Editor’s Note: The following is a love letter for the Fed Navy Comet written by GalMil pilot Burtakus.
Today I am going to walk readers through one of, If not, my favorite frigates: The Federation Navy Comet. I have been flying this fit essentially unchanged for several years now and it remains my go to ship for roaming the FW zone and low sec in general. It is especially useful during peak times when the WZ is chock full of small gangs and larger fleets due to your ability to choose and then disengage from most any engagement unless hard tackled.
This fit will run you around $28 million ISK. If you are in Gallente FW you can cut that cost down significantly by exchanging 10,000 FDU LP and $2 million ISK for a 1-run BPC or 10,000 FDU LP an Incursus Hull and a Gallente Gamma Nexus Chip.
Gallente Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
- 5% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret tracking speed
- 20% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret damage
Stats Cold (Heated)
No links, No Implants Links, Mid-Grade Snakes, Zor’s
DPS: 140 (155) No Change
Speed: 4,137 m/s (5,929 m/s) 6,260 m/s (8,832 m/s)
Reps: 34.6 HP/s (44.8 HP/s) 57.6 HP/s (74.6 HP/s)
Align Time: 2.59s (3.92s w/mwd) 2.2s (3.33s w/ mwd)
Signature: 42 (252 w/mwd) 28.1 (169 w/mwd)
Pros: Speed, Agility, DPS Projection, Large Engagement Profile, Escapability
Cons: Requires high level of manual piloting proficiency, almost certain death if hard tackled
How to fly this incredibly fun ship?
First off, you need to use the police comet skin because why wouldn’t you.
Secondly, your main advantage comes from the ships speed and agility, therefor use it. For those that have not become proficient at manually piloting, micro managing module activation and heat, and maintaining grid awareness you will want to develop those skills to a high level of proficiency. This ship requires it, especially if engaging more than one target. If you think you can orbit or keep at range you will find yourself getting tackled or losing the target to a well-timed slingshot or one of their fleet mates sneaking up on you. You will also find yourself in situations where you need to minimize transversal due to the speeds you fly at creating tracking issues for your turrets; even with the hull tracking bonus and the added tracking enhancer.
Lastly, this ship really excels at engaging multiple targets. I encourage everyone to warp head first into 2, 3, or even 4+ targets and see what happens. You will lose them, but they come relatively cheap for the performance and you will have some of the best fights you can imagine.
Next we are going to explore 4 different use cases for this fit and cover generally how to fly this fit under each case.
Use Case 1: Solo Roaming
You can really cover some territory in this to find fights. Plus it often sneaks up on folks because they do not expect a MWD, Long Point, Rail comet to kite them. In most cases you should feel very comfortable either setting up in a plex at range and waiting for something to come to you or sliding into a plex with someone already in it. When sliding into an occupied plex, pre-heat the MWD and make your first priority burning out of hard tackle range. If you do get hard tackled immediately reload to Javelin, heat your guns, and heat the repper as much as you can and you may live. I would be careful warping into a Daredevil or a Dram unless you know they are AB fit and are not faction web fit.
Now that you have avoided getting hard tackled you can get to work. With the Fed Navy Thorium your optimal comes to around 17km with a falloff of 26km km. Using a combination of keep at range (16.5km – 17km), orbit (16km – 16.5km), approach, and manual piloting you can use your turret and drone DPS to chip away at most anything cruiser down. Active tank cruisers and T3 Destroyers usually push the limits but I have killed them with careful cap management and enough ammo. If the target calls in backup you can make a decision to stay and take the 1 vs many or disengage at will and live to find another fight. Keep in mind that you have a cap booster that will be needed to stay on field in a protracted fight whether it is a 1 v 1 or a 1 v many situation. In most cases you should reserve your last cap booster for disengaging and escaping.
Use Case 2: Small Gang
In a small gang you fly basically the same way as when you fly solo except now you become one member in a swarm of bees. You have multiple points that enables you to keep several targets on field when engaging multiple targets to prevent their escape. If your fellow pilots have better than average manually piloting ability you can maneuver as needed to keep as many targets pointed as you have ships in your fleet. With the ability to load spike and still use drones you can engage out to over 40km and apply DPS while moving around to maintain points or avoid getting tackled. When fighting above your weight it is critical to focus DPS at the primary but otherwise it makes for a great multi-target environment where you can free fire as necessary to clear the grid of hostiles.
Use Case 3: Fleet Scout and Tackle
I think this fit can outperform many interceptors.
- Comets are rather benign when compared to interceptors so you don’t get juicy targets becoming spooked like they would when an interceptor shows up on D-scan.
- You do not give up much if any speed or agility to interceptors.
- You often have a better tank than an interceptor enabling you to be a little more risky in obtaining and holding point.
- You can kill just about any interceptor, even those that scram you.
The only two things you really give up are the point range bonus of an interceptor and the warp speed of an interceptor. Neither of these becomes mission critical if you can pilot well and understand the capabilities of you and your fleet.
A key difference in this role as opposed to solo or small gang comes from you becoming focused on tackling a target versus applying DPS. Often times you will need to turn off your turrets to conserve cap and cap boosters until your fleet shows up. You can scout pretty far away from the fleet if you have a full complement of cap boosters and can hold many targets even if the fleet sits 5-10 jumps away. Again it comes down to piloting, managing your modules, and paying close attention to your cap usage.
Use Case 4: Kill Mail Whoring
Self-explanatory. Load spike, turn on MWD, lock target from 40km away, and fire a volley. Not much will worry about you in a Comet at that range and if they do you can just burn off.
This little ship remains a blast to fly and at a relatively cheap price for the level of performance. For those that can, I advocate using links (at least until the off grid booster changes go into effect) and mid-grade snakes. This really broadens your engagement envelope when considering 1 vs many targets. In most 1 vs 1 engagements there is no need for this unless you want to take edge case fights against something like a Garmur, which is quite rewarding when you get a shiny kill mail from someone who thought they were untouchable. In fact, I ran this fit for many years without links before I had access to them and found that I could engage just about anything I do today (with exception of 1 vs many), even others that were linked. Given the nature of this fit and what it can do, I would not recommend using combat boosters such as exile. The potential to take a penalty to cap or something else in my opinion represents too much of a risk that reduces the effectiveness of the ship more than the benefits you gain.