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A Cloaking Device will reduce enemy Active Search Sensor range against a ship equipped with it.
See Cloaking Device for the component.
Enemy passive sensors are not affected. Reduced thermal engine emissions and low EM emissions are therefore required to make a true stealth craft. Enemy fire controls are also unaffected - the device does not act as an ECM.
Similar to Jump Engines, the size of a Cloaking Device and its efficiency limit the total mass of the ship that the device can protect. There is a minimum size as well, so small ships cannot be protected.
Cloaking Devices need a significant amount of research, and thus are later game technology.
Cloaking technology research
The first tech that can be researched is Cloaking Theory. It only unlocks the researchable fields of:
- Cloaking Efficiency - determines the maximum allowed total mass of the ship per device HS. Higher levels allow larger ships for the same device size. Ranges from efficiency 3 to 15.
- Cloaking Device Size - Minimum size of the device. Ranges from 25 HS to 2 HS.
- Cloak Sensor Reduction - The actual reduction in enemy sensor range, as a percentage of total range. It ranges from 75% to 99.5%.
Cloaking Device HS150-75% Max Ship Size: 150 (7500 tons) Cloak Size: 50 HS Efficiency: 3 Cloak HTK: 10 Cost: 1250 Crew: 100 Materials Required: 1250x Corbomite Development Cost for Project: 12500RP
This low-tech cloaking device would reduce enemy active sensor range by 75% as long as the ship carrying it has a total mass of 7500 tons or less. Note the high research cost of the component. Also note that with an efficiency of 3, the device itself already has a mass of 2500 tons. An efficiency of 5 would allow reducing its size to 1500 tons.