The Lakon-6The Lakon-6 is the first high-tonnage freighter a new pilot will be able to afford. At a fraction over a million credits the shop-floor specs aren't much to look at. But in many ways its the start of the steep climb to expensive ships.
For 1045K Credits you'll get a 50T ship with a 10Ly range. You'll probably recognise that you can beat these specs in a Cobra in the 600-700K range and we accept that the shop-floor Lakon needs a bit of work.
For a freighter pilot, the transition from a 600K Cobra to a 1M Lakon is an easy and comfortable one and earning enough for the upgrade is an hour or two of running cargo. However, the next two ships above the Lakon-6 are the Asp at 7M and the Lakon-7 at 20M Credits which will take a lot more time to earn in the popular shipping lanes. In this article we'll look at a few options for a budding Lakon owner who wants to get the most from his ship.
With all of these builds, I'm assuming a starting point is a slimline refit which costs around 100K extra, leaving you with a 1160K Price Tag on your 50T Ship with a more respectable 12.9 Ly range.
The FreighterThe first build we'll look at is the Freighter build. A Freighter captain is trying to move as many tonnes as possible in the shortest time for the highest profits. Its all about Credits per Hour. As this is a Ship Focus, I'll assume you've already found a Cargo Route you want to run and I'm not going to talk about the basics of buy-low and sell-high. For the purposes of this discussion, we'll base our numbers off of an 800Cr/T profit.
So the first step is to expand the cargo hold to its maximum 112T Capacity. In a freighter build every tonne counts and a maximum 112T capacity means we can expect 89600 Credits in the bank each time we empty our hold.
With these numbers you should be earning 180 Credits a second before long, which is why I don't stop to scoop fuel. Thirty seconds of scooping is going to cost me five thousand credits of time - its cheaper to fly straight into dock and buy fuel than to waste time scooping it up.
Keep upgrading your FSD until you can make the route you want in one jump. If you have to make a double jump, then thats fine. I'm going to present this freighter build with a Budget Class-C FSD as a compromise in the price point. Otherwise its a Full Class-D refit with an upgraded FSD and maximum cargo space.
Range: 12.5-19.6 Ly
Price: 1,478,000 Credits
You can optimise this ship further for every trick in the book to speed up the run - Fast Launches, Hot landings, Running on Fumes and Half Tanking. This means stripping down to bare metal, then using that weight allowance on a few performance components.
See these Pilot Academy Articles for more tricks to reduce your trip time and increase those profits.
Pilot Academy - Fast Flying Tricks
Pilot Academy - Coming in Hot
Pilot Academy - Running on Fumes
I found that upgraded power couplings and thrusters were a welcome addition to this build, that is otherwise focused on being a baremetal profit machine.
The Trader/SmugglerThe next build we will look at is the Trader/Smuggler. Unlike the Freighter, the Trader/Smuggler build doesn't need to maximise capacity. You want to keep your capacity high and trade as quickly as possible, but you will be spending time reading the bulletin boards at each station and taking each mission that offers more return that just shifting tonnes.
These missions will attract more (NPC) attention, so the base Trader/Smuggler build has Two gimble beam lasers to see off trouble. Otherwise its a shop-floor Lakon with a full slimline Class-D refit, including shields, and I've replaced the discovery scanner for a 2D Fuel scoop. Lastly the budget Class-C FSD has been added, to keep a reasonable range.
Range: 12.9 - 19.5Ly
Price: 1,632,000 Credits.
All these things considered, I'm going to recommend a full Budget refit for the Lakon if you are taking on the Trader/Smuggler lifestyle. This build is a stock Lakon, with Gimble Beam Lasers instead of pulse lasers and a budget Class-C refit across the board. The Discovery scanner has been replaced with a 2C Fuel scoop, which will take a minute or so to replace the fuel you use each trip. I wouldn't recommend catching a tan every jump, but the free fuel it takes will pay for itself if you are not capacity limited. Otherwise, switch it out for another 4T of booty.
The Budget Lakon-6
Range: 12.3 - 18.1 Ly
Price: 1.866,000 Credits.
Upgrade options for the Trader/Smuggler build are easy. Even the 3C shield Generator isn't really going to keep you out of trouble. A performance 4B shield generator, with an 8T cargo rack, is going to add about 520K to the price tag, drop a fraction off of the range and reduce your hold to only 92T
Reinforced Alloys are to be considered too, if your exploits are attracting attention and you really need the protection.
Alternately, you can upgrade your thrusters and power couplings to blast away from trouble. These upgrades will cost 178K, 536K, or 1.6M for the Class-C, B or Premium Class-A version, and each step will gain you a small advantage on the competition.
The Long JumperIf you are thinking long distance travel, then look no further than this build. Its a standard Class-D refit of the shop-floor Lakon-6, with a Class-A FSD and 2A fuel scoop added. I've left the stock cargo at 50T to show off these impressive specs.
The Long Jumper:
Range: 23.4 - 29.3Ly
Price: 2,995,000 Credits.
At 23 Light years with a 2A fuel scoop, the Long Jump can carry its payload anywhere in the galaxy. You'll still get an impressing 19.5Ly jump range with a 100T version of this ship and you should add Frame Shift Wake Scanners and an interdictor if you are planning on flying in a convoy. And remember, a discovery scanner is free money if you aren't going to be flying with a full hold.
Closing wordsThe Lakon-6 has a huge capacity for its cheap price, holding as much as an Asp at a fraction of the price. While its loadout options aren't nearly as flexible, the low entry point and high profit yield makes the Lakon-6 a very attractive and profitable proposition for any pilot with less than twenty or thirty Million credits.
I've had a lot of fun pushing the limit on my Lakon-6 and have wrecked a few learning where those limits are. There are moments of shame where your ship and 1M Credits of cargo get destroyed, but you just have to learn from your piloting mistakes.
Its not the most elegant flyer but is a solid money earner if you fly well and look after it and I'm hoping these builds and roles demonstrate a few different ways to fly your big ole tinfoil bathtub.
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As always, fly safe.