Hull Classification Overview
Destroyers are medium sized craft significantly larger than frigates, measuring around 300 meters on their longest beam. Recent upgrades to destroyers' active sensor jamming systems have reduced their electronic footprint to 60 meters. This affords them a notable advantage during combat when combined with their additional tonnage. They are the second smallest hull able to accept pod technology, the use of which effectively reduces their normal crew complement from 90 personnel down to 10-20. Unfortunately, due of their small size, damage to destroyers is usually catastrophic and results in less than 10% of the crew surviving.
Destroyers offer impressive offensive capabilities, featuring the ability to equip weapons to all eight of their high-power slots and enhanced gimbal-mounts for turret systems. This improvement vastly improves weapon tracking speeds, makings destroyers highly effective against small targets such as frigates, drones, and other destroyers.
Until recently, these advantages came at the expense of lowered weapon firing rates. Originally this penalty was necessary to counter stresses placed on the destroyer's small frame while simultaneously operating such a large number of weapons. However technological fallout, from the results of Marauder and Sleeper research programs, have been incorporated so that this no longer the case. Current generation destroyers now can make full use of their weaponry in the same manner as any frigate, while still retaining the hull's original advantages. The numerous high-power slots also appeal to mining and salvaging, roles as relevant systems normally compete for this valuable space on larger vessels. The training requirements to pilot destroyers are very similar to frigates, as goes for the equipment needed to outfit them. In fact, much of this equipment is shared in use with frigate hulls. This makes destroyers a popular next step for many pilots looking to move up to a larger ship class. It should be noted though, that destroyers often have a higher final purchasing cost than a frigate. This is due to the greater cost Destroyer's larger hull in addition with the large amount of equipment needed to outfit it. However, this cost is still comparatively low when held up to that of a effectively fitted cruiser.
Destroyers are most effective as light escorts protecting larger ships from drones, frigates, and even advanced frigates. They are also excellent ships for handling minor security assignments from agents, and can easily counter any small threat to corporate assets. Outside of their role in combat, destroyers are frequently used as mining and salvaging vessels due to their versatility in fitting, respectable top speed, and reasonable cargo capacity. Although their cost prohibits their use as scouts, they can prove a more useful while serving as a manned combat probe (or bait as its often referenced). This is because many naval commanders will happily engage them in combat without thinking, often forgetting about the hull's recently improved level of survivability.
Destroyers are able to bring a significant amount of firepower to bear for being a sub-cruiser platform, and their undisputed tracking with light frigates weapons makes them feared by any vessel smaller than themselves. Their high slot allocation also offers significant versatility while operating in utilitarian roles. As well, although Destroyers have lower overall agility and speed than many frigates, they are still quite capable of running from unwanted combat.
The destroyers platform's reliance on turret systems may make them unappealing to pilots who prefer guided munitions or drone systems. As well, the additional mass of a destroyer's larger hull hampers their agility and speed significantly when compared to frigates. This leaves them vulnerable to attack from larger vessels either utilizing anti-frigate weaponry or operating at long ranges. Combined with a slightly larger electronic footprint and somewhat weak defensive systems, destroyers can often find themselves as targets for heavy escort ships.
In Y.C. 114 introduction of a second line of destroyers resolved the munitions delivery methods offering a host of drone and missile destroyers and have become widely popular amongst the cluster.
Prior to its improvement and overhauling, many expert pilots and naval commanders argued the use of the destroyer or the need of the hull at all. In the years after its introduction, the destroyer had fallen from grace on the battlefield as the premier frigate-killer. Over time larger vessels had proven themselves capable of filling the role from a much more survivable platform, by typically sacrificing a small portion of their firepower in exchange for scout drones or other anti-frigate weaponry. Pooling these types of defenses, many fleets could and still can fill out their heavy ship quota while still providing a passable anti-frigate screen. Worse still, the destroyers's lack of agility or speed, large electronic footprint, and weak defenses made flying it in combat tantamount to a death sentence.
At the time, many pilots found that their sole use of destroyers was as salvaging vessels and nothing further. However even this role became overshadowed by the introduction of the Noctis class salvaging vessel by the ORE corporation. Only the Minmatar-produced Thrasher class of destroyers remained popular, because of its significant raw firepower along with the various appeals of projectile weapon-systems.
In the closing months of YC113, all four major empires took advantage of a temporary lull in hostilities towards each other to do a review of fleet doctrine. In the end they concluded what many capsuleer pilots had long known, and found the destroyer wanting. In combination with numerous fleet upgrades and additions they revisited the destroyer with new hardware and design changes. The first change made, was to remove the penalty to weapon rate of fire destroyers formerly suffered. This was done by redesigning the spaceframe to better absorb and dissipate vibration, as well as improving the durability of the original gimbal-turret mounts. For the Gallente and Caldari empires, this effort was in no small way aided by major improvements made to their hybrid weapon systems which before had been nearly universally criticized as inferior. Changes to the destroyers' active electronic defenses, along with improved hull materials, also yielded a vastly smaller electronic footprint.
Now more survivable and deadlier than ever, the end result of this effort has seen destroyers re-emerge as viable additions to the battlefield. Currently, they are most commonly used in tandem with frigate detachments where they can augment the group's firepower from platform that remains mobile enough to keep pace. They also appear frequently with cruiser deployments, where their anti-frigate capability, firepower, mobility, and comparatively low cost fit in well. Overall, destroyers now bridge the gap between frigates and cruisers quite nicely and naval commanders have begun to reconsider their value in fleets.
After their initial development, destroyers were found to be the ideal platform to carry a specialized area of effect warp disruption technology that was simply too large to be fitted on frigates. The result of this was the the creation of a heavier form of interceptor known as an Interdictor.
Types of Destroyers
- All "Tier 1" Tech 1 destroyers receive a 50% bonus to racial turret optimal range (Amarr: Small Energy Turret, Caldari & Gallente: Small Hybrid Turret, Minmatar: Small Projectile Turret.)
- The Tech 1 destroyers used to have a 25% rate of fire penalty, but the Crucible patch removed this.
- Tech 2 Destroyers (Interdictors) are not subject to the above, can fit Interdiction Sphere Launchers, and have a 10% bonus to Interdiction Sphere rate of fire per Interdictors skill level.
- Coercer: Bonus to Small Energy Turret capacitor and tracking.
- Dragoon: Bonus to drone MWD speed, drone damage/HP and energy vampire/neutralizer transfer range
Tech 2 (Interdictor)
- Heretic: Bonus to rocket damage, rocket and missile explosion velocity, and missile velocity.
- Cormorant: Bonus to Small Hybrid Turret tracking and optimal range.
- Corax: Bonus to rocket/light missile velocity, kinetic damage and explosion velocity
Tech 2 (Interdictor)
- Flycatcher: Bonus to rocket and missile velocity, kinetic damage, and missile effectiveness against faster moving targets.
- Catalyst: Bonus to Small Hybrid Turret tracking and falloff.
- Algos: Bonus to drone MWD speed, drone damage/hp and hybrid turret tracking
Tech 2 (Interdictor)
- Eris: Bonus to Small Hybrid Turret tracking, falloff, and rocket and missile thermal damage.
- Thrasher: Bonus to Small Projectile Turret tracking and damage.
- Talwar: Bonus to rocket/light missile velocity and explosive damage and MWD signature radius penalty
Tech 2 (Interdictor)
- Sabre: Bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage, falloff, and tracking.