The Ships of Elite: Dangerous Part I – The Eagle

The Ships of Elite: Dangerous Part I – The Eagle

Welcome to the first installment of my review of the ships within Elite: Dangerous. I’ll be giving my opinion on the current line-up of playable ships. This article will be looking at the Eagle, one of the first ships players are able to purchase due to its price and common availability at shipyards.

The Eagle is described as a long range fighter. So how well does it perform within Elite: Dangerous?

The Eagle is a proven combat fighter with a distinguished history. It is one of the smallest fighters available with jump capability. It has the distinction of being the only ship that has been so successful that versions have been built for both the Federation and Imperial navies. While its role has been superseded by the respective navies’ short range fighter programmes, the Eagle still sees extensive service across human space. Core Dynamics are no longer building these ships, but do still provide parts and servicing due to their popularity.
– Official Blurbelitelogo


As with all ships in Elite: Dangerous, the Eagle is quite poor straight from the shipyard with the exception of its manoeuvrability. She’s slow in a straight line, carries the mandatory twin fixed pulse lasers and can only jump within single figures at just under nine light years.

She’s cheap to purchase at forty-four thousand eight hundred credits and quite inexpensive to outfit fully. A decent set-up will cost around two million credits. This leaves you with a re buy cost of around a hundred thousand credits for when the inevitable happens.

The Eagle has two small hard points under the belly and a single small hard point above the cockpit. Due to the small size of the ship and how close together the lower weapons are located, the Eagle has potentially the best weapon placement of any ship for a full fixed load out. More on that later! The Eagle can also be upgraded with the ability to perform decent jumps of around sixteen light years fitted and just under twenty when stripped, although the small four-unit fuel tank and limited internal compartments make it a poor exploration ship.

Initial Choices

Once you’ve upgraded the power distribution system and the thrusters you will have yourself a very mobile craft. As a general rule the power distribution system should be the first system you upgrade on any ship as it increase the storage capacity of your engine boost, shield recharge and weapon’s energy. In addition to the increased capacity for all three systems you will also recharge those systems quicker. In real terms this means that you can fire your weapons for a longer period of time before you run out of energy. You can boost more often, up to three times in a row, and your shields will recharge and repair quicker.

What Next?

After this you will need to upgrade your power plant so that you can fill all three hard points and fit a bigger shield generator. My favourite weapons for PvE are a single fixed beam laser on the top mount with a pair of gambled multi cannons on the lower mounts. Due to the Eagle’s mobility fixed weapons are a must for lasers whilst the gimballed multi-cannons are great for taking down an NPC’s subsystems. For PvP you will want to switch out the multi-cannons for a pair of dumb-fire rocket launchers. In both cases you will want to use your beam laser to strip the targets shields then the ballistic weapons to damage the hull and systems. This is because laser weapons do more damage to shields whilst the beam laser has the worst armour penetration in the game. Added to that, the size of your target also impacts on the damage you do; medium-sized ships take half damage, whilst large ships only take a third of the weapon’s listed damage.

For the single utility slot you will be looking at running either a bounty scanner or chaff launchers. I fly with the chaff launchers for that additional level of protection due to the weak shields and hull.

Why Fly One?

Flying the Eagle will teach you where all the hard points are on other ships as position is key to being successful. I’ve taken down elite Anacondas while in my Eagle, although it’s not an efficient use of time due to how long it takes and that a single mistake can cost you your ship. PvP is a different matter: if the enemy flies backwards you’re generally doomed. I’ve taken on bounty hunters in Vipers and Cobras with my Eagle and only lost to a well flown Cobra after what we both considered a fantastic fight which lasted around five minutes. That was prior to the shield cell nerf and the Cobra pilot told me after the fight that he had four cell banks fitted and that I had burned through eight of his boosters before he managed to line me up and tear me apart.

Another great aspect of the Eagle is its competitive edge in the often-run station races where commanders are timed on how quick they can perform certain routes around a station or when they are timed undocking from the internal spike to docking back in the station. Not only does the Eagle outperform all other ships in these sports, it’s also very cheap to replace when you inevitably hit the station at speed. The eliteraces subreddit has all the information you need to start your space racing career.


If you are after a cheap ship to learn combat in, whether that is PvE or PvP, the Eagle could well be your ship of choice. If you’re looking to get into sub-frame  shift racing there is no other option. You can always visit the official Elite: Dangerous ship forums to find out what other players think of the Eagle and use this fantastic out-of-game shipyard created by Taleden.shipyard

Taleden’s Elite: Dangerous Ship Yard


  • Agility
  • Hard point location
  • Cheap


  • Lack of top speed
  • Fragile hull
  • Class 1 weapons only



  1. Avatar
    Kevin Lisek June 22, 2015

    I’m super excited to play this. I have it, but I’m waiting for more updates. I wonder if a flight stick and VR headset would make this game amazing.

    • Avatar
      CMDR Burning shroom June 25, 2015

      I have 2 Logitech Extreme 3D Pros and an Oculus Rift. I haven’t played any other game in 7 months.

  2. Avatar
    Paul Thompson June 25, 2015

    I use the Saitek X55 HOTAS in addition to a head tracker and it makes a massive difference in immersion. I do have Nvidia 3D Vision, but I would love to try it on the rift.

  3. Avatar
    kier dunlop October 20, 2015

    Ive owned the game for over a year, yet only booted it up i believe once, wrote it off as a loss as i could not even get it to land, think after this im going to give it a try again!

  4. Avatar
    V. Corleone July 19, 2016

    HOTAS and Rift elevate this game to sublime levels of immersion.

    It’s an astounding creation.

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