Some of the medium and large combat ships are able to mount a Fighter Hangar, which allows you to deploy a small fighter that can assist you in combat. In order to do so you must have another crew member, which can either be one of your friends or you can hire a NPC to assist your.
You can either fly the Ship-Launced Fighter (SLF) yourself while your crew member take care of your main ship – or you can fly the main ship and order your crew member to take control of the SLF.
Notice that the SLF is actually a remote controlled drone – if it is destroyed, your crew member is not harmed and you can simply launch another SLF from your Fighter Hangar.
Larger ships can equip a larger Fighter Hangar, which can carry more spare fighters.
After you equip a Fighter Hanger remember to also equip some fighters in the hangar!
You can basically choose three different types of fighter:
- Gu-97 is the fastest fighter but has less shield and armor
- Taipan is slower but has more shield and armor
- F63 Condor is a decent all-rounder
These come in various variants equipped with different weapons in both fixed and gimbal version; however – the fighters are very fast and agile so you should not have any problems with keeping the target in sight with fixed weapons. I recommend you try these variants:
- Gu-97 Aegis F – Fixed Pulse Laser (DPS: 44)
- Gu-97 Rogue F – Fixed Plasma Repeater (DPS: 36)
- Gu-97 Gelid F – Fixed Beam Laser (DPS: 45)
- Taipan Aegis F – Fixed Pulse Laser (DPS: 4)
- Taipan AX1 F – Fixed AX Multicannon (DPS: 55) *
- Taipan Rogue F – Fixed Plasma Repeater (DPS: 36)
- Taipan Gelid F – Fixed Beam Laser (DPS: 45)
- F63 Condor Aegis F – Fixed Plasma Repeater (DPS: 38)
- F63 Condor Rogue F – Fixed Multicannon (DPS: 42)
- F63 Condor Gelid F – Fixed Pulse Laser (DPS: 42)
* Notice: Taipan AX1 F is only useful against Thargoids as the AX weapons do less damage agains human ships.
I also recommend you invest some time in unlocking the Guardian fighters – they are very fast and agile with good shield but less armor. These fighters have similar stats so it is basically a matter of which weapon you prefer:
- XG7 Trident – Plasma Charger (DPS: 21)
- XG8 Javelin – Shard Launcher (DPS: 73)
- XH9 Lance – Gauss Projector (DPS: 52)
Ships you can use with Ship-Launced Fighters
These ships supports multi-crew and are able to equip a Ship-Launched Fighter:
- Alliance Crusader
- Beluga Liner
- Federal Corvette
- Federal Gunship
- Imperial Cutter
- Krait Mk II
- Type 9 Heavy
Hiring a NPC crew member
When docked at a station, select the CREW LOUNGE option from the STARPORT SERVICES page. Here you can manage your active or inactive NPC crew and hire a new crew member.
When hiring crew members you are given five random characters to choose from with a combat rank from Harmless to Expert. New players are likely to hire an Expert NPC as they are more useful in combat but I highly recommend you ONLY buy a Harmless NPC and simply spend a short time training him/her yourself as this will save you A LOT of credits in the long run!
The reason is: When you hire a NPC you pay a very small hiring cost, which you can ignore. What is important is to notice the profit share: A Harmless NPC will take 2% of every profit you make while an Expert will take 12%. If you train a Harmless to Elite rank they will end up costing you 10% in profilt share – in comparison the Expert when leveled up to Elite rank will take 16% in profit share!
It does not matter if you have an active crew member on your ship or if they are inactive – as long as you have a crew member, you will pay the profit share fee of every credit you earn!
Before you fly out to a HAZ-RES or combat zone to test your new Ship-Launched Fighter I highly recommend that you setup either your HOTAS or some keyboard commands for giving your fighter orders:
Press ESC and select OPTIONS > CONTROLS. Scroll down to the FIGHTER ORDERS group and setup what ever keys/buttons you like. I recommend that you bind ATTACK TARGET to a button on your HOTAS that is easy to reach and also bind DEFEND and OPEN ORDERS.
Also remember to set a NPC crew member active or invite a friend before you fly out – otherwise you will not be able to use the fighter!
To use the fighter open the Role Panel and select the DEPLOY menu (similar to deploying your SRV) – next select if you want to control the fighter yourself or have your crew member flying it.
Safe flight commander.