Last night I posted an outfitting guide for the first half dozen ships you can fly in Elite: Dangerous. Here I'll post suggested roles and loadouts for the next six ships (in order of expense), hopefully giving you an idea of how each ship can be used to fulfil a specific role within the game, and hopefully tomorrow I will complete the trilogy of guides, taking us all the way up to the mighty Anaconda. The same rules apply: money is no object, and we're assuming that all upgrades are easily found. So without further ado and needless waffling on, dangerously and uselessly testing the patience and forebearance of my readership, here's what I'd do with a Type 6, if I had one in my ship hangar.
Type 6 Transporter - Role: Cargo Box
The Type 6 is a trader, not a fighter. If you want to make solid money trading, you're going to want those 100 tonnes of cargo space, but you're also going to want to make it as difficult as possible for people to take them away from you. An A-rated shield booster and shield generator should give you a precious few seconds to allow your uprated thrusters to boost you out of harm's way, and the defensive weaponry and modules should discourage pirates from trying to chase you down too hard, while the A-rated FSD should give you the range to out-jump the majority of pursuers, provided you're not fully loaded. If your preferred route to wealth and bigger ships lies on the trading path, then at some point you'll fly a Type 6. If I absolutely had to fly one again (and thank goodness I don't!), this is how I'd kit it out.
Vulture - Role: Assassin
The Vulture is one of the new kids on the block in the 1.2 release and it has quickly won the hearts and minds of a significant number of combat-minded Commanders. It is brutally efficient at what it does - which is Space Murder ships of all sizes with a maximum of efficiency and a minimum of fuss. The price of such an unsubtle projection of combat power, however, is that like its smaller Core Dynamics stablemate and sibling - the Eagle - the Vulture's poor power plant capacity requires you to make compromises on the broader loadout of the ship - you can't simple A-rate everything, because the ship would end up practically invincible. Even as it is, the Vulture is arguably on the overpowered side, and will no doubt be on the receiving end of a few swipes of the Nerf Bat in short order. As it is, however, you're best off utilising those two Class 3 weapon hardpoints either smashing your way through combat zones or pursuing those lucrative assassination contracts. You can more than double your armour rating using hull reinforcement packages, which goes some way to compensating for the ship's slightly underpowered shield generators - especially against Elite Anacondas or Federal Dropships. Assassination contracts usually take place within occupied space, so you needn't worry too much about a fuel scoop or the ship's limited FSD range, so you can dedicate your power plant budget and internal compartment space to modules that will make you harder to kill, while killing your targets as quickly as possible. From an objective point of view, it's a great little ship, and I do have one stashed at Jameson Memorial for combat giggles - but I still don't like it in the same way I like my Eagle or Cobra.
Asp Explorer - Role: Explorer (well, duh!)
The Asp is my current ship of choice. I don't quite have it decked out to this degree (yet!), but this is a "money no object" exercise. At first, it might appear that we're well over power budget here, but it's worth remembering that you don't need to have those Field Maintenance Units powered up - and, indeed, that they should be deactivated unless you're pootling about in real space in a safe place to repair modules. You could eke out a few extra light years of FSD range by trimming off the shields, defensive modules and the weapons, but if you've just circumnavigated all the way to Sagittarius A* or the Eagle Nebula and back, you're probably going to want to feel the sensation of extra security those modules are going to give you, should you happen to get interdicted one jump short of civilisation, when you've got 10 million credits' worth of exploration data sitting in your ship's navigation computer banks. For long range trips into the unknown, the Asp is really the best option, with its resilient hull, peerless jump range and a great view from the cockpit. The cheaper Vulture has nullified the Asp's utility as a combat vessel, and the Type 6 represents better value for money (and certainly less of a financial risk on your insurance costs) than the Asp, should you be tempted to strip one down to act as a cargo box. If you're going to fly an Asp, take it out into the hinterlands, where it belongs (but don't forget to take a couple of big guns and a shield generator in case of emergencies).
Type 7 Transport - Role: Pirate Bait
That picture above represents the closest I've come to actually buying a Type 7. I can appreciate the value of a Type 7 as a cargo carrier, and if that's how you like to make your money, fair play to you. But I thought it would be a bit obvious to suggest a trading configuration, so as an intellectual exercise, I thought, how would I play with a Type 7? Well, I wouldn't, frankly, but that's not terribly helpful for the purposes of this guide, so if I absolutely HAD to fly a Type 7, I'm grateful for the advent of the Wings update, because I'd use the Type 7 to bait Player Pirates in Open play, particularly the ones with rather large "Top 5" bounties. Bimble along in supercruise looking vulnerable (and crucially, not in a Wing) while your mates in Vultures await your signal on voice comms to Wing Up and steam in to support you as you keep the would-be pirate(s) distracted with your curiously resilient shields and hull, plus your annoyance turrets. Well, that's what I'd do. But then, I'm mean and evil.
Federal Dropship - Role: Pirate Corsair
Speaking of being mean and evil, both of the Faction ships seem uniquely suited to being kitted out for a bit of piracy. Overall, I'd prefer the Clipper to the Dubstep (I'm going to keep calling that, just in case it catches on), but if you're going to do piracy properly, you need a healthy amount of cargo space, A-rated equipment across the board as much as possible, plus lots of firepower to take out shields and subsystems of your victims quickly. The Dubstep is a little slow and short of FSD range, even with a top-tier drive, so you really are better off getting a Clipper.
Imperial Clipper - Role: Pirate Corsair
If you're going to plunder the spaceways for pirate booty, you might as well do it in style, right? Not only that, fulfilling the same role, the Clipper demonstrates the inherent superiority of the Empire over the Federation, given that you have more cargo space, better weapons, a faster ship and a longer FSD range than the Dubstep. Of course, this superiority doesn't come cheap, but that's just another reason why you're going to have to raid those rich, fat Federation transport ships for their decadent cargoes... ALL HAIL THE EMPEROR! BASK IN HIS GLORY!