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Bombs for beginners

Enso D'saria
The Sound Of Freedom
#1 - 2012-04-30 21:53:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Enso D'saria
After seeing some confusion on the most recent stealth bomber thread. I thought I would take a swing at bomb mechanics here, rather than hijack the thread. No tactics, no fits...just basic bombs.

For those of you with greater experience and understanding; I'll thank you in advance for your constructive criticism and corrections. This is for the newbies.

Lets chat about bombs.

There is a basic bomb for each damage type in EVE: thermal, kinetic, electromagnetic, and explosive. Base damage for each bomb types is 6400 hit points. This damage is increased by 5% per level of the pilots Covert Ops skill, if the pilot is using a bomb type that is matched to the specific ships favorite flavor.

For example, I fly the Manticore. As you would expect it favors Kinetic damage dealing. If I stick EM bombs in the launcher I can expect to deliver up to 6400 points of (potential) damage to a target when it goes off. However, if I feed my bomb launcher kinetic flavored bombs I get to factor in my Covert Ops skill level V which increases my potential damage to 8000 points. (Why do I say potential damage? In EVE the damage you deliver to your target is modified by things like targets resistances, the targets size (signature), the explosion radius and velocity, and for ordinance other than bombs the targets speed and the ability of turret fired weapons to track the target (tracking speed). For bombs we need only discuss the 1st two factors; but let’s do that later)

Bombs are fired line of sight. Without discussing camera misadventures and pilot error; whatever your ship nose is pointing at when you hit the launcher module -that's where the bomb is going.

Bombs will travel at 3000 m/s and will fly for 10 seconds. It will not make a turn. It will travel 30km and then explode.
When it explodes it will apply it's damage to everything within 15km of the detonation point (a 30km sphere of damage).

** Stargates do not magically suck up some of the damage; sparing ships in the vicinity the full force of the explosion. They do seem to mess with damage notifications, however.

Bombs have 240 Hit Points of armor and 50 points of structure. They also have a 99.5% armor resistance to the same kind of damage they deliver.

So now I've teamed up with two other bomber pilots. Both are in Manticores and both have Covert Ops level V. We are all using kinetic bombs, and we verbally confirmed this with each other before starting the operation. We have approached our target ships cloaked and have lined up to the target. Everyone has dialed in their warp away points. No torpedos today. The lead bomber has broken 31km from the target and announces, "bomb’s free"
I deactivate my cloak -and confirm the cloak deactivated (no green glowy ringy thingy around module). I activate the bomb launcher -and confirm a bomb actually launched. I then hit "warp to" for my preselected warp away point which is only 10 degrees or so off angle from my target and a safe warpable distance away. My fleet-mates did the same and three spherical bundles of mayhem are tumbling through space, in close proximity to one another, toward a single target.

** Bombers do not have to be on grid for the bombs to detonate. Bombers do not have to remain uncloaked for the bombs to detonate.

Warning: painfully tedious example to follow…

Now, about those three bombs: They fly for 10 loooooong seconds and detonate. Damage is calculated sequentially. Bomb #1 delivers 8000 potential damage points to the target, but I don't care about the target for the remainder of this chat, right now I want to know what happens to the other bombs.

The explosion from kinetic bomb #1 is 8000 points of kinetic damage. Bomb #2 takes this damage before it goes off. -But, wait...It has a 99.5% resistance to kinetic damage because it's a kinetic bomb. So bomb #2 only takes 40 points of damage. This reduces it's armor protection from 240 HP to 200 HP. Incurred damage does not enter into bomb structure, the warhead integrity is maintained so, an instance later bomb #2 explodes and 8000 more points of potential kinetic damage are delivered to the target.

Kinetic bomb #3 is the last to arrive on scene. It gets slapped with the blast from bomb #1 and takes only 40 points of damage thanks to the resistance. Blast # 2 hits and knocks its armor down 40 more points to 160 points of armor.

(240 armor - (40hp from bomb #1) - (40hp from bomb #2) = 160 armor).

Again, bomb structure has not been violated so bomb #3 gets to explode and deliver enough damage to finish off the target.

So how many bombs can be launched at once?

Thou shalt launch no more than seven bombs in a single salvo. Seven shall this number be, for to launch even one more is to waste it's seed upon the earth.

OK, sorry for spilled seed.....Look, the point is this: if you have 8 pilots all at Covert Ops I or 8 pilots ALL using unbonused bomb types regardless of Covert Ops skills (e.g. manticores launching EM bombs) you can launch 8 bombs in a salvo. The 1st scenario is pretty freakin' rare and the second one is not routine. So with mixed bomber types, and mixed pilot skills your probably only gonna get away with 7 bombs; the rest will be destroyed prior to detonation. BTW bombs are not cheap, if you have to buy them at J-mart.
Enso D'saria
The Sound Of Freedom
#2 - 2012-04-30 21:54:43 UTC  |  Edited by: Enso D'saria
I heard you could launch eight bombs all at once, if they were the same type.

Well, you can launch as many as you like all at once but, in general, only seven will register damage on the target. It’s not wrong to launch more and is generally a good idea. Maybe pilot #2 got faced raped by the instalock ‘cane…and pilot #9 didn’t actually launch his bomb even though he was mashing his bomb launcher module like a one fingered typist on crack. (oops…should’ve made sure the cloak disengaged)
I’ve already given you two examples above where you can, in fact, launch eight bombs successfully but if you check the math you will find that it isn’t really worth it.

No, wait, I heard you can launch eight racially bonused bombs all at once, if they were the same type. Even if all pilots were Cov Ops V.

Seems reasonable…after all, total bomb HP is 290 right? So total bomb-on-bomb damage from seven bombs launched by maxed out Cov Ops pilots is: 7 x 40hp = 280 hp.

So an eighth bomb would only take 280 points of damage after applying it’s 99.5% resistance to the same bomb type. That leaves 10 points left over of structure so bomb eight is not destroyed. WIN!! 8 bombs Mother F##%ER!

To this I say, maybe…but I don’t think so, and here’s why:

The 99.5% resistance is listed as an armor resistance, of which only 240 of the 290 hit points credited to the bomb come from armor. The last 50 are structure hitpoints and, I would argue, that they do not get the resistance. Therefore, 6 bombs rack up 240 points of damage to bomb #7 and all the other bombs in the salvo with bomb #7 (bombs #8 through #12, lets say). This strips them all of their armor after resistance is applied. Bomb #7 gets to explode, however-
bombs #8 through #12 now have no armor left and therefore no armor resistance. They will each be exposed to 56,000 HP of damage, well in excess of the 50 points of structure they each have left.

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t tested this, yet. (Too, busy bombing). But, you have my line of reasoning. It assumes that the armor resistance of 99.5% is only an armor resistance and is not applied to the bomb structure hit points.

I hope I am correct about this last question but in the end, it’s a bit academic. After all, a couple of extra bombs per salvo is good insurance…

*( I realize that you can, in fact, apply the damage from WAY more than 7 bombs to a target simultaneously, but I promised not to discuss tactics.)

Racial bonused bomb damage by Covert Operations skill level:

I: 6720
II: 7040
III: 7360
IV: 7680
V: 8000

* Unbonused bombs (i.e. bombs not racially matched to the hull of the stealth bomber launching it) have a base damage of 6400.

Damage applied to each and all other bombs of the same type in a single salvo

-after application of the 99.5% Armor resistance (sorted by Cover Operation skill level of the pilot). This assumes that everyone is using the same racial bonused bomb type.

I: 33.6
II: 35.2
III: 36.8
IV: 38.4
V: 40

* Unbonused bombs –if all are of the same type -will do 32 points of damage to each other.

Tyson Gallane
Political Warfare Executive
#3 - 2012-05-01 07:39:16 UTC
A very good beginners guide. Thank you.

Bam Stroker
The Graduates
The Initiative.
#4 - 2012-05-02 01:13:16 UTC
Great post and some good info! If there are folks out there who are bomb-curious I suggest you grab a few friends, hop in some SBs and go for a roam. They're a lot of fun!

EVE Down Under - a community for players in the AUTZ

In-game channel: evedownunder // Twitter: @evedownunder

Substantia Nigra
Polaris Rising
The Bastion
#5 - 2012-05-02 04:02:49 UTC  |  Edited by: Substantia Nigra
Bam Stroker wrote:
… hop in some SBs and go for a roam. They're a lot of fun!

Thanks for the OP, very interesting, and I agree with Bam’s comment.

As a long-established carebear I recently opted to become a noob yet again and try some PvP play. A timely thread in this forum caught my attention and unleashed the carebear-in-a-hound … pottering around the universe trying to find players incompetent enough to die for me. Since then I’ve split my efforts between w-space stalking and occasional killing, and fleet work in nullsec with the Bombers Bar gang. My efforts have been either solo, two-ship with an alt (also in a bomber), or with a 10 – 20 ship bomber-recon fleet. This has all been fun, and very instructive, in different ways.

Since starting out, about five weeks ago, I’ve managed a few kills, and a death where I was so greedy to kill a drake that I didn’t warp away when I could easily have. He died first, but his last missile was already on it’s way to me and proved fatal. I’ve messed up heaps of attempts but found my small, agile, covops ship to be very forgiving of my SNAFUs. I’m experimenting with fits and approaches and seeing what works and does not work against what.

Given the most of my solo / semi-solo work is in w-space I am focussing on being able to kill drakes and tengu. That’s been quite a learning experience, and so far the vast majority I tackle have survived … either because they drone-jammed me out, loosed a pack of warrior IIs onto me, had nasty friends arrive to help, or I simply could not dent their shield tank. The carebear-in-a-hound is now actually in a manticore, valuing that extra midslots bigtime in my tengu / drake crusade.

So if, like me, you’re a carebear who wants to test the waters of PvP then I recommend that you give the bomber a second look.
- They’re pretty easy to skill for – if you have, or a close to, frig 5 with a faction or two, have some covops skills, and you have the missile and support skills to run high end missions or sleepers you’re not far from a useful bomber skill set.
- They’re cheap to setup and lose – even the faction fittings in the ship I lost didn’t amount to an awful lot of isk.
- Being fragile little beasties they force you to think carefully about what you tackle, and how – Good education.
- The covops element gives you time to plan and think about what you’re about to try, and gives a bit more latitude for messing up.
- There’s decent amounts of pretty good how-to info out there.
- There’s good in-game support and resources – e.g. the ‘Bombers Bar’ chat list. Even tho they fly outside my main timezone I do manage to get with them on weekends and learn about the gang side of bombing and recons.
- If you’re lucky they can kill big things.

I guess I am almost a 'vet' by now. Hopefully not too bitter and managing to help more than I hinder. I build and sell many things, including large collections of bookmarks.

Test Alliance Please Ignore
#6 - 2012-05-02 04:54:54 UTC
Yup, pretty good discussion. In general, you can expect to get around half a dozen bombs per salvo. I've heard anecdotal reports of only 5 and up to 7. But never 8 or more. Each stick of bombers should always use the same bomb types.

Your next discussion should cover multiple waves of bombers. Hint, they launch at least 5 seconds after the previous wave.

Akiyo XI
Native Freshfood
Minmatar Republic
#7 - 2012-05-02 05:45:20 UTC
Thank you for this

I'm currently learning all I can on how to rat and pvp with my future stealth bomber

"the wise speak only of what they know"

Lost Greybeard
Drunken Yordles
#8 - 2012-05-02 18:13:14 UTC
My general experience says about 5, but I have covops V so that 25% tends to make a difference, I'd imagine. I don't know why you'd ever use an unbonused bomb, just have your fleet jump into the same type of bomber for whatever damage type you prefer.

I would wager that if you can get 8 unbonused, the bonused number probably maxes at 6, since "doesn't die to 5*(1.25)*base" damage is equivalent to "doesn't die to 6.25*base" damage.
Joran Dravius
#9 - 2012-05-04 18:37:19 UTC
Nice guide, thanks. I don't fly bombers, but I was curious about them and this answered some of my questions.
Horiozn Dawn
Caldari State
#10 - 2012-05-04 22:05:11 UTC
Useful info in an easy to read guide, I like it :D

I had a question though, about bomb positioning. What happens if the bomb collides with a target before it reaches 30km? Does the bomb suffer collisions? If so, what happens, does it get stuck, or explode there? (for example, if you shot a bomb at a gang on a gate, and they had a vagabond, who decided to book it straight at the bombers, what happens if he intersects the bomb before it blows up? Do bombs fly through people, or not?)
Enso D'saria
The Sound Of Freedom
#11 - 2012-05-06 23:38:18 UTC  |  Edited by: Enso D'saria
Thanks for the feedback. I'm always happy to see bombers and recon pilots on here. To echo sentiment that has been expressed here already; if you're even slightly curious about bombers (and Recons) I encourage you to take a little detour in your training plan. Try some soloing but consider hooking up with a proper cloaky group. I learned bunches from all the folks in the Bombers Bar chat channel, to mention only one such group.

OK, More bombs on target is better. So, how do I do it?

Your bomb salvos need to be separated by time or by distance.

As Soldarius points out above, you can bomb in short interval waves. 5 seconds is the hard limit for time between salvos. Bombers in the second and successive wave do tend to get a little more attention from the targets, as you can imagine.

You can also separate bomber waves by distance and have everyone can launch at the same time. This is more difficult to coordinate and you need to have a fairly organized/disciplined group. The “simplest” technique would be to have two bomber wings launch at the target from a distance of 40km on opposite sides of the target . The area of effect (explosions) will overlap the target without overlapping either groups bomb detonation center. More acute angles are possible, which allows more bomber wings, but this quickly turns into a painful geometry lesson, and decreases your margin of error to the point of becoming impractical.

@ Horiozn Dawn:To my knowledge, bombs are not affected by collision. They will travel their prescribed distance and explode. This question has come up in the bombers bar channel. All, I can tell you is that, to date, none of the bombers I have rolled with have seen a bomb physically obstructed or deflected. (Anecdotal evidence).
Enso D'saria
The Sound Of Freedom
#12 - 2012-05-06 23:43:21 UTC  |  Edited by: Enso D'saria
Basic bomb stuff I left out of the first post:

Bomb damage is a function of the signature radius of the target. Rule of thumb: Percentage of bomb damage that gets applied to target (before resistances) = signature radius of target / 400. So, full damage for targets with a sig radius of 400 or greater, half damage for a sig radius of 200, quarter damage for a sig of 100, etc. Target painters are your friend.

Bombs can only be used in 0.0 space

Cov Ops is the only skill that will affect bomb damage.

The Bomb Deployment skill will:

  • Allow you to use Lockbreaker (ecm burst) bombs once you reach level III and Void (cap draining) bombs when you reach level IV.
  • Allow you to fit the tech II bomb launcher once you hit level V. (Tech II bomb launcher allows you to carry one extra bomb in your launcher and has a slightly better ROF)
  • Improve the rate of fire of your bomb launcher (decrease the reactivation delay) by 5% per level

There are no rigs that affect bombs.

There are no implants that affect bombs

There are no boosters that affect bombs.


To start using the Tech I Bomb launchers you will need:

  • Missile Launcher Operation I
  • Missile Bombardment IV
  • Bomb Deployment I

The Tech II launcher requires bomb deployment V.


Bomb launchers have a slow rate of fire due to reactivation delay. Both can fire Void and Lockbreaker if you have the requisite skill.

Bomb launcher I
Capacity: 2 bombs
Base ROF: 160s

Bomb Launcher II
Capacity: 3 bombs
Base ROF: 135 s

One last observation. Stealth bombers are torpedo hulls. This is where they truly shine. –but bombz will make you giggle.
State War Academy
Caldari State
#13 - 2012-05-17 20:01:03 UTC
Thank you for this great guide. Quick question : Is it OK to launch a bomb when you are stationary? Will the bomb still fly towards the direction my ship is currently facing?