Importable Fit

[Heron, Heron Alpha]

Core Probe Launcher I

Data Analyzer I
Relic Analyzer I
Medium Shield Extender I
EM Shield Amplifier I
1MN Afterburner I

Damage Control I
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Hobgoblin I x7

Core Scanner Probe I x8

As exploration frigates are intended for exploration rather than combat, this ship is unarmed. If you find yourself forced into combat, your best option is to simply run away.

Exploration Tools

The core tool of any exploration ship is its Core Probe Launcher I, loaded with 8 Core Scanner Probe I. You should never need more than 8 probes, as they are reusable, and will return to your inventory after docking or jumping a stargate.

The ship also mounts a Data Analyzer I and a Relic Analyzer I, to open the containers found in Data and Relic sites and retrieve their valuable contents.


This ship mounts a Medium Shield Extender I to increase its shield HP. The additional HP should rarely be required, as the ship should be avoiding combat, but may help deflect some stray shots will you escape.

It also fits a Damage Control I and an EM Shield Amplifier I to increase its resistance to damage.


The 1MN Afterburner I provides your ship with additional speed. This makes it easier to reach exploration containers and evade enemies.

The Micro Auxiliary Power Core I provides your ship with additional Powergrid. This does not provide any direct combat benefit, but offers more room for the fitting of Powergrid-hungry modules such as the shield extender.


Rigs are passive modifications to a ship, trading off one attribute against another. Unlike modules, rigs cannot be removed without being destroyed.

A pair of Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I rigs will grant your Scanner Probes additional scan strength, allowing you to fully scan down tougher Cosmic Signatures and to pinpoint easier ones more quickly.

Due to calibration costs, the third rig slot cannot be filled while these two rigs are present.

If you desire, you can substitute one or both of the rigs for Small Emission Scope Sharpener I, granting additional virus coherence (“HP”) in the minigame for relic sites, or Small Memetic Algorithm Bank I, doing the same thing for data sites.

How To Fly

The Heron is an Exploration ship. It should be primarily avoiding combat, searching for Cosmic Signatures and retrieving their contents.

If you are in hostile space (0.4 security or lower, or wormhole space), and another player appears on your overview, warp out immediately!

Future Improvements

The above fit should be usable with starting skills unless otherwise noted, and it uses relatively cheap and widely-available modules.

As you accumulate skill points and ISK, you will be able to fit more potent modules to your ship, increasing its effectiveness. These modules may not be readily available outside of trade hubs, but it can be worth the trip.

We recommend working towards the following improved fit:

[Heron, Heron Alpha+]

Core Probe Launcher I

Data Analyzer I
Relic Analyzer I
Scan Rangefinding Array I
Scan Acquisition Array I
5MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive

Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Hobgoblin I x7

Sisters Core Scanner Probe x8

The improved fit will require the training of the following skills to use all installed equipment:

  • Hull Upgrades Level IV
  • Astrometric Rangefinding Level II
  • Astrometric Acquisition Level II
  • Drones Level III
  • Light Drone Operation Level I

The improved fit uses a 5MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive rather than an Afterburner. An MWD takes a large amount of capacitor to run, and causes a large increase to your ship’s signature radius, meaning that unlike the Afterburner, it is not useful for evading enemy fire. However, it provides a massively increased speed bonus.

You should activate the MWD only when moving to a new position, and disable it once you have arrived.

Once you have the skills to use them, you should fill your Drone Bay with Combat Drones. Hobgoblin I drones have the most damage output, while Warrior I drones have the most speed. Exploration frigates should not seek out combat, but the drones can potentially dissuade or distract lighter attackers or destroy weak NPC pirates.

The extra defenses in the midslots are exchanged for a Scan Rangefinding Array I and a Scan Acquisition Array I, enhancing the ship’s scanning capability.

The Micro Auxiliary Power Core is swapped for a Nanofiber Internal Structure II, making the ship quicker and more agile but reducing its structure HP. Combined with the above change, this leaves the ship extremely fragile; remember, again, that combat should be avoided.

If you have some spare ISK (about 3 million), using 8 Sisters Core Scanner Probe will provide you with a small amount of additional scan strength. If that feels expensive, continue to use the basic Core Scanner Probe I.

Nearly every possible module has been improved to a “meta” version, requiring less fitting space and granting improved effectiveness, but costing more ISK and/or being less widely available, or a t2 version, which costs more ISK, requires more skillpoints, and is harder to fit:

  • Damage Control: Damage Control II