Sunday, 25 January 2015

Elite Dangerous Ship Focus - Lakon Spaceways Type-7 Transport

The Lakon Type 7 Transport
Congratulations on your purchase! Lakon Spaceways premium Type-7 transport is a stunning piece of precision engineering designed to meet your high-capacity needs.

Opening the bids at 17.5 Million, the shop-floor Lakon-7 fits 96 Tonnes with its 9.06LY Range.

While this may sound like a lot of money compared to the Asp you can buy for that price, and literally ten times the cost of the equivalent Lakon Spaceways Type-6 Transporter:
Capacity: 96T 
Range: 9.06Ly 
Price: ~1.7M
However the strength of the Lakon-7 is its huge capacity, so you want to leverage that advantage as much as you can.


An even 18 Million doubles its capacity to 192T, reducing the range to 7.8Ly, but you can reclaim that range with an FSD upgrade easily enough for a quarter of a million - pocket change when you are talking about ships of this magnitude and 9.35Ly is enough to make local runs.

Flight Feel

The Lakon-7 isn't a fun ride and doesn't have the pull of a small ship when you have Class E thrusters. Its huge mass and high momentum is going to challenge even the Class-B and A models so if you are looking for a sporty ship, you'll need to look elsewhere than the Lakon-7

The Lakon-7 is heavy on the controls and turns slowly so don't expect to pull any maneuver fancier than "listing lazily to the left". Take off and landing requires a little practice if you are used to a lightweight hull - first impression of the Lakon-7 is like a new pair of shoes, uncomfortable at first and maybe takes a while to get used to.

Safety Features

Its small four hardpoints don't make for much firepower. At 2Tonnes, 1E Gimbal Beam lasers are pocket change at 75,000Cr each. and you can add turrets instead if you want.

You can also fit Shields and Shield banks in if you sacrifice some space and weight, so you can defend yourself for short periods of time.

However if you are concerned about piracy, then a convoy or fighter escort is definitely a recommended upgrade rather than take on the trouble yourself. This is not a space superiority starfighter.


The sweet spot
19.7 Million will have this 192T monster making 13.7Ly jumps with a Class 5B drive, At this point you are really starting to crank up the price, but the ship really delivers.


If you are upgrading from a smaller transport the Lakon-7 will feel expensive. The sweet spot with the Lakon-7 is to find the compromise between capacity and range that maximises you Cr/H takings.

As with any optimisation, instrument your results first. Pick your route and run it against the stopwatch so you know how much it makes and long it takes. You can run the ship at partial capacity to get a longer range if it means fewer jumps.

Optimising the Lakon-7 is the same process as the Lakon-6, and there are details on the general rules here.
http://spaceplaneblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/elite-dangerous-rules-of-acquisition_7.html

If you are sacrificing 8T of Cargo space to run four Beam lasers and maintain your jump range, then it'll likely be costing you around 64,000 Credits an hour in lost earnings. This isn't a huge figure when you are talking about the money making potential of the Lakon-7, buts its a few percent loss you have to take on board.


The Strip down
A few cheap upgrades will lose that excess ballast - a complete systems refit to 4D Power Plant, 4D Thrusters, 4D Life Support and 3D Power Couplings will drop you about 27T - over 200K/Hour if you are pushed on space.
I always recommend starting with a Class-D refit to maximise range and the Lakon-7 is no exception. It'll give you the most options when choosing routes or other upgrades and is a snap at only 400K Credits extra.

The low heat efficiency of the Class-D Power plant might put you off, and if you do have a few spare MW then go for whichever lower size A or B fits your needs. An A2 Power Plant might have enough juice for you and is incredibly light and efficient.


Maxing out
The peak cargo load is 232T, which will drop your jump range back down, but thats a lot of tonnage. If you have a short-range route that you are happy with then this is a clear winner.

Be cautious as the Lakon-7 won’t have any shields at that capacity - You’ll have a million Credits insurance payout and likely another two million credits of cargo in your hold so are putting three million credits on the line in an unshielded, slow mover with no guns. Food for thought.

However with the wind at your back you can make 2M Credits per hour as a 232T freighter. Its quite possible you can afford to pay a fighter escort and still make more money than attempting the same trip in an Asp, which is the next cheaper ship that has its own firepower.


Parking Problems In addition, there are plenty of smaller stations that won’t have landing capacity for a Lakon-7. While they’ll have mid-sized bays that fit a Lakon-6 or an Asp, the Lakon-7 is the first of the big ships and needs a large landing pad which will start to limit your trade options.


Because of the limited docking spaces available to the L7 you may end up with limiting routes and reducing your Cr/T paycheck, but the L7 offers twice the carrying capacity of the medium freighters so you can afford a slight Cr/T dip in exchange for a higher overall Cr/Hour return.

I'd recommend plotting your route and buying the largest cargo racks that still make your jumps. Its fine to drop a few tonnes if it means you can turn around quicker. I found that a double jump at a lower tonnage made me slightly more per hour than a full capacity load that needed a triple jump to cover the same route, but your results may vary.


Overall

The Lakon-7, like the Six before it, is a bulk freighter whose strength is in its money making potential. You need to spend top dollar to get any range on it and shields cost extra.
The four small hardpoints aren't up to much, but may see off some smaller trouble, otherwise for the extra 5M you'll get premium Thrusters and Power Couplings to boost away from danger.

With only 10-20T loaded, the Lakon-7 will get well over 23Ly per jump due to its large engines so at a pinch you can use it for long distance low tonnage runs but it burns a lot of fuel and you are likely to spend a while scooping so will make faster time in a smaller ship.

Despite its huge price tag compared to the small vessels, the Lakon-7 really opens the door to large capacity transport and convoys and ultimately its going to make more Credits per hour than a smaller ship. Its closest competitor on the low side is the Asp and the Lakon-6, which both carry only half as much as the big Type-7.