How signature radius and sensor strength work?

A guide I am reading tells me to build a Heron with maximized sensor strength and minimized signature radius (to avoid scan probes). But no matter what I fit into my ship, the signature radius shown in its info does not change. Also, there are four different values for sensor strength in the info screen, but the ECCM scripts and modules that the guide tells are integral for boosting sensor strength do not seem to change these values at all. What am I missing, how does this really work?

The equipment also seems to have percentage bonus to the sensor strenghts, but it seems each ship has numeric base value in only one of the four sensor strength types. Is this the base value used for scan probe avoidance calculation (signature radius / sensor strength)? Does this mean the base value for all other types is 0, and therefore they are not boosted at all by the added items? Why doesn’t the percentage bonus from the equipment affect even the one sensor strength that has a value in the ship’s info screen?

Also presumably my skills affect the sensor strength, but that effect is not visible in the ship’s info screen either? Do I have to calculate all effect totals myself?

Are there ways to make the signature radius smaller? At least I have found no way to alter its original value in the ship’s info screen no matter what equipment I have fitted?

There are no mods that decrease sig radius. There are mods, however, that can increase sig radius as a penalty (i.e. shield extenders and MWD when it is turned on).

Sensor boosters won’t affect sensor strength until they are turned on (or the fit is simulated).

Each ship only has 1 type of sensor strength -there’s no way to boost the others, and there’s no advantages or disadvantages to any of the types. There used to be mods for each of the different sensor types, but they were unified a few years back. Now, only jammers are specific to a sensor type. Oh, and there is a different skill for increasing each sensor type. But, other than that, it doesn’t matter what sensor type your ship has, and there is no benefit to increasing the other types (and there’s no way to do so anyway).

Skills will automatically affect your sensor strength in the fitting window. And skill and item effects will be applied to the ship info window of your simulated/current ship -which is why you might see some numbers in red or green.

I’m also not sure if you want to sweat all of this too much. Maybe people with more experience in exploration in hostile space would like to chip in, but I don’t think this is going to buy you a lot of security. Like, even if it was straight up impossible to scan you down, they could still just scan down the site you’re in and warp to that. Personally, I’d focus my fit on things like scanning ability and align time. This not only increases isk efficiency, but also helps you to be more slippery.


Thank you, great answer! I definitely need to learn more about align time.

One thing I still don’t understand: the ship has base sensor strength 12. I have two sensor boosters with ECCM script that according to their tooltip give 88% bonus to sensor strength each when active. And I have a signal amplifier that is supposed to give 44% bonus to sensor strength. But when I check Show info > Attributes on the ship (even in simulation), the info still shows sensor strength as 12. Why? Shouldn’t it be at least ~32,5 (12 * 1.88 * 1.44), probably more (I don’t know how big penalty there is for having the same booster twice)? Is it not this that the equipment is boosting?

Ah, I think I got it now. That calculated value is NOT shown in Show info > Attributes, but under the Targeting pane on the right side of the simulated ship fitting. (first value there).

Align time: according to the UniWiki, align time should be 2 seconds or less to enable warping before being tackled. Unless I’m missing something, it is impossible to get Heron’s align time anywhere near that. With maxed Alpha level skills (4 Spaceship command, 3 Evasive maneuvering) and the best possible equipment (3 * Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints II, 2 * Inertial Stabilizers II) align time is still 3.67 seconds.

a Target Painter can increase the sig radius of a ship you are firing at.
Target Painters : These EWAR modules increase the target’s signature radius by 25-30%. This increase in signature radius can greatly boost damage if the target is smaller than the missile/turret type used against it, or if it’s moving too quickly for the explosion radius of the missile/tracking of the turret. If your turrets hit often or the missile’s explosion velocity is much larger than the target’s velocity, target painters will have very little effect

unless otherwise stated, none of the wiki’s that i know of, give any numbers for alpha pilots… everything will be Omega related.

Well, 2s align times are best, but having 3, and even 4, second align times can still help you get away from a lot of the other stuff that you might come across. I mean, not every gate is going to have an insta-locker sitting on it.

Anyway, an alpha can get a 3s align time in a heron. Not the best, but it’s still useful and certainly doable. And the skills required to get it are useful skills to have (Evasive Maneuvering and Spaceship Command). Items that improve agility are Nanofiber Structures (Low), Inertial Stabilizers (Low), Polycarbon Engine Housing (Rig), Low Friction Nozzle Joints (Rig), EM-70x (implant), and Genolution (implants).

Now, Inertial Stabs are generally avoided because they also increase your sig radius. Thus, even though they offer a really good agility bonus, they also help people lock you faster as well (and perhaps even apply their damage to you better).

Unfortunately, the price that an alpha has to pay for a 3s align time in a heron is pretty steep -namely 2 lows and 1.5 rig slots (the 3rd rig slot would have gone unused due to a lack of calibration points if the alternative was two scanning rigs). Regardless, it can be done with 2 Type-D Restrained Nanofibers and 2 Low Friction Nozzle Joints. If your skills still need work, you might be able to still get a 3s align by upgrading the meta Nanofibers for their T2 variants.

Also, do note that prop mods add mass to your ship, which will increase your align times. So, be sure to turn off your prop mod to see what your align time will be with your prop mod off (and from a stopped position -such as right after you jumped through a gate). Moving can increase or decrease your align time, depending on how close your direction of travel is to your intended warp vector.

Oh, and I forgot about Halo implants being able to reduce your sig radius, but they are expensive (a low grade set is like 500 mil, and prices go up from there).


The sensor strength and signature radius of a ship determine how easy a ship it is to find using scan probes. The lower the sensor strength and the greater the signature radius, the easier the target is to scan out and vice versa.

For more details , you can consult these:

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