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The Fire Control (FC for short) is a special type of sensor component that direct weapon fire. You need Missile Fire Controls for missiles and Beam Fire Controls for beam weapons. They cannot detect targets themselves, instead they use data from an Active sensors.
Fire Control system handle weapon targeting and can direct all linked weapons to engage targets. To fire on a target, an active sensor contact is needed, it does not need to be on the same ship but, it is still a good idea to include some active capability on larger ships as backup. The active sensor you employ should have more range than your fire controls. To fire a weapon, it needs to be assigned to a Fire Control on the same ship and of the right type (missile or beam weapon). Each Fire Control can direct any number of weapons. Having more than one Fire Control on a ship allows you to fire at multiple targets simultaneously by assigning weapons to different Fire Controls.
Beam Fire Control
Beam Fire Control should match the tracking speed of the weapon. The minimum of weapon tracking speed, and the rating of the Beam Fire Control is used, so they should be matched for optimal performance.
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Missile Fire Control
Missile Fire Control should match the range of your missiles, else you either waste fuel or HS for your FCs. Excess MFC range can be useful if you expect enemy ECM and/or improved, longer ranged missiles. Beam Fire Controls are more flexible in range, and lasers often cannot be matched by the range of the Beam Fire Control. However excess range means increased damage over the effective range.
All missiles that are fired under the control of a single fire control count as one "salvo". Importantly, defensive fire like AMMs or beam PD consider each "salvo" as a separate target. Therefore
- more offensive/ASM Fire Controls allow your broadsides to be divided into more distinct targets, overwhelming enemy PD more easily and
- more defensive/AMM Fire Controls allow to engage more incoming "salvos" simultaneously.
Example: Lets say you have a broadside of 10 missiles. The enemy has two twin-Gauss-guns turrets that fire a total of 10 shots, which achieve a 90% hit chance against your missiles. Lets assume the enemy uses a single Fire Controls for both Gauss-gun-turrents.
- If you launch your 10 missiles by a single Fire Control, they are all considered to be the same "salvo". When they strike the enemy he will be able to fire all his 10 shots against your 10 missiles, killing all but one.
- However if you would be using two FCs, then you would present 2 salvos of 5 missiles. The single enemy FC could only engage one of the salvos, completely destroying this one. However the second salvo would remain entirely unengaged, so 5 missiles would get trough.