150 Km falloff
    • Scan resolution and targeting range –50%
  • Stasis Webification Battery
    • 150 Km range
    • Velocity modifier –75%
  • Warp Disruption Battery
    • 150 Km range
    • Warp scramble strength 3
  • Warp Scrambling Battery
    • 75 Km range
    • Warp scramble strength 6
  • Energy Neutralizing Battery
    • 250 Km range
    • 1,000 energy removed, 10 second cycle

Starbase Defense Operation

Automatic Defense

The starbase tower is the “brain” of its automatic defense. Corporation members with the Configure Starbase Equipment role configure the starbase to instruct it when to agress. It can be set to agress using several different criteria including standings and security status.

When a ship enters activation range, the tower determines if it is hostile, and if so, instructs the batteries to engage. It cycles through multiple targets somewhat randomly. Because of this random targeting, starbase batteries are best operated by corporation members.

Manual Starbase Defense

In order for a member to manually operate the starbase weapon and EW batteries, the member must have the Starbase Defense Management skill. It is a skill in the “corporation management” category, and has a prerequisite of Anchoring V. Each level of Starbase Defense Management allows the member to control one additional battery, up to a total of five. Members must also have the Starbase Defense Operator role granted by a director or CEO in order to manually operate the batteries. Unlike ship weapons and EW modules, pilot skills will not pass bonuses to starbase batteries. Additionally, no weapon specific skills are required to operate the batteries, as long as the member has Starbase Defense Management.

To control starbase batteries, the pilot must be within 15 KM of the control tower (inside the shield). Additionally, no ship weapons, propulsion, or other mods may be activated while controlling starbase batteries. The ship’s HUD is replaced by the icons for the weapons being controlled by the pilot.

Operating Defenses Manually (POS Gunner)

If a member has the proper skills and the appropriate role, and is within range of the tower, that member may assume manual control of one or more batteries. Several members working together can coordinate and direct fire of the starbase weapon and EW batteries for an effective defense. The interface for controlling starbase batteries is somewhat clunky and complicated. Note that batteries under manual control will cease-fire and unlock targets if control is assumed or relinquished for other batteries. Do not begin targeting until all desired batteries are under manual control. The steps for assuming control and directing fire (or EW) are listed below.

Begin Firing

  • Right click on the control tower (or tower entry on overview) and select "manage"
  • Select "structures" tab
  • Select "control" tab
  • Click (to highlight) the battery desired, then select the "assume control" button
    • May also right click on the individual battery in space or overview and "assume control"

An icon for the selected battery appears in place of the hud. Select additional batteries if available and skills allow.

Note: Do not attempt to target until control is obtained for all desired batteries

  • Close the "manage" window by clicking the X in the upper right corner of the window
  • To activate the battery, click the grey box over the battery icon, or select the appropriate function key
    • The battery is now "charged." The battery icon will begin flashing and the crosshairs are active.
  • Once the battery is activated, click on a ship model in space or appropriate overview entry
    • Remember, batteries have long lock times
  • When the battery is targeted, click on the battery icon, or use the appropriate function key
    • The battery will begin firing at the selected target

Cease Fire

  • To unlock target (cease firing) right click on the battery icon, or press appropriate function key

Relinquish Control

Note: Relinquishing control of any battery will cause all batteries to cease firing and unlock

  • Right click on the control tower (or tower entry on overview) and select "manage"
  • Select "structures" tab
  • Select "control" tab
  • Click (to highlight) the battery desired, then select the "relinquish control" button
    • May also right click on the individual battery in space or overview and "relinquish control"
    • May also right click on the grey window and select "relinquish control"

Reloading and Repairing Weapon Batteries

Reloading Batteries

A member must have the Starbase Defense Operator role to access the ammunition storage for weapon batteries. Members must open the ammunition storage to determine how much ammunition remains in the battery. To access the battery, the pilot must approach within 1500 m of the battery. The storage bay opens in the same method that a container opens; right click on the battery, and select open ammunition storage. Batteries may be loaded with a mixture of ammunition types (for example, Iridium and Iron) but it must be the appropriate size. Starbase laser crystals take damage when used and eventually must be replaced. All batteries use ammunition one size larger than their name suggests; small batteries use medium, medium batteries use large, large batteries use XL.

Repairing Batteries

A consideration when manually operating starbase weapon batteries is when damage causes them to offline, and how to return them to service.

Weapon and EW batteries will offline when their armor is destroyed and they begin taking structure (hull) damage. Their structure must be fully repaired before they can be brought online. Additionally, missile batteries will offline when the tower shield drops below 50% (due to the tower's inability to provide resources). All batteries will offline when the tower shield drops below 25%, and goes into reinforced mode. Note that POS gunners who only have the Starbase Defense role do not have the necessary role to put anchored batteries online.

Tactical Considerations

Several corporation members with the ability to manually operate starbase defenses can greatly increase the effectiveness of those defenses. Three members with Starbase Defense Management trained to level four can operate 12 weapon and/or EW batteries. One member should be designated as leader, and apply principles of Target Threat Assessment and Prioritization (TTAP).

A few examples to consider:

  • Use webification batteries and small weapon batteries against small, fast targets
  • Don't waste warp scramblers or webbers on dreadnaughts in siege mode
  • Use ECM batteries against the supporting ships in a spider tanked fleet
  • Focus large weapon battery fire on capitals, especially those without support
  • Use warp scramble and disruption batteries to prevent primary targets from escaping
  • Only use the amount of EW (warp scramble/disruption, ECM, Webification) necessary to neutralize the target

POS Scanner Array

The System Scanner Array does what its name implies, it has the ability to scan the entire system. The Scanner Array allows members the ability to scan the system without training the Astrometrics skill, and has a fairly strong strength (25). The array does have difficulty locating small ships and pods, and takes 90 seconds to complete a scan. Member skills and bonuses do not modify the abilities or the scanning time of the array.

To use the array, take control of the array, and open the scanner window. Select the array, and scan. Results are presented in the same format as they would be from using a probe.


This article has disussed basic POS defense, with an emphasis on how POS defenses operate and how to manually defend a POS. A few details required for the POS Gunnery certification were intentionally omitted to encourage members to search for and become more familiar with the subject.