I talked earlier this week about my testing with a carrier and its fighters, but I realize for the average player there is still a lot of confusion about the basics of getting into a carrier so I'm going to go over the types of fighters there are in the game, and next week I'll talk about the specific carrier skills required for using and managing fighters and I'll enumerate the fighter specific modules a carrier can fit these days.
First let's talk about the kinds of fighters there are now. Note: all fighters come in Tech I and Tech II variants except the faction Shadow Heavy Fighter.
Light Fighters: Attack - Dragonfly, Einherji, Firbolg, Templar
There are two kinds of light fighters, the first being referred to as Attack and they descend from the original fighters we had before the changes. They are "general purpose attack craft" and have a squadron size of 9 fighters and their main weapon does decent damage but has trouble tracking small fast targets. They have a MWD to move from point to point quickly, and a limited ammo Heavy Rocket Salvo which are short ranged Heavy Missiles and pack a punch as I highlighted in my last post on Carrier Testing.
Light Fighters: Space Superiority - Equite, Gram, Locust, Satyr
The second kind of light fighter is for engaging other fighters and drones and destroying them. They fly in squadron sizes of 12 fighters and have main weapons that do very little damage to player ships but are "apt at destroying fighter and drone craft". The have "Evasive Maneuvers" afterbunrer instead of a MWD which makes them hard to hit for a short period of time and a space "Anti-Small Craft Tackle" (which I'm going to call a Drone Scram) which "disable[s] small craft drive systems" making them easier to kill for the fighters.
Support Fighters - Cenobite, Dromi, Scarab, Siren
These are basically e-war fighters and come in small squadron sizes of 3. They all have a Microwarp Drive like the Attack fighters but no main weapon. Instead they have an electronic warfare function that differs depending on which faction they belong to. The Amarr Cenobite has energy neutralizers which suck cap at the rate of just over what a Small Energy Neutralizer II can do (module takes 5.5 GJ /sec, each fighter does 6.0 GJ / sec (8.0 for tech II) but times three fighters. The Minmatar Dromi has a -15% stasis webifier (-20% for tech II) on each fighter (compared to -50% of a Stasis Webifier I). The Caldari Scarab has a 1.6 strength omni ECM (2.3 for tech II) on each fighter (compared to a 3 on a ECM I module). And finally the Gallente Siren has a warp disruptor with 8 km range (16 km for tech II).
Heavy Fighters: Heavy Attack - Cyclops, Malleus, Mantis, Shadow, Tyfing
Like Light Fighters, Heavy Fighters come in two varieties. The first is Heavy Attack and are the old super carrier fighter-bombers upgraded for the new mechanics, flying in squadrons of 6. They are basically hard hitting general purpose fighters designed for anit-capital and anti-structure combat and as such their main weapon does a lot of damage but has tracking issues against fast moving targets, and their special weapon is a torpedo salvo which hit super hard on caps and structures but virtually nothing to anything smaller. They also have a microwarp drive like the light variety.
Heavy Fighters: Long Range Attack - Ametat, Antaeus, Gungnir, Termite
The second Heavy Fighter is designate for the Long Range Attack role and also comes in squadrons of 6. Their main weapon does less damage their their short range counterpart but can reach out farther. For example, the Gallente Heavy Attack fighter Cyclops has a blaster with an optimal range of 4 km (+5 km falloff) while the Long Range Attack Antaeus has a railgun with 30 km optimal (+12 km falloff). In addition it also has a special attack that is effectively like a Stealth Bomber's bomb launcher but I can't confirm exact stats on the micro bombs that they launch. Finally, instead of a MWD they are fitted with a Micro Jump Drive that takes 10 seconds to spool up (increasing their signature by 150% while doing so) and then sends them 100 km forward like a normal MJD.
Heavy fighters can only be used on Supercarriers and Large and Extra Large Citadels.