ECM (Electronic Counter Measures)
ECM disables targeting sensors making a ship unable to lock onto anything. When applied to a target each ECM module has a certain percent chance to jam its sensors. The % chance to jam a target is equal to jamming strength of ECM module divided by sensor strength of target ship x 100%. For example, if a target has sensor strength of 18 and ECM module has jamming strength of 6 the chance that this one ECM module will jam the target on first cycle is 6/18x100% = 33.3%. It is important to remember that ECM is chance based so sometimes you will will get very lucky and succeed in all of your jamming attempts and sometimes you will fail to jam anything. ECM modules do not stack, meaning that second and third modules applied to same target have the same percent chance of jamming it as the first module applied. In case of successful jam, the duration of the effect is 20 seconds which is one ECM module cycle.
From this follows that the higher locking strength of target ship, the more difficult it is to jam its locking sensors. Of all the ships present in game capital ships have the highest sensor strength, and some - motherships and titans - are completely immune to effects of ECM. Among the sub-capital ships, battleships and recon ships have the highest sensor strengths. Frigates have the lowest sensor strengths, with the exception of T1 e-war frigs - these have sensor strength comparable to that of T2 cruisers. Within the same class of ships, Caldari ships have highest sensor strength followed by Gallente, then Amarr, then Minmatar whose ships are the easiest to jam in game.
Locking Sensor Strengths of Various Ship Types
|Ship||Locking Sensor Strength|
|Tech 1 frigates||4-15|
|Tech 1 ewar frigates||12-17|
|Heavy assault ships||13-18|
|Tech 2 ewar frigates (EAFs)||21-24|
ECM: Modules and Rigs
Similar to other electronic warfare modules, ECM jammers have optimal and falloff ranges. These work exactly the same way as optimal and falloff ranges of turrets. Within optimal range your jammers will always hit. However whether the hit will be successful or not is determined randomly and based on your percent chance to jam. When you move out of optimal range of your ECM modules your chances of getting a hit will decrease, further decreasing your probability to jam anything. For example, if your jammers have optimal of 50km and falloff of 30km this means that within 50km you will always get a hit and at 80km you will get 50% chance of a hit. If you have 38% chance of jamming a ship this means that sitting at 80km your ECM modules will hit only half the time and out of this half only 38% will be successful hits.
Different race's ships in EVE have four different locking sensor types: Amarr use Radar sensors, Minmatar - Ladar, Caldri - Gravimetric, Gallente - Magnetometric. Multispectral jammers, aka "multis", jam all four sensor types equally. So if you're using multispectral jammers you don't have to concern with remembering which jammer jams which race because they jam all races equally well. However, if you are using racial jammers then you have to watch for applying correct racial jammer to correct ship. Racial jammers jam one sensor type much stronger than a multispec, but acts rather weakly on three others. Racial jammers are color coded such that it is easy to remember which ones jam which ships. The colors of the jammers correspond to the color of background of locked ships.
Red jammers jam Minmatar ships
Yellow jam Amarr ships
Dark blue jam Caldari ships
Cyan/green jam Gallente ships
Multispectral jammers have poorer optimal and falloff ranges and use more capacitor than racial jammers, as such ECM pilots often prefer to use racials instead of multispecs. Statistically it is better to bring multispecs to small gang combat (small being 2-5 ships) and racials when you're expecting to fight a bigger gang where it is likely that the enemy gang will feature at least one ship from each race.
Module Comparison Table
|ECM Module||Powergrid||CPU||Cycle Time||Cap/Cycle||Optimal||Falloff||Overload Bonus||Strength|
Other ECM enhancing modules and rigs
|Best-Named Signal Distortion Amplifier||module||1pg 29tf||+10% strength; +10% optimal||N/A|
|Signal Distortion Amplifier II||module||1pg 30tf||+10% strength; +10% optimal||N/A|
|Particle Dispersion Augmentor I||rig||200 pts||+10% strength||- 10% shields|
|Particle Dispersion Augmentor II||rig||300 pts||+15% strength||- 10% shields|
|Particle Dispersion Projector I||rig||100 pts||+20% optimal||- 10% shields|
|Particle Dispersion Projector II||rig||150 pts||+25% optimal||- 10% shields|
Particle Dispersion Projector rig bonus applies to optimal not only of ECM modules, but also of sensor dampeners, tracking disrupters, and target painters.
Modules that affect ECM optimal range and/or strength are affected by stacking penalties. Effects of PDP and PDA rigs and Signal Distortion Amplifiers are lessened as more are added. Each subsequent rig or module fitted will give an effect, but once you get beyond 4 effects on the same stat (e.g. 3x SDA in low slots +1 PDA rig) the increase is negligible.
Each ECM module is affected by 4-5 skills. To be an effective ECM pilot you need to train all of these up to level 4:
- Electronic Warfare IV: 5% reduction in capacitor need for ECM and ECM Burst systems per level
- Frequency Modulation IV: 10% bonus to falloff for ECM, damps, tracking disruptors, and painters per level
- Long Distance Jamming IV: 10% bonus to optimal range for ECM, damps, tracking disruptors, and painters per level
- Signal Dispersion IV: 5% bonus to strength of all ECM jammers per level
- Ship Command specific skill IV (bonus depends on ship)
- Long Range Targeting IV (you need to be able to target as far as you can jam, also counters dampeners)
ECM is electronic warfare of the Caldari. Among Caldari ships there are one T1 frigate, one cruiser, one battleship, one electronic attack frigate, two recon ships, and one black ops ship that receive bonus to ECM modules. It is not advisable to fit ECM modules on other ships that have no bonuses to ECM strength as chance of jamming anything without these modules getting some bonuses is rather small.
Caldari Frigate Skill Bonus: 15% bonus to ECM Target Jammer strength per level; 10% bonus to ECM Target Jammers' capacitor need per level.
Caldari Frigate Skill Bonus: 20% bonus to ECM target jammer strength per level; 10% reduction in ECM target jammers' capacitor need per level
Electronic Attack Ships Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to ECM target jammer optimal range per level; 5% bonus to capacitor capacity per level
Caldari Cruiser Skill Bonus: 15% bonus to ECM Target Jammer strength per level; 10% bonus to ECM Target Jammer optimal range and falloff per level.
Caldari Cruiser Skill Bonus: 5% Bonus to Medium Hybrid Damage per level; 10% Bonus to ECM capacitor use per level
Recon Ships Skill Bonus: 30% bonus to ECM Target Jammer strength per level; -96% to -100% reduction in Cloaking Device CPU use per level
Role Bonus: 80% reduction in liquid ozone consumption for cynosural field generation and 50% reduction in cynosural field duration.
Note: can fit covert cynosural field generators
Caldari Cruiser Skill Bonus: 5% Bonus to heavy & heavy assault missile Launcher rate of fire per level; 10% Bonus to ECM capacitor use per level
Recon Ships Skill Bonus: 30% Bonus to ECM strength per level; 10% Bonus to heavy & heavy missile velocity per level
Caldari Battleship Skill Bonus: 15% bonus to ECM strength per level; 20% bonus to ECM optimal and falloff range per level
Caldari Battleship Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to cruise and siege missile launcher rate of fire and 10% bonus to cruise missile and torpedo velocity per level
Black Ops Skill Bonus: 30% bonus to ECM target jammer strength and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125% per level
Note: can fit covert cynosural field generators and covert jump portal generators. No targeting delay after decloaking
Damage avoidance is the preferred survival tactic of ECM ships. They do this by keeping distance from enemy, engaging while being aligned, and warping out when in danger of being tackled. Upon engaging enemy ECM ship has to align and be ready to warp out. Sort your overview by distance and watch out for tacklers on approach. ECM ships fit practically all of their middle slots with with ECM modules to maximize their effectiveness in their given role, which does not leave much room for a shield tank. Sometimes, in large fleet situations where ECM ships are in danger of being sniped down they are given an armor or shield tank. Keeping distance is, however, still the best form of tank an ECM ship can use.
ECM ships should warp in independently from other ships in gang. Warp-in point for ECM ship should be somewhere on the edge of its optimal range. With racial jammers Griffins have optimal of about 40-50km, Falcons and Rooks 60-75km, Blackbirds 90-110km, and Scorpions can jam from up to 180km with good ewar skills.
In combat ECM ships do little to no actual damage. Their primary goal is to reduce the ewar and damage abilities of enemy ships. This role should not be sacrificed for an ability to do damage to other ships.
ECM ships pick their targets somewhat independently from the rest of the gang. When picking targets, ECM pilot has to consider which ships when jammed would be a bigger loss to the enemy gang. Obvious targets are other ECM ships and ships set up to perform remote repairs of any kind. An ECM ship such as Rook or Falcon can jam up to 6 different ship if the pilot is successful in all of the jamming attempts. Logistics ships make it impossible to kill anything by performing armor, shield, or cap transfer to the primary target. One logistics ship is often reinforced by second logistics ship, making it very hard to out-dps and kill it. Forcing logistics ships to drop lock on each other makes them much more vulnerable. Besides eliminating enemy's e-war and RR abilities, another focus of ECM pilot should be decreasing dps of enemy gang by targeting their heavy hitters such as battleships, battlecruisers, and HACs.
Jamming primary ship sometimes makes little sense as it is likely to go down very soon. Unless primary ship is another EWAR ship, logistics, or a heavy tanker it often makes sense to jam other ships from enemy gang than primary target. If your gang of 5-10 ships is killing a Cerberus, it is likely to go down very fast so do not waste your jams on it. Jam that Vagabond picking off your tacklers or that Drake that is causing distress to your gang's Rapier.
When gang is retreating, start listening to gang members calling out enemy tacklers to jam. In this situation you can save your gang quite a bit of ships by jamming enemy ship that are holding points on your retreating gang members.
An ECM ship pilot should aim to jam as many targets as possible in combat. As such it is detrimental to get multiple successful jams on same target with more than one jammer fitted to your ship. You could have been applying that second jammer to another target or saving it in case another neutral ship warps on grid. To prevent this from happening turn off auto-cycling on jammers (right-click on each ECM module when in space to see this option). Now your jammers will automatically turn off at the end of each cycle. You will have to do more micro-managing, but as a result you will do much more damage to enemy gang because you will be using your jammers to maximum capacity.
Bookmarks are very important to have for ECM pilot. Make several bookmarks at the very edge of your optimal range around objects of interest in your home constellation. This way you keep maximum distance away from hostile gangs and stay within optimal range such that your ship will be most effective in jamming ability. Place your bookmarks out of plane from all the warpable objects in system, such that a hostile interceptor cannot simply warp to planet X then warp 100km back to gate and land right on top of you. Make at least 2 bookmarks at each object in home constellation so if you get spoofed by a hostile inty at one location you can simply warp out and warp back to your second bookmark and start jamming again.
Watch out for bubbles, whether hostile or friendly they will pull you in and make you unable to warp to your optimal range. ECM ships often get primaried first, so if you end up in a middle of a fight in a bubble expect to die quickly. When engaging always engage at a bit of a latency to avoid being called primary right away.
Cloaky Cloaky Falcons
Falcons are different from other ECM ships in that they have the ability to warp around cloaked. This gives them special ability to be on grid with enemy ships and provide intel or warp-in points. Falcons can also mount a scan probe launcher and scan down safespotted ships, however, they do not receive bonuses that covert ops ships do to scan probing.
It is crucial, however, for Falcon pilots to not reveal their presence until enemy commits to the fight. A pilot in a cloaked recon ship is like a wildcard of the gang. Once the ship decloaks and enemy is made aware of its presence, the "surprise suckers!" element is gone and enemy gang will re-evaluate their position or possibly start thinking of ways to primary and kill the Falcon fast. It is also risky because enemy covops will see your general location and may head your way to give other ships a warp-in or run a scan probe cycle on your location. This is why it is important to hold cloak in many situations, even if it means that you are not going to be present on a killmail.
You should inform your gang members that you will decloak and jam only when you hear them calling for jams or when enemy commits a significant force to the fight. When gang members commit to a fight they should not automatically assume that there will be a Falcon decloaking to save them at each instance.
Drones are like missiles that keep on hitting. Unlike missiles, however, they keep hitting even if the owner is jammed. Regular combat drones are not susceptible to jamming. You can lock a drone and apply ECM module to it, and it will show you a gray bar as if the drone is jammed, however the drone will continue doing its damage.
Drone control range is about 45-57km depending on pilot's skills. This range can be extended by fitting Drone Link Augmentor modules. Each drone link augmentor adds another 20km to this range, however, few ships fit these besides dedicated drone boats. When an ECM ship gets drone aggro, even from five T1 drones, they will do sufficient damage to prompt it to warp out, since ECM ships have very weak tanks. The best way of avoiding getting hit by drones is to either jam their owner before he can release them or stay out of his maximum drone control range (keep at 60+km distance).
Statistics: Calculating Your Chances
Calculating % chance to jam over one ECM cycle is very easy - just divide ECM strength by target's sensor strength. To determine percent chance of jamming a target over several ECM cycles we use derived Bernoulli formula to determine probability of success: Pr = (1-(1-p)^N) x 100% where N is number of ECM cycles and p is probability of success to jam. Example: You have an ECM module with strength of 6 and you're trying to jam a target with sensor strength of 18 you have 33.3% chance of jamming it on one cycle. Probability that you will be successful in jamming the taget over 2 cycles is Pr = (1-(1-0.33)^2) x 100% = 55%.
Too lazy to do the math yourself? Check out this nifty website: Crunchmeister's Jamming Calculator