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I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Class: PvP 103: Electronic Warfare

PvP 103: Electronic Warfare

1) EWAR as a force multiplier, and makes a small gang much tougher than its low numbers would suggest.
2) Types of direct electronic warfare: sensor jamming, weapon disruption, sensor disruption.
  • Sensor jamming includes ECM modules and ECM Burst modules.
  • Weapon disruption includes Tracking Disruptors (tracks).
  • Sensor disruption includes Sensor Dampeners (damps).
3) Don't neglect indirect electronic warfare: Webbers (web) and Target Painters (paint).
4) Warp disruption is also technically part of electronic warfare (points and scrams).
5) Effective use of a fleet's EWAR will make it a 50% to 100% stronger combat force.
6) It's a good idea for every fleet ship to include at least one EWAR module, to distribute the EWAR.
7) A good fleet will also have a dedicated EWAR ship or two, notably Blackbirds, Rooks, or Falcons.

Skills and Distribution
1) EWAR is an excellent way for low-skilled pilots to assist with PvP.
  • It doesn't take more than 2m SP to make a really good EWAR pilot.
  • 4m SP will make a truly exceptional EWAR pilot.
2) A Blackbird, two cheap rigs, and some T1 EWAR modules can take a 30m SP front-line BS pilot (or two!) out of a fight.
3) A ship that can't target because of sensor jamming or sensor dampening can't fight.
4) A jammed out logistics ship can't heal its fleet mates, and a jammed out Interceptor can't tackle.
5) A T1 ship with a spare mid slot should be carrying first, an ECCM module, but after that, some form of EWAR.
  • 8 mid slots: Scorpion.  6: Raven, Blackbird, Drake.  5: Dominix, Tempest, Myrm, Cyclone.
6) For each EWAR type there is a lower-tier skill.  Having skill IV in that one opens up a higher tier skill in each.

Types of EWAR
1) Jammers.  Skill: Electronic Warfare/Sig Dispersion.  Random chance of success based on skill and enemy sensors.
  • Chance of hitting is your jammer strength divided by enemy sensor strength.  Overheating makes jammers stronger.
  • When they hit, jams make the enemy unable to target.  If they can't target, they can't shoot (except for FoF).
  • Even if a jammer hits a target only once, this not only kills their DPS, but they have to relock all targets.
  • Jammers come in two types: racials and multispecs.
  • Racials are targeted to a certain race's ships (matched by color), but have a small chance to jam others.
  • Multispecs are broad-based, but not as strong as a racial, shorter range, and use more cap to operate.
2) ECM Burst.  Sends out a powerful jamming blast at close proximity to the ship.
  • Most effective mounted on stealth bombers and other frigate-class vessels to cause havoc (use meta 3 or 4).
  • Also quite effective on Scorpions as a sort of jamming smartbomb.
  • Will jam friend or foe, so they have to be used carefully.
  • Will cause attacking drones to lose their locks, making them even more valuable to frigates.
  • Their strength falls between a multispec jammer (15% stronger) and a racial jammer (20% weaker).
  • They're best used on small, fast ships that expect to be in the thick of it, or on battleships facing drone attack.
3) Remote Sensor Dampener.  Skill: Sensor Linking/Sig Suppression.  Decrease max lock range of the enemy, increases lock times.
  • Most under-rated EWAR out there, because it's not random (100% success rate).
  • Large groups of them used against a battleship will make the battleship ineffective for the entire battle.
  • Used during a battle already in progress, it will cause the targeted ship to lose its locks.
  • Offensively, a damp should *never* be without a sensor range dampening script.
4) Tracking Disruptors.  Skill: Weapon Disruption/Turret Destabilization.  Disrupts the ability of enemy guns to hit.
  • Excellent when used in groups, can effectively neutralize the ability of gunboats to do damage to targets.
  • Obviously, it's much better used against a Hurricane than a Drake.  Know your targets!
  • The only way to effectively counter tracks is to get out of their range or get out of the battle.
  • As a result, they can be extremely effective in driving off enemy DPS.
  • Tracks should always, always be used with the Tracking Speed script.
5) Target Painter.  Skill: Target Painting/Sig Focusing.  Increases Signature Radius of target and makes locking it easier.
6) ECM Drones.  Skill: Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing.  Offers the use of jamming drones.
  • ECM drones are most often used defensively, by ships with an otherwise very poor defense (the Rook, for instance).
  • Individually, their chance of jamming a target is very slight (1-2 per drone).
  • But against interceptors (their favorite target), you've got a good chance of escape (5 out of 9 with a full rack).
  • Once the inty is jammed out, that's your cue to run.  Leave the drones behind.  They've done their job.

Other important EWAR skills
1) Longer range jamming skills: Long Distance Jamming/Frequency Modulation.
  • First one increases optimal, second one increases fall-off.  The first is critical for a dedicated EWAR pilot.
2) Longer range targeting skills: Long Range Targeting/Signature Analysis.
  • First one gives longer targeting range, second one allows you to target ships faster.
  • Both are critical.  EWAR frigates and cruisers have short targeting ranges, and the farther you can target, the better.
  • The second is critical because the ship that locks first will get jams off first.
3) Supercarriers can use a "projected ECM" module called a Remote ECM Burst, using the Projected ECM skill.
  • Think of it as a lockbreaker bomb fired by the supercarrier up to 150km away, affecting everyone within 20km.

Ships that get bonuses for types of EWAR
1) Caldari ships get bonuses to jamming, both with straight jammers and with ECM Bursts.
  • The ships that benefit the most from this are the Blackbird, Kitsune, Rook, Falcon, and Scorpion.
  • Their T2 cruisers tend to have the most bang for the buck, because you'll have Cruiser V skill.
2) Gallente ships are masters of sensor dampening, but it's not used very often by Gallente ships, ironically.
3) Amarr ships have the market cornered on tracking disruption.
  • In particular, the Sentinel and Curse are extremely effective at it.
  • The Curse and Pilgrim are their premiere EWAR ships thanks to tracking disruption and energy neutralizers.
  • Because of the latter, the Curse is the most effective anti-EWAR ship.
4) Minmatar ships get bonuses to Target Painters.  Minmatar EWAR FTL, unfortunately, but they're good at everything else.

First things first: understand the ups and downs of being an EWAR ship.
1) YOU are the primary target.
  • Particularly if you're in a Blackbird, expect to see everything on screen turn yellow.
  • This is a good time to be elsewhere.  When you warp into a battle in a Blackbird, your first move is to align out.
  • You're going to be spending a good deal of your time (if you're lucky) warping off and warping back.
  • Every time someone sees you come back, that info will be communicated and you'll be primary again.
  • Combat this by coming in at odd angles and from weird directions.
  • Best tactic: warp to one planet (at 70), warp to a second planet (at 70), warp back to the battle.
  • Takes longer but makes the enemy FC spend more time dealing with you and pulls tacklers out of position.
2) After being the primary target, you will get no respect.
  • Most corps/alliances don't reimburse T1 Blackbirds and don't even recognize T1 cruisers or Kitsunes.
  • You'll get a lot more respect in a Rook or a Falcon, which have the scary factor going for them.
  • In the new Alpha battleship fleet doctrine, Scorpions are highly prized and often reimbursed at full price.
3) Other races, though, are screwed.
  • There's little appreciation for the Lachesis, for instance, even though it's a scary tackler/damper.
  • The Rapier and Curse are only appreciated as gank ships.  The EAFs (even the Kitsune) are not appreciated at all.
  • So, if you intend to go EWAR, you're training Caldari, and preferably Caldari Recons.  Live with it.
4) 0.0 jammers are pretty easy to choose.
  • There's a strong preponderance of Minmatar ships, so any 0.0 jamming ship should have at least two red jammers mounted.
  • Amarr ships are also common, particularly in specialty roles, so your third jammer should be yellow.
  • Drakes and Basilisks are common, so a blue jammer should be your fourth.
  • Gallente ships are rare, so you can often get away without a green jammer.
  • These are for roams.  For specifically targeted fleets, mount the jammers appropriate to your targets, of course.
  • If you have five jamming slots, devote one to a multispec, even though they kind of suck.
5) You've exiled yourself to a life of math and knowing wonky things about ships.
  • I, for instance, know that my standard red jammer strength is 13, and a Hurricane's scan strength is 16.
  • So, when I see Hurricanes on the field, they're often my first target for that reason.
  • But I'll go for Vagabonds even quicker (if there are any), because their sensor strength is 14.
  • So, I have a 13 out of 14 chance of jamming them every cycle.  Red jammers are fun and useful.
6) All this doesn't mean you get to lose your head or forget the fundamentals.
  • In a recent fight in my Rook, we came upon a Vagabond, Huginn, and Hurricane.  I had two red jammers.  Who did I jam?
  • Not the Vagabond: it was called primary target.  Kind of a trick question.  Remember to listen to the FC.
  • Not the Huginn: its sensor strength is 28 and my chances were less than 50% (13 over 28).
  • I jammed the Hurricane first.  When my first jammer hit that, I used my second and a multispec on the Huginn.
  • The Hurricane, with its high DPS, was the bigger danger to our small gang while we were dealing with the Vaga.

In practical terms, there are only five true EWAR ships that you should consider flying regularly.  In order of preference:
1) Rooks (Caldari Combat Recon).
  • Rooks have the missile strength of weak Drakes combined with a very strong EWAR component.
  • They're tough opponents, and being cruiser-sized, they're hard to pin down.  Good align speed.
  • You also get a lot of options to help with the fight (strongest jammers).  They've even got a decent-size drone bay.
  • They're also not as glamorous as the Falcon or as common as the Blackbird, so they get overlooked.
2) Blackbirds (Caldari Cruiser).
  • They're kind of like the popular kid's little brother: nobody likes them, but nobody will turn them away either.
  • Very decent jammer strength, and nobody will care that you have no tank whatsoever, so you can fit for all jamming.
  • They're so common and so disliked, you're going to spend a lot of your time being primaried.
  • Still, they're very tough platforms against interceptors, particularly since they're great with assault missile launchers.
3) Falcons (Caldari Force Recon).
  • Nobody likes Falcons.  Even the pilots that fly them don't like them half the time, but they're killers.
  • The combination of cloaking, jamming, and blasters makes them a near-ideal pirate's assassin ship (after the Rapier or a cloaky Proteus).
  • They're not nearly as impressive in the railgun role, but at least you can whore on mails.
  • If you're not using blasters, most Falcons go for pure support and fit some smart bombs.
  • Their name carries a cachet that will get them declared primary whenever they're on the field.  Be ready for it.
4) Scorpions (Caldari Battleship).
  • Big, slow, ugly, hulking, and with the DPS of a cruiser... and yet they're still welcome in battleship fleets.
  • Some enemies FCs overlook the Scorpion entirely.  Far and away the least common type of Caldari Battleship.
  • Yet their jamming strength rivals the Blackbird and they're a HELL of a lot tougher.
  • They're also horrific with an ECM Burst or two mounted.  Super-long-range ECM bursts FTL in RR fleets, though.
  • They've had a second Renaissance with the popularity of alpha Maelstrom fleets.
5) Lachesis (Gallente Combat Recon).
  • Another overlooked ship, but a combination of Sensor Dampener effectiveness and super-long-range points.
  • If there's a Lachesis anywhere near you, you aren't getting away and you probably can't fight back.
  • And if that's not the definition of what an EWAR ship should be about, I don't know what is.

Use of EWAR
1) Let your FC know, before you go out, the types and numbers of EWAR that you're carrying.
  • A good FC will have targets in mind for you, and will have special orders for dedicated EWAR ships.
  • A really good FC will ask a dedicated EWAR ship to warp in at optimal after the bulk of the fleet.
  • Some FCs will have specific means of letting you know what your targets should be.
2) Be aware that by using EWAR, you denote yourself as a high-value target.  "Nobody likes an E-warfare ship."
  • Learn when to warp off.  Don't be afraid to warp off.
  • Warp off to a planet, then warp to a planet on the opposite side of the battle, then come back to the battle at optimal.
3) EWAR should almost always be targeted on secondary or tertiary targets not primary ones.
  • In general, you want the primary shooting at you, so that it can't escape the battle by jumping or docking.
  • Some FCs will denote EWAR groups.  Others will give you a range of the alphabet to target.
  • Smart EWAR pilots soon start picking their own targets, focused on enemy EWAR and logistics.
4) Learn the high-value targets that should be jammed first if you have no contradictory orders.
  • First priority: enemy EWAR.  Second priority: enemy logistics.  Third priority: enemy tacklers.
  • Learn the names of these ships so you can recognize them on sight.
5) If you have good skills, spread the jamming around.
  • The more targets you can jam, the more enemies will get frustrated, and the fewer ships firing back at you.
6) If you have a lot of EWAR, keep some in reserve.
  • Enemy Interceptors will be coming after you.  With some reserve EWAR, you can fight them off.
  • Most dedicated EWAR ships are not really capable of defending themselves or tanking.
  • As a result, you're going to be "EWAR-tanking".  Can't do that without some reserve EWAR.
7) Against limited numbers of targets, learn cycle-jamming.
  • Cycle jamming involves firing your EWAR with gaps of several seconds between modules.
  • This doesn't make it any more likely that you'll jam, but does make your jam cycles harder to counter.
  • It's a tough trick to learn under fire.  Practice it first on some friendlies.
8) Know your ship!  Keep an eye on the optimals and falloffs for your EWAR modules.  You can't just ignore it.
  • Know your enemy's ships.  Some capital ships are immune to jamming.  Others (high sensor strength) are resistant.

Countering EWAR
1) Best way to counter an EWAR ship is to counter-jam it.  If it can't lock targets, it can't jam them.
2) Sensor dampeners are effective at countering EWAR, particularly Blackbirds and Kitsunes.
  • Most EWAR ships can jam at ranges longer than they can lock.
  • Most EWAR ships neglect to mount a sensor booster or other mods to increase locking range.
  • This tactic is a waste of time against most Recons, with their ludicrously long locking range.
3) ECCM is very effective at preventing jamming, most often halving the chance of your getting jammed.
  • Each race has a specific type of sensors.  Know yours, and buy and mount an appropriate ECCM module.
  • The "conjunctive" version of the ECCM module for your race is the most cost-effective.
4) Curses and Pilgrims make life hell for jamming ships.
  • A jamming ship that has no capacitor is not going to be doing a lot of jamming.
  • Curses are really the only type of ship a Falcon fears.  You can stop him from jamming, and maybe even from warping off.
5) Tackling EWAR ships, for the reasons above, is often doomed to fail.
  • It will take multiple tacklers to take out a dedicated EWAR ship, but it's just as good to drive it off.
6) Remote sensor boosters will boost friendly ship sensors. The "Battle Badgers" in the Alliance Tournament use these.
7) Be content with driving EWAR off the field by primarying them or causing them to warp off.

Be aware of your optimals!
1) Racial jammers and multispec jammers.
  • Your optimal range is at least as important for jamming as it is for gunnery.
  • To your optimal, you'll have 100% of your normal chance to jam.  At optimal + falloff, you'll have 50%.
  • But the drop-off from 100% to 50% seems to be extremely rapid, and a jammer at 50% strength isn't very impressive.
  • But you don't want to be close enough to the main battle to be a target for short range weapons to hit you.
  • So you, more than any other ship, really have to be aware of your engagement range and your effectiveness.
2) Using jamming tactically.
  • Don't be afraid to warp off if the combat conditions are not to your liking.
  • Any FC will say better to get a couple of jams off then run, then get four or five off and die.
  • This is especially critical for multispecs (50-66% range), and that's why your multispecs should be used defensively.
  • Like ECM drones, they're particularly effective against enemy tacklers, not so much against combat ships.
3) Other ECM modules.
  • Other modules have longer ranges, by and large, but are not as effective overall as a directed jammer.
  • A track, for instance, has a 33% range bonus over a racial jammer.  A damp has a 66% falloff bonus.
  • So again, be aware of and use your optimals.  It's also important to use non-jams as a team, since you need three of them.
  • One damp against a sniper HAC is not going to bother him all that much.  Three or four will take him out of the fight.

Escape and evasion for EWAR
1) Warping in late, warping in at optimal.
  • This is critical to practice.  A EWAR ship that arrives first is dead.  A EWAR ship that comes in close is dead.
  • Whatever the warp-in point is, you want to warp in at 50km or so (70km in a Scorp).
  • Hopefully, there will be other ships there with you.
  • You're probably in a cruiser-sized ship (Rook, Falcon, Blackbird, Lachesis), so you want to wait for the others.
  • Stay aligned to the warp-in, wait for the combat ships to warp, then give it a good, slow, calm 5-7 count.
  • Ideally, you want your arrival to be overlooked until you go to work.
  • If you're jumping into a fight, wait until the very, very last second to decloak, long after everyone else has.
2) Alignment is your friend.  Close bookmarks are your friend.
  • Your *first* job on arriving on the battlefield is to align out.  This happens before you lock, before you do anything.
  • Once you're aligned, be aware of what you're aligned toward.
  • Watch for you to be yellow-boxed right away.  The arrival of EWAR on the field sometimes gets attention.
  • If you do have to warp out right away, console yourself with the fact that you at least distracted the FC.
  • The moment you get yellow-boxed, get out of there.  Don't wait around to see the red boxes.
  • As you warp off, create safespots near the battle that you can warp to later, then get to the battle from quicker.
  • If you jump into a fight, if you can, burn off the gate, or better still, warp off and come back.
3) Once you're on the battle, pick your targets smartly.
  • Stay off the primary.  Stay on the secondary.  But you'll probably have more jammers.
  • You're expected to use your best judgment.  Get on critical targets (logistics and enemy EWAR) as quick as you can.
  • After that, you know what jammers you're carrying, and hopefully have studied critical ship types.
  • Go after the targets that your jammers will do best against.  HACs and other squishy DPS are good, if nothing else.
  • Again, maintain your situational awareness and keep an eye out for the yellow boxes.
  • Single attackers (inties, Curses) will also come after you.  It's generally best not to let them catch you.

Final Thought
1) Electronic warfare is extremely frustrating to the enemy. Do not underestimate its psychological effect.
  • Even if it's unsuccessful, you're giving the enemy a more complicated target package.
  • Even if you never get a jam off, your Blackbird warping in and out of a battle makes the enemy FC's life annoying.
  • And being annoying is what it's all about, however you go about it.



  1. Thanks, this makes me more hopeful of getting into a Keres/Lachesis, as everyone seems to ignore their sensor dampener and only fit for disruptors, which made me a sad panda.

  2. Also, for "Offensively, a damp should *never* be without a sensor range dampening script.", I think you mean "targeting range dampening script", unless you mean either of the Sensor Dampening Scripts, "targeting range dampening" or the "scan resolution dampening", but wouldn't the former be best (remove their ability to lock (at least at any reasonable range) instead of increasing their lock times, but they'll eventually get a lock).

  3. "Tracks should always, always be used with the Tracking Speed script." Why should they always be used with this script vs. the Range script?

    1. As I said in my year-end guide wrap-up, this is out of date and was written before the volley era began. There are now several situations where Tracks can and should be used with range scripts. I'll get to that when I do the re-write.

  4. It seems that you have never met dread blapping (FTW!!) if you write that Target Painter is only used to speed up locking time :)

    1. See the comment just above. This file is ancient and will be rewritten this year sometime. As a matter of fact, it's about time to take it off the easy-to-find guides...

  5. Even though this info is out of date, there are still some good tips and tricks in here. I'd love to see a current version though.


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