The Ion Cannon is a defensive structure, well known for its relatively high Shield Power. Despite its in-game description, it does not "disable" attacking enemy ships. Since version 7, the Ion Cannon costs 5.000 Metal and 3.000 Crystal.
A reason to build Ion Cannons is because only the Bomber and the Deathstar have rapid fire against it. This makes them useful in the later game, when Cruisers and Destroyers are everywhere, ready to rip apart your Rocket Launcher and Light Laser fodder.
The Ion Cannon has Rapid Fire against the Reaper (2).
Also note that the Ion Cannon can absorb up to 500 damage per round which is the second highest shield power next to the Deathstar (which has 50.000) along with Destroyers and Bombers. This makes it very useful against a Cruiser or Heavy Fighter fleet since most of the attacks will be deflected by the shields. 25 Ion Cannons against a fleet of 150 Light Fighters will result in a near 100% draw with the attacker losing 65 fighters if the techs are equal. However, any ship at least as strong as a Battleship will rip through the shields and erase the shield fodder. Despite this, Ion cannons are very useful defenses even in small numbers mid game as they will draw and absorb a large amount of damage per round.
Sometime during the 21st century, a technology known as "electromagnetic pulse" (contracted to EMP) was developed. These pulses prove to be very effective against computer systems and anything that possesses an electronic circuit within its structural composition.
In the days of its inception, this breed of weapon was deployed using rockets, missiles and bombs. However, the recent improvement of various technologies has allowed such weapons to be employed through the use of simple cannons; both static and mounted on intergalactic ships. Such a focused ion beam is capable of obliterating any unshielded electrical system and destabilizes the shield circuits within its target. These combined effects often cause the destruction of the target ship while sparing any biological cargo, including the crew members.
So far, the Cruiser is the only spacecraft known to be equipped with this brand of munitions due to its exorbitant energy cost. Additionally, this type of weapon should only be employed for support, because live combat often requires total annihilation of targets as opposed to simple paralysis.
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