Since the Q&A's were posted about the Hammerhead, I've been doing some light theory crafting in my head about all the possible weapons loadouts that I'd be willing to equip on my ships. During this recent anniversary sale, I was prepared to spend quite a bit of coin. As such, my first major purchase was a Polaris, which I quickly picked up on RSI day. I had initially intended to purchase two more, but something told me to wait. I'm glad I did! After seeing the ATV where the Hammerhead was unveiled, I was floored! The gunship that I wanted the Polaris to be came true in the Hammerhead. Well, almost true... the one I envisioned has two more turrets (One more fore dorsal and another fore ventral).
In any case, once I saw this ship I couldn't resist. Initially I made a purchase for six of these monsters. I've since added a seventh to go along with an assortment of fighters, an Orion mining ship and a Hull E (with two more on the way). I know, crazy, right? So now to focus on what my role will be in the verse. There was only one clear choice. Escorting and asset protection. Maybe I'll mix in a bit of ground ops as well since I also have a pretty good selection of ground vehicles to aid any ground forces I might decide to deploy.
Seeing only a small demonstration of what the Hammerhead could do, I quickly turned my attention to its armaments. What are the default weapons it comes equipped with? And will two large power plants be sufficient enough to 24 size 4 guns firing simultaneously? One of these questions was quickly answered.
I was intrigued by this answer for many reasons.
1) I can have all seven hammerheads targeting a larger assailant (such as an Idris) and cause more than enough damage to either destroy it or cripple it severely.
2) I could (possibly) upgrade those power plants to something better equipped to handle the output of weapons that took more energy to fire than the default loadout.
3) Ballistics... Why ballistics? Ballistic weapons ignore shields and cause direct hull damage, but the ammo is also limited. So why ballistics when I can fire energy weapons with near impunity?
Like every ship, the Hammerhead has its strengths and weaknesses. And I can't help but to think that this ship's greatest strength and weakness are its guns. Not only are the turrets incredibly exposed, but that it the default loadout may not kill a target as fast as I'd like out of a ship this size. So what could I do to beef up its offensive and defensive capabilities? Well, like CIG has said, " a good defense is a great offense". To me, that means this ship is not only aggressive, it's the aggressor! And that's when it hit me...
During my time in the USAF as a member of Security Forces, we operated with a similar mindset. A rather defensive minded group that brought the pain when necessary. Use of force was a secondary option, but when it was employed, we were deadly to our purpose. So here I am, years later, still harnessing that same dutiful mindset. Security Forces don't fight alone. We run in packs! Which was the same idea I had when forming my HH battlegroup.
All these monsters, what shall be their teeth? A balanced, layered defense. That tactic had always served me well in the past. No matter the game, no matter the genre. A well layered defense with multiple ways to attack and defend. Based off the weapons we know of and that are currently in game, why not use them all? If escort and protection is the career path I've chosen, why not use everything available to me? Each ship on the perimeter has a different weapon type... and the closer you get to the asset that's being protected, the more deadly weapon type will be used.
For example: My detachment has been tasked with escorting a lone Orion from Terra to Earth. The Orion is full with ore and other precious metals. A definition of "layered defense" is illustrated here:
The Orion is in the center. The surrounding Polarii will act as Hammerheads (since the site hasn't been updated, yet).
The ships on the outter perimeter would be my constant DPS ships. And the armament of choice would be:
The range of this weapon is impressive and would provide a protective bubble around the asset. Now let's talk about the rate of fire. Just one gun can unleash 110 rounds per minute. Multiply that by 4 guns per turret (440 rpm). Not so bad. Now , multiply that by 6 turrets. That's 2,640 rounds per minute, per ship using this setup! In total, that's 13,200 rounds per minute of suppressive fire between five ships! *You can blink now* Now consider this. The total distance between those ships shouldn't exceed 2,500 - 3,000 metres, so there will be overlapping fields of fire. Thats just rate of fire, I haven't even calculated damage output and potential damage for shots landed on target.
Going back to the ship diagram; the two inner perimeter Hammerheads on either side of the Orion will be armed with:
What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? Simply iconic looking! A much shorter range with less damage numbers, but with that, you get direct hull damage and a high rate of fire per gun. Just one Revanent puts out 1,300 rounds per minute. A single turret will lay down 5,200 rounds per minute. Just one ship will put out 31,200 rounds per minute. And both ships combined will draw the proverbial "line in the sand". This final denial line will be a potent one as incoming fighters will have to balance dodging intense laser fire vs. unimpeded hull damage. Yes, the cost to rearm a ballistic Hammerhead could turn out to be very expensive. But honestly, in the interest of keeping a good reputation and success rate, I'll pay that cost willingly.
Please take into account that this just covers the Hammerhead force in my inventory. Under no circumstances would I fly this or any formation without fighter assistance coupled with several tracking ships like the Terrapin. Close in fighters like the Hornet, perimeter skirmishers like the Sabre (or Gladius) and ranged fighters like the Vanguard Warden could make this escort combination extremely effective.
It just hit me... I haven't even touched on the missile racks. The Hammerhead comes with 32 size 3 missiles as standard. The ability to swap them out for 64 size 2's or 96 size 1's is insane!
I'm very interested to gets some feedback. How well do you think this could work? What would you change or do differently? Lets keep this discussion going.