EVE Online correspondent Andrew Wallace provides an examination of the Caldari State, its politics, the mindset of its people, and the might of their military doctrine.
The Caldari State is the mighty economic superpower of New Eden. They have a history of conflict with the Gallente Federation, of which they were once part, and after being driven out, due to their cultural differences, fought each other into a bloody stalemate before eventually settling on a peaceful conclusion. All of the power in the State belongs to a coalition of mega corporations that control everything, from science and industry to the military. Tibus Heth (affectionately dubbed "Space Hitler" by one of my corpmates) is the current ruler or, more appropriately, dictator of the Caldari State. Heth's fiercely patriotic, and anti-Gallente stance became utterly clear during the release of the Empyrean Age expansion, when he was able to take control of the State, after the death of former leader Otro Gariushi, and motivate the Caldari people into a military strike against the Gallente to reclaim their former home planet, Caldari Prime. As we approach the release of Apocrypha, the planet is still firmly under the control of the Caldari, and relations with the Gallente are strained, to say the least.
Missile launchers are the dominant weapon system amongst the Caldari ships and, with the exception of the Amarrian Khanid ships, they are unmatched in their ability to use them; from the Kestrel Frigate to the Raven Battleship, they have a variety of vessels capable of expertly dishing out self-propelled javelins of pain. The unique advantage of missile launchers is that they can be loaded with the damage type of your choice (from explosive to electromagnetic) and can reload to adapt to the defences of different targets. This makes them exceptional for mission running, as all of the NPCs in the game have set weaknesses to certain types of damage.
Certain Caldari ships, like the Moa or Ferox, specialise in the use of hybrid turrets, especially railguns. These have optimal range bonuses that give them the ability to fire over massive ranges; like stupidly long. The problem with these ships is that, despite their dominance in this particular "sniper" niche, the fights in EVE are almost always short-ranged. This leads many Caldari pilots to ignore them completely, rather than train another class of weapon. They can, of course, fit blasters, but they are still inferior to the Gallente gunboats, which are the true blaster kings.
Caldari ships, such as the Drake or Rokh, are also known for their impressive shield tanks. Unlike armour, shields regenerate over time, and it's entirely possible to build a tank with high damage resistances and a high shield regeneration rate that can casually shrug off great amounts of damage. These "passive" shield tanks don't rely on capacitor draining repair modules to run, and can last indefinitely. Shield Boosters can also be employed to actively repair damage, but the capacitor cost is usually too high to run constantly. Another slight advantage over armour tankers is that when their shields are gone they still have armour and structure as a buffer before they go down, with regen and boosts keeping them afloat that little bit longer.
Now, there is this horrible assumption that Caldari ships are no good in PVP, which is a lie, but not without a sliver of truth. In order to run a decent shield tank it's necessary to dedicate a number of the mid slots on your ship to this cause, which doesn't leave much room for propulsion modules, Stasis Webifiers, and Warp Scramblers, which are essential for PVP. This is more of an issue for those solo pilots out looking for targets, but it's a problem none the less.
Then there is Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), the Caldari electronic warfare. An ECM ship, such as the Falcon, is the must have accessory for any PVP gang and is capable of completely disabling the ability for a target to lock other ships until the jam cycle has ended. Unlike other forms of EW, like Sensor Dampeners, ECM does not have a binary on/off effect but is based on chance. Depending on the strength of the ECM module, and the sensor strength of the target ship, there is a percentage chance of jamming the offending vessel. The random nature of the effect has not stopped it becoming one of, if not the most powerful form of EW in the game. The downside to ECM ships is that they are solely dependent on their EW for their defence, as ECM modules take up mid slots and leave them with very little protection if they want to be good at their role.
So, the Caldari: the premier missile users of EVE, with fierce shield tanks and superior electronic warfare. If that wasn't enough, most of the Caldari ships are named after birds; so if you happen to have a fetish for all things avian, this is the race for you.