Learn to Fly: Kestrel

"Learn to Fly" is a series in which we examine the specific skills required to properly (lol!) fly a ship in Eve Online.

Previous Chapters: Condor / Sac / Comet / Slicer / Tristan

In this installment we'll be looking at the Caldari T1 Frigate known as the Kestrel. The Kessie (as I call it) is not as good as other Frigates and it isn't especially good at anything, but it is an awesome T1 Frigate that can take your enemy by surprise. And, at that, it is most excellent.

People tend to under-estimate this Frigate and when you are looking at trying to get these cowards to actually fight you, under-estimation is your friend. Remember that everyone else is a wussie in Eve. This is Lesson 101 stuff, but keep it in mind.

Let's take a look at some recent awesomsauce kessie kills:
Kessie Vs Comet I totally coulda solo'd this blaster Comet, but I called my friends in anyway, like a boss. Exactly like a boss when you think about it.
Kessie Vs Thrasher
Kessie Vs Executioner
Kessie Vs Another Blaster Comet

The great thing about the Kessie is how friggin' cheap it is. And the wide range of more expensive ships you call keel with it. This is so embarrassing for the bad guys. It can also be rather humiliating if you choose to go with a kiting fit. That keel could take a looong time.

RJ's Kessie Fitting Guide

Instead of sharing an actual Kessie fit (I mean really, just go look at Stay Frosty losses and copy those! Sheesh) I will tell you the main ways you can choose to fit your Frigate of Doom.

Kiting Kessie

This is easy. Light Missiles in the highs, MSE or a MAS in the Mids, point, plus a MWD and one Utility slot - which is usually a TD, but can also be something else nefarious. DC, BC, or Nanos in the lows, or something like that. Rigs are also easy, plug the EM hole, use a damage rig and maybe a Shield rig. Like this maybe.

You have a grand total of about 79 dps in this thing. But if you pick the right target they cant touch you while you peck away at them for a really long time. Just about when you run out of cap is when you'll keel them, if it takes longer than that you need to skill up.

Rocket Kessie

Same idea essentially, but fit for closer range and base the whole thing around a scram and a MSE/AB. Fit for more dps and hover right on the edge of OH'd scram range. This fit is so much fun. I'm going to fit one up later and go fly around in it until I get blown up.

You can also go totally against type here and base it around an armor plate in the lows with a DC. This is unexpected glory. Like this maybe.

Know Your Ship

Like I said earlier, the Kessie is not the greatest Frigate in the game. And this is its strength. It is a cheap and usually flown by younger players, which makes it a great choice for you. No one freaks out when one appears on d-scan.

Just know that the Kessie, no matter how you fit it, is extremely fragile. You need to engage with caution and with the full weight of your target selection powers engaged. Don't be stupid in it, or you will die in a fire. But also feel free to tackle crazy things with it. Why not? It is cheap.


Depends on the fit you choose, but generally speaking drone boats and heavily tanked ships can give you trouble. If you are kiting watch out for ships faster than you. That's bad news. And if you are rocket fit watch out for dual webbed tanks. Those are bad news, things like Hawks and Worms are no go.


The Kessie is a lot of fun. And comes with a lot of freedom. And danger. But, like any T1 Frigate, the rewards are potentially amazing when you finally corner that next great keel. Stick with the Kessie, she is a proud and often forgotten Frigate.


  1. The dual web armour Kestrel is awesome. Especially in a plex and a IN Slicer comes at you. Also murders Merlins and other blaster boats. Just don't get caught by a kitey ship!

  2. I prefer the kestrel over the condor for that exact reason, people generally won't warp into a plex when they see a condor inside! Damage selection on the kestrel is also a big reason why I fly it.

    1. Yeah Condors are pretty one-sided fit wise, I know people have tried counter-fiting them, but they truly don't work well for that. The Kessie offers more flexibility when it comes to mixing up the fits and working against type.

  3. Javelin rocket fit with a single range rig. People see the launchers and expect a brawl but you can kite effectively with them. Added bonus of easier fitting requirements too but if you've maxed your missile range skills you've probably maxed the fitting support skills.

  4. I absolutely adore this fit. Almost no tank (3.3k EHP) but if flown right doesn't usually need it. Same principle as an MSE/MASB fit but relies more on not getting hit rather than surviving hits so drones are definitely a no-go. Although, it can reliably engage just about any turret frig, even a harpy if you can keep the scram OH'd long enough to actually kill it.

    [Kestrel, TD scram kite damage]

    Ballistic Control System II
    Damage Control II

    1MN Afterburner II
    Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
    Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Script
    Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

    Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Rage Rocket
    Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Rage Rocket
    Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Rage Rocket
    Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Rage Rocket

    Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
    Small Core Defense Field Extender I
    Small Bay Loading Accelerator I

    1. I call that one my White Knuckle fit. It is awesomely dangerous and a hell of a lot of fun.

  5. I have recently revisited this ship and had a revelation. One advantage of the Kestrel is it's excellent targeting range. So I now, almost always Missile fit them with the idea of kiting, stay out of scram range of brawlers, and if someone tries to out kite you, you have some time, as it will be difficult for them to out run your 60km targeting range and 47km missile range. Plus the missile bonuses apply to all damage types not just the Scourge. I love it great for faction war.

    1. It's lock range sure does help when fighting kitey ships, I always win against kiting ships with it or at least have them run because I can put a few shots into them while burning away from them at 60km while they can't hit me.

  6. The Kestrel is also great as a Sniper ship. with Light Missiles and some range rigs it can it out to 85km easily.


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