As Derranna approaches Minmatar battleships and tech II projectiles, the question looms in my mind of which would be better, a tier 2 Tempest or a tier 3 Maelstrom? In the other three factions the tier 2 battleship is the long range ship while the tier 3 is the heavy tanking high damage ship (the Rokh being an exception as it matches the range of the Raven instead of getting a damage boost to compensate for the poor performance of missiles in fleet sniping scenarios). Does the same pattern hold for Minmatar?
Short answer: no.
Right from the descriptions of the two battleships we see that neither get a range bonus. The Tempest gets a rate of fire and damage bonus (both 5%) while the Maelstrom only gets a rate of fire bonus (5%) along with a yucky shield boosting bonus (which might be good for PvE or small gang warfare, but sucks in fleets). However, the Tempest only has 6 turret hardpoints (which is equivalent to 7.5 with Minmatar Battleship skill at V) to the Maelstrom's 8 hardpoints.
Let's look at the "Corporate/Alliance" approved Tempest setup, and a similar Maelstrom setup.
As you can see, the range is the same as expected, but the big difference appears to be that the Tempest has slightly more raw Effective Hitpoints while the Maelstrom boasts more DPS. The Tempest is also more agile even with the Trimark rigs and has a significantly smaller sig radius.
Couple that with the cost, and I have to say I'd probably pick the Tempest over the Maelstrom for sniper fleets. The extra DPS is just not worth it in this context. For PvE, I'm willing to bet a properly setup Maelstrom would be far superior.