Just give me the build already!

Note: Torpedo Pylons to be replaced by nanite torpedoes once available.

The design philosophy of the TitanBomber Mamba

With the advent of anti-Titan Nanite Torpedoes the need arose to design the ideal delivery vehicle for these new weapons.

As all Maelstrom builds, a few design criteria were obvious – these had to be cold builds, they needed to be fast, and they needed to avoid using guardian modules entirely.

We also felt that modifying the tried-and-true TitanKiller space-superiority build , while possible, could end up being suboptimal.

The wing-based approach to combat XSF takes gave us room to maneuver – we could design a dedicated bomber, which would operate in a dedicated bomber wing and be supported by one or more TitanKiller-based space superiority wings.

Our prior experience experimenting with the Concordant-sequence experimental fed into this design – of a shielded, wing-focused dedicated bomber.

Considering their speed, agility, and shield strength, the Mamba and the FDL were considered as platforms. They were similar in performance – the ability of the Mamba to kit two large torpedo pylons (or three even) made it win out.

Various shields were tested. The biweaves were the obvious initial choice based on how the Concordant Sequence effect works. However, biweave shield regeneration generated too much heat for this “stealth bomber” build. Prismatic Shields, at the opposite end of the spectrum, suffered from too-high power grid requirements, which would have forced to abandon the LE5/TS power plant (not to mention being a powerplay-gated module.) Enhanced, Low Power Class 5A shields, coupled with the lo-draw experimental, were thus chosen for this build (the lo-draw experimental allows the ship to charge its shields with just 1 SYS pip.)

The odd combination of a small turreted BEAM laser (with regeneration sequence) and a small turreted PULSE laser (with concordant sequence) is not casual – Concordant Sequence is applied as an on/off effect, thus the lowest the distributor draw and the wider the tracking arc of the applying the weapon, the better – hence the turreted pulse laser. Regeneration Sequence is only available on beams lasers – hence the turreted beam laser.

Thus, with all of the above coming together, the TitanBomber Mamba was born.

Uncommon experimentals

Shielded builds are rare in AX, and historically limited to large ships only. Shielded-WING builds are an absolute novelty in fighting Xenos.

As a result, we have practically zero experience with the associated tactics.

The key to this build is the Regeneration Sequence and, especially, the Concordant Sequence experimentals placed on the small turreted lasers.

Concordant Sequence boosts shield regeneration by 1,000% (10x) for 5 seconds. The effect is exceptionally powerful (it’s akin to being docked in terms of how fast shields regenerate.)

The limitation of concordant sequence is that is that it only kicks in when shields are regenerating, and there is a three-second delay from taking damage to when shields start recharging. Thus if a ship is constantly under sustained fire, concordant sequence won’t help them.

Regeneration Sequence, on the other hand, provides a much smaller boost, but has the benefit of working also while the target is under fire.

Regeneration and Concordant sequences do NOT interfere with each other – shield regeneration is NOT interrupted by hitting a friendly with a weapon with one of these experimentals.

Note that while the effect of Concordant Sequence is a “one tap” thing, which then lasts for 5 seconds regardless of anything else, a Regeneration Sequence beam needs to actively connect and remain connected with it’s target. As Mamba profiles are relatively small, this limits the effective range of Regeneration Sequence beams to about 2-3km, as further than that distance the jitter of the turret will result in more misses than hits. Concordant sequence instead is very effective up to its maximum engineered range of 6km.

Note that the effect of the Concordant Sequence experimental does not stack. It is sufficient for one CMDR to “tap” another for the effect to apply. Regeneration sequence, on the other hand, does stack. The more CMDRs are targeting one wing member with regeneration beams, the stronger the effect will be.

The weakness of this configuration is that, once a TitanBomber loses its shields, it becomes extremely vulnerable- as neither of these experimentals work with broken shields. There is little room on either the Mamba (or FDL) for MRPs and HRPs, and the need-for-cold-speed dictates the use of clean drives to keep up with their TitanKiller escorts without heating up to detectable levels.

As a result, TitanBomber pilots are heavily reliant on their low heat (stealth) to avoid detection, on their wingmates for shield integrity and on their fighter escorts for space superiority.

As a final note, be aware that both these experimentals only work on wing members. It is not possible to use instance-wide support ships for this purpose.

The TitanBomber pilot manual

Flying a TitanBomber requires highly specialized training.

Baseline right-panel setup

Please make sure to turn “report crimes against me” off (you’re going to be actively shot upon by friendlies, and there WILL be accidental hits across wings in the mayhem of TitanSpace), and to set turrets to “target only” (else they won’t work). While less critical, you should also set your gun sights to “leading”.

Firegroup setup

The TitanBomber design intent is to operate with three firegroups:

  • Support: Laser turrets on primary trigger, huge beam on secondary trigger
  • Strike: Torpedoes on primary trigger, huge beam and pulse wave xeno scanner on secondary trigger
  • Utility: Caustic sinks launchers paired on first trigger, huge beam on secondary trigger

The Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer isn’t mapped by design – it should be triggered by hotkey instead.

You can optionally map the other scanners to the second trigger of the utility firegroup, though this serves no combat purpose and is more of a distraction than anything, so we would advise you just leave them unmapped.

Finally note that since you will most likely be fighting without target lock, and most definitely be fighting from more than 500m range, the Xeno Scanner mapping is practically useless (it just so happens to come “for free” with the pulse-wave xeno scanner); you can map it if you want (probably to primary support trigger), but it won’t do much more than distracting you from more important auditory cues;

PIPs management

Unlike the TitanKiller space-superiority KraitMk2 (which flies with an exceptionally comfy set-it-and-forget-it 0-3-3,) the TitanBomber, being a shielded build, requires active PIPs management.

The TitanBomber has three PIP-calls:

  • “Tank” – PIPs to 4-2-0
    To be used when under fire with shields dropping below 90%.
  • “Maneuver” – PIPs to 1-4-1
    To be used for maneuvering around the Titan, when not actively engaged in combat
    Note: 1 SYS will charge your shield on this build, and further slowly refill your capacitor for the necessities of occasional Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer usage
    Note: 1 WEP can ALMOST sustain the regen+concordant lasers, but it won’t do so indefinitely (and neither will the thermal load of those allow you to stay cold indefinitely; use them as needed, but don’t just “leave them on” – to “turn them off”, roll over to the following firegroup and they will shut down)
  • ”Strike” – PIPs to 1-1-4
    To be used for:
    A) Providing shield-stripping support to space superiority wings, primarily against Orthrus, Medusa, and Hydra hardened targets
    B) Torpedo bombing runs, where you need to use your huge beam to avoid heat spiking while also powering the torpedoes themselves

The bomber wing commander will call Strike and Maneuver PIP settings. It is up to the individual pilot to switch to Tank when coming under heavy fire, and to return to the applicable setting once shield integrity is restored.

Heat management

As with any Maelstrom build, managing heat in order to permanently remain under 20% heat, and thus avoid being locked by patrols and by Titan turrets, is essential for survivability.

Compared to the TitanKiller, the TitanBomber has additional thermal headroom built-in, thanks to the use of Clean Drives. TitanBombers are still able to keep up with TitanKillers given the Mamba’s higher base velocity.

Even with that thermal headroom, heat management requires care. The main huge beam of the TitanBomber will eventually overdraw even on 4 WEP, and quickly overwhelm its Thermal Vent capability if fired continuously.

Even in “Strike” PIPs (1-1-4), the Huge Beam should not be fired continuously, especially if the turrets are also active.

Neither in “Maneuver” nor in “Strike” the turrets should be on indefinitely. Their thermal load will make you heat spike eventually, and the 1-4-1 of Maneuver cannot sustain them indefinitely. Use them as needed.

Most importantly, within Titanspace a TitanBomber should never boost without the huge beam TV effect being active (and the ship’s heat thus being and staying at zero). This is very important – an “uncovered boost” will almost guarantee heat detection, and soon you’ll see the screen fill with red turret fire and the scanner fill with white caustic missiles heading your way.

“Within Titanspace a TitanBomber should never boost without the huge beam TV effect being active

Target non-locking

Perhaps the most unique aspect of a TitanBomber wing is that it should never lock hostiles, with the notable exception of Titan Vents during signature bombing runs.

The necessary Pulse Wave Xeno Scanner has a meager 500m scanning range anyway, which makes getting full scans of hostile patrols impractical.

What you do want to lock is your wingmates. Keeping wingmates locked serves two purposes:

  • It allows to instantly apply ConcSeq and RegenSec effects to teammates, without having to fiddle with hotkeys, while at the same time having a clear focus on supporting each other; Note that you HAVE to remain locked onto a wingmate to apply the effect, if you switch targets thereafter turrets will stop firing.
  • It allows to quickly validate relative range, so that the wing can stick within 6km of each other at all times (the max range of LR beams)

The fixed main huge beam of the TitanBomber doesn’t require a target lock anyway.

The obvious exception to this general rule is torpedo bombing runs, where targeting vents is necessary for torpedoes to lock and track.

Hotkeys setup

A TitanBomber pilot should configure and familiarize themselves (to the point of embedding these into their muscle memory) with the following hotkeys:

  • Select Wingman 2/3/4 – These should be mapped to F2/F3/F4 for keyboard users
    These hotkeys are essential to instantly target wingmates and switch ConcSeq/regensec onto them as needed; while the “default” (see wing roles below) target should always be locked, wing members should be ready to switch at a moment’s notice if the situation demands it
  • Charge Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer – not only is this necessary for traversing the caustic zone of the maelstrom, the TPN acts as an individual Shutdown Field Neutralizer once inside TitanSpace. As the calls for shutdown pulse are extremely quick (usually a 2-second warning), pilots will not have a chance to go hunt and pecking for their TPN key; this one needs to be handy

It is worth talking about Silent Running as a keybind specifically. It is a quite commonly used keybind on shieldless builds as a very powerful defensive tool.

However, Silent Running instantly drops shields. Considering how vulnerable a TitanBomber is without shields, accidentally hitting Silent Running on these ships can be detrimental and even doom a run. Rather, silent running for these builds is a solution-of-last-resort when shields are lost and a ship is under fire and needs to boost to retreat as the sole option for survival. Lacking heatsinks, that is an emergency maneuver you’ll want to do in SR. That being said, SR as a keybind is extremely risk – if you want to bind it, bind to some key that you are reasonably certain you won’t accidentally hit!

The beauty of this “stealth bomber” build is that it is, effectively, permanently in a state equivalent to silent running, if properly handled.

Target calling

TitanBomber pilots need to strictly follow their wing lead’s target calling.

As a specialized bomber wing, TitanBombers will seek to avoid engaging patrols as much as possible – rather leaving that task to the much more capable TitanKiller wings.

The exception is when encountering hardened targets – specifically Orthrus, Medusa, and Hydra interceptors – in that case, Strike Actual may request bomber wing fire support on shield stripping, as the four huge beams that the wing can deploy are extremely effective at that. This call is made by Strike Actual and relayed by the wing commander of the TitanBomber wing. It is not the prerogative of a bomber wing lead to call fire support without a request.

Wing roles

In addition to their strike roles (delivering torpedoes to the vents), wing members have specialized roles.

Wing leader (Usually a Captain)

The wing leader is responsible for command of the wing, calling targets, and communicating with other wing leaders and op commander(s). They are the only ones who will hear and can speak with the Op CMDR.

As such, it is the responsibility of the Wing Commander to request permission from Strike Actual to initiate a torpedo run, and to then order the wing to begin the attack run.

The wing leader should default their target-lock to the first wingman, unless other wingmates require immediate support.

First Wingman (Usually a Lieutenant)

The first wingman is responsible for “managing the clock” and keeping track of the visual and auditory cues signaling an imminent opening of the Titan’s vents.

They should call “Titan Vents coming open” when they hear the “gurgling sound” that indicates that the vents are about to open.

The first wingman should default their target-lock to the second wingman, unless other wingmates require immediate support.

Second Wingman (Usually an experienced Aviator)

The second wingman is responsible for keeping a close eye on the relative distance and shield status of the entire wing, and on calling wingman targeting and experimental application.

When they detect a wingmate under heavy fire or otherwise very low on shields, they should call: “Lock <CMDR Name> and fire turrets”. They should also call on range deviations such as “<CMDR Name>, you are 8km out, tighten up.” Note that the default one-on-one locking of wingmates should suffice; the need for combined regeneration sequence beams on a single commander should be rare and limited to extraordinary occasions (for example, a hard accidental collision with an asteroid.)

The second wingman should default their target-lock to the third wingman, unless other wingmates require immediate support.

Third Wingman (typically a less-experienced Aviator)

The third wingman is typically a less-experienced aviator and, as such, has no additional specific responsibilities, other thank following the applicable wing calls.

The third wingman should default their target-lock to the wing leader, unless other wingmates require immediate support.

TitanBomber operational checklist

Pre-flight checklist

This list is to be used before undocking from your carrier/station.

  1. Confirm ship build matching spec
  2. Confirm module power priorities matching spec
  3. Confirm firegroup setup matching spec
  4. Check right panel for Report crimes against me: Off
  5. Check right panel for Turret Weapon Mode: Target Only
  6. Check right panel for Gun Sight Mode: Leading
  7. Confirm select wingman 1/2/3 hotkeys mapped and accessible
  8. Confirm shutdown field neutralizer hotkey mapped and accessible
  9. Confirm silent running hotkey NOT mapped (or otherwise not easily accessible)
  10. Confirm Mumble XSF server installed and access functioning
  11. Confirm event PG (typically XSF PG) access

Pre-dive checklist

This list is to be used upon assembling on the outskirts of a Maelstrom, just before diving.

  1. Join Mumble voice comms
  2. Confirm personal Wing Role
  3. [Wing leader only] Assign wingman order and default target locks
  4. [Wing leader only] Assign second in command (typically first wingman)
  5. [Wing leader only] Confirm and report all personnel present and accounted for
  6. Confirm Primary Wingman for target lock, identify relevant hotkey, and proceed to lock them
  7. Deploy hardpoints
  8. Confirm hatch, AFMU, and FSD unpowered (should happen automatically upon deploying hardpoints)
  9. Test turrets by firing on wingmate
  10. Await strike actual / wing order to move out