There are two different kinds of firecontrols Beam Firecontrols and Missile Firecontrols.

Missile Firecontrols (MFCs) are pretty streight forward.

You design it on the "Active Sensor" tab of the design screen

It has a range and a resolution just as your active sensors but, because it is a narrow band firecontrol, has three times the range of an active sensor.

You can target an enemy at the maximum range of your MFC _if_ the enemy is at least as large as your resolution - i.e. if you design a resolution 20 MFC, you can target any enemy ship of 1000t (size 20) or larger out to your maximum range.

If the enemy ship is smaller than your resolution, the range is reduced according to the following formula:

Actual Range = Range x ((Target size) / (Resolution))^2

This means for example, if you have a range 100 million km/resolution 100 MFC and your target is size 50 (2500t), the range you can target the enemy is actually only 25 million km

A quick guestimate is: Target is half resolution --> 1/4 range

Target is 1/3 resolution --> 1/9 range and so on

Beam Firecontrols (BFCs) are a bit more complicated.

Well, not the BFC itself, but how they work.

Beam Firecontrols have their own design tab.

They are designed with a range and a tracking speed. The range is, well, the range you can try to hit anything.

At maximum range, you have 1% chance to hit. The to-hit chance grows, the closer you get, up to basicly 100% at point blank range.

This means, it can pay off to have a BFC with a longer range than your weapon has, as this increases your to-hit chance at maximum weapons range.

If the target moves at at a speed not faster than your tracking speed, your to-hit chance is not changed.

If your target moves twice as fast, your to-hit chance is halfed and so on.

But wait! The tracking speed of your BFC is not all there is! Even if you can track a target at 50.000km/s with your BFC, if your weapon can not follow the target fast enough, this won´t help you one bit.

For fixed weapon mounts (i.e. weapons mounted directely on the hull of the ship) the weapons tracking speed is either

a) The speed of the ship or

b) The researched Beam Weapons Tracking Speed

whichever is higher.

If you want a faster tracking speed, you can put some weapons (Laser, Mesons, Gauss) into a turret.

Turrets can be designd with any tracking speed you want, but as you increase tracking speed, the turret grows larger, so beware!

The bottom line is: Tracking speed of your weapons and of your BFCs should match as much as possible, because the slower of the two is what counts!

Example:

Terra IV class Heavy Cruiser 12,000 tons 1364 Crew 3164.8 BP TCS 240 TH 274.56 EM 1350

4766 km/s Armour 10-46 Shields 45-300 Sensors 11/11/0/0 Damage Control Rating 6 PPV 72

General Dynamics Class 88/25 MPD Engine (13) Power 88 Fuel Use 96% Signature 21.12 Armour 0 Exp 10%

900mm/L240/R30 Particle Beam [8] Range 240,000km TS: 5000 km/s Power 22-4 ROF 30 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Fire Control S05 128-5000 (2) Max Range: 256,000 km TS: 5000 km/s 96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61

Stellarator Fusion Reactor 12 (3) Total Power Output 36 Armour 0 Exp 5%

As you can see, the cruiser has a max. speed of 4766km/s, but I have researched "Beam Fire Tracking Speed 5000km/s" therefor the fixed particle beams have a tracking speed of 5000km/s

Terra IV - Copy class Heavy Cruiser 11,850 tons 1259 Crew 3243.2 BP TCS 237 TH 337.92 EM 1350

5940 km/s Armour 10-46 Shields 45-300 Sensors 11/11/0/0 Damage Control Rating 6 PPV 54

General Dynamics Class 88/25 MPD Engine (16) Power 88 Fuel Use 96% Signature 21.12 Armour 0 Exp 10%

900mm/L240/R30 Particle Beam (6) Range 240,000km TS: 5940 km/s Power 22-4 ROF 30 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Fire Control S05 128-5000 (2) Max Range: 256,000 km TS: 5000 km/s 96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61

Stellarator Fusion Reactor 12 (3) Total Power Output 36 Armour 0 Exp 5%

Replacing two Particle Beams with three engines brings the ships speed up to 5940km/s and now the tracking speed of the particle beams is also 5940km/s.

Of course, this is not of much use, as long as I don´t upgrade the beam firecontrol to be able to track at that speed too.

Staedte III class Light Cruiser 7,500 tons 570 Crew 1751.7 BP TCS 150 TH 168.96 EM 900

4693 km/s Armour 6-34 Shields 30-300 Sensors 16/11/0/0 Damage Control Rating 4 PPV 22

General Dynamics Class 88/25 MPD Engine [8] Power 88 Fuel Use 96% Signature 21.12 Armour 0 Exp 10%

Triple 30mm/L20/R2 Gauss Cannon Turret (1x6) Range 20,000km TS: 16000 km/s Power 0-0 RM 2 ROF 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Fire Control S02 16-16000 (1) Max Range: 32,000 km TS: 16000 km/s 69 37 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

As you can see, even if the ship has a max speed of only 4693km/s, the gauss cannons can track at 16000km/s because they are in a turret with 16000km/s tracking speed. In order to use that tracking speed, I need the BFC with a corresponding tracking speed.

Now ECM/ECCM comes into play.

MFCs: ECM reduces your maximum range by 10% per level, ECCM counters that. Example: You have ECCM 3, your enemy has ECM 5 --> 20% reduction in range

BFCs: ECM reduces To-Hit-Chance by 10% per level, ECCM counters that. Example: Your Laser has a 35% chance to hit the enemy. Your enemy has ECM 5 --> Chance to hit = -15%. But you have ECCM 3 --> Actual to hit chance = 15%

ECM works on a "per ship" basis, i.e. you only need one ECM per ship, while ECCM works on a "per firecontrol" basis, i.e. you should have one per firecontrol and while ECM works automaticly, ECCM must be assigned to one specific firecontrol (Battle Control Window, F8)