Covert Ops: Check

A quick update as our wormhole expedition preparations proceed at their glacial pace.  In addition to having a blockade runner on one account, I can check the box for a covert ops ship on the other, in this case the Caldari covert ops ship the Buzzard which is sort of a Heron on steroids.

Aside from sporting a cool camo paint job, it can fit a covert ops cloaking device allowing warping while cloaked which is awfully nice.

Camo never goes out of style
Camo never goes out of style

Struggling a bit with the fit, but for now its load out is as follows:

Lows:
Co-Processor II
Power Diagnostic System I

Mediums:
1MN Afterburner I
Codebreaker I
[empty med slot]
[empty med slot]
[empty med slot]

Highs:
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Expanded Probe Launcher I
Salvager I

Rigs:
Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Having the expanded probe launcher is nice.  I can use combat scanner probes and only pull out the core scanner probes when I need to go below 0.5 au scan radius.  With increasing skills, the Buzzard and the grav rigs, I seldom need to go that low.  Without the local channel to rely on to see if there are others in the system, having probes that show ships and exploration sites is a comfort.

Standards Rule, Ok

On other fronts, I’ve been undertaking a bit of an effort to coordinate some “platform neutrality” skill wise.  While several of us have covert ops capable ships (transports, covert ops etc.) resupply will probably be accomplished mostly by pedestrian industrial ships since they are cheap, small in mass and plentiful.  A dual consensus is emerging that most of us can fly the Minmatar industrial Mammoth or the Gallente Iteron Mark IV.  Most of us are also Caldari Badger pilots too, though the Badger doesn’t have quite the hauling capacity of the Mammoth or the Iterons.  So in order to provide maximum flexibility, one account needed to get to Gallente and the other to Minmatar.  Only a day or two for each and we’ll be good to go.  You never know which pilot may find himself on the k-space side of the wormhole and its always good to have a backhaul.

On the combat side, its looking like Drakes and Feroxes will be the basic ships of the line.  Relatively cheap, and having the legendary tank of the Drake will hopefully be a help with the sleepers.  The downside of course is having to bring ammo, but with an ammunition assembly array planned as part of the POS, that should be managable.

Manifest Destiny

Finally, I’ve been getting great feedback on the vagaries of wormhole POS defense-craft.  After canvassing sources, its a bit of a toss up between a large and a medium tower.  The cost and fuel savings associated with a medium tower make it awfully attractive.  Especially so if we went with something like a True Sansha control tower.  More expensive, but cheaper on fuel.

My previous approach was that you can’t go too far wrong with a large control tower.  I would hate to have a medium one popped.  But, the more info I get from folks, the more I’m backing off that a bit.

One big reason for considering a smaller tower is fuel.  I was working up a hauling manifest for the initial deployment and started having a few second thoughts.  I’ve been assuming that the initial colonization would be undertaken by 2 or 3 corp mates, all of whom have multiple accounts.  Among those likely suspects are 2 Orca pilots.  Even so, with a large tower configuration, basically one Orca is the POS and the other is fuel leaving little additional room for other necessaries.

Part of the challenge is the Orca’s ship maintenance bay.  At 400k m3, it seems huge.  It is actually a cleverly derived number designed to vex Eve players, I’m sure.  A fully assembled Hulk mining barge is only 200k m3, so 2 assembled Hulks would fit nicely in there.  Industrials and battlecruisers are all above 200k m3, so they don’t pair with each other or a mining barge.

Not that big of a deal really, but a bit of an optimization puzzle.  Unrigged ships can be dissassembled and hauled in regular cargo of the Orca’s or any other industrial.  Not all of our current ships are unrigged though.  I don’t rig my barges, but I do rig the Drakes, so more than half of a bay will be taken up with one ship.  Too bad both my accounts have Drakes.

Inevitably, we’ll resort, I’m sure to the tried and true method of podding out– flying out of the wormhole in your pod to conserve mass budget and then ferrying in additional needed ships.  Sub optimal, but vastly superior to collapsing the wormhole with too many ginormous ships like the Orcas.

Once the POS is up and running, who cares?  But its the intial foray that it would be nice to have all your building materials, industrial and combats ships all in at the initial deployment.  Ah, the excitement of Eve!  Generating an optimized packing list!