I know that it can feel very intimidating when you see fleets calling for big things like Nightmare, Maelstrom, or even Hurricane but you guys are very important too. There are several very important roles you can fill and we give out ships in test_free to do them. Here are some of the roles that are priceless in a strat op.
Electronic Warfare is the silent but deadly mechanic that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Was your ship guaranteed to win that fight but somehow lost? It was probably because of electronic warfare.
Use scan resolution damping scripts on enemy logistics ships, this causes them to lock slower which gives us more time to shoot the primary target without them repairing it. This should be your first port of call. In most situations this is what you will be doing. If enemy logi can't lock, then enemy DPS dies. If enemy DPS dies, they lose the fight. Targeting range damp enemy dps ships if they are using a long range doctrine, this forces them closer allowing us to apply more damage. Range damp enemy EWAR ships, similar to the dps this forces them into range of our guns so we can kill them.
When setting off on a fleet, unless there is some specific intelligence specifying that you will be facing a lot of EWAR, or a range doctrine, or a fleet with not many logi (such specific intel is not generally available to line members, but sometimes it is), a good way to load up is with one more scan res damp than targeting range damp. So on a Maulus, which fits three dampeners, you would have two scan res damps loaded, and one targeting range damp loaded. This allows you to spread damps on the enemy logi very quickly and effectively, while also being able to damp the odd EWAR ship that might be around.
The color of your ECM module links to the race of ships it is best against, yellow for Amarr, blue for Caldari, green for Gallente and red for Minmatar. Ask your FC what type you should bring. Jam enemy EWAR ships, this prevents them from doing all of what's in this guide to us. Jam enemy dps ships. This stops them locking friendlies and killing them. Jamming enemy logistics ships is very helpful when it works but they generally have a very high targeting strength so it is often hard to jam them so if you can't get them jammed after a couple cycles move on to something else.
The idea of the target painter is to make the enemy ships “look” bigger to friendly ships' sensors. this means our guys can lock more quickly and kill the enemy before logi lands reps (this can be a pretty effective technique when paired with other bros applying damps to enemy logi). So you will listen to the FC, and when he calls a primary target (e.g. “Primary is James Cowpet”), you will lock the guy up (which will be quick because his ship is, almost certainly, bigger than yours) and target paint him. The DPS ships will then quickly lock and kill it.
This kind of support is key in the Alpha fleet doctrine, which uses battleships (Maelstroms). If taking on, say, cruiser-sized targets, e.g. a T3 fleet, the Maels will have a hard time locking the enemy up. And that is where you come in.
You will note that the TEST_Free Vigil fit has a tackle module fitted; this is not your primary job, but sometimes you can afford to burn around and try to tackle stuff that is nearby.
TEST_Free hands out tackle Atron.
We have a big guide on the wiki for Tacklers
The basics are making sure hostiles don't run away, helping get the main fleet warp ins, scouting. No matter which you choose to fly remember you don't have to do any damage to get on the killmail so activating any hostile module (scram, point, or even a nuet) will get you on the killmail.