A docked fighter will automatically deploy to defend against attacking ships. However, you can forward deploy your fighters to elevate them in the order of activation process.
To deploy fighters in orbit around its home planet, they must be sent to the very same planet. This can be done via the Fleet tab of Space Ports for examople.
To forward deploy a fighter to a Space Station, you would follow a similar procedure, but enter the name of the Space Station instead.
It is a good practice to forward deploy most of your fighters, either in orbit around its home planet, to a Space Station, or to other allied colonies in your star system.
ROF (Ring of Fire). SAW will be your first line of defense, both at the planetary level and at the star system level. The ROF is a type of star system-level defense; it is created by placing a number of planets with SAWs in orbit around the same star. Each additional planet in the ring reinforces the strength of the other SAW, such that the defensive firepower of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
This "Ring of Fire" emplacement also allows for the best defense of your allied Space Stations. Attacks may sometimes focus on destroying an enemy's Space Stations, so they should never be left unattended. Likewise, any "singlet" planet not in a protective ring is very vulnerable to attack.
If your colonies are not already in such a ring, moving them into one should be a top priority.
The basic ROF concept should involve a Space Station in orbital slot #8, with slots #1-7 reserved for alliance colonies. For optimum defense a single-empire ring is best; the optimal setup is a 7 planet single-owner ring with the Station owned by the same empire. Starting with 3 planets (minimum) in place before a Space Station hull is launched is a good practice. The more planets in a ring, the greater the defensive firepower. The more colonies belonging to a single empire, the stronger the defensive rating.
However, even a "mixed" ring is better than no ring at all!
Placement of rings should be chosen with consideration of maximum mutual defense, protection of Stations, and maximizing alliance influence.
Consult with your alliance leaders for optimum Station placement, if you are considering launching a new Hull.
The close proximity of planets allows alliance members to aid each other in case of any attack, and to do so much more quickly than more spread-out alliances. Some alliances are spread out over many zones, but it is still good to have some areas of concentration - especially for the protection of junior alliance members.
Alliances are an integral part of game play in TLE. They allow the construction of Space Stations, which in turn allow you to control certain areas of space (among other things). Thus the defense of Space Stations is important to both your own personal defense, and the defense of the alliance as a whole.
You should take action to defend any Space Station whose star system you are a part of. You can do this in several ways:
The Police Station building on the Space Station will play an important defensvie role against spies. The police station helps to defend your space station from foreign spies by intercepting the ships carrying them. The higher the level the better the chance to intercept. The formula for determining whether or not the police station will intercept incoming ships filled with spies is: security check = police station level * 875 (modified if police station efficiency is down). The spies will be arrested if the security check is greater than the ship's stealth.
Spies can perform both offensive and defensive roles. You need to have spies integrated into all levels of your defense, to prevent potential enemies from running offensive operations against you!
Every colony in your empire should have a fully developed Intelligence Complex. The IC includes the three Ministries: Intelligence Ministry, Espionage Ministry, and Security Ministry. It also includes the four training buildings: Intelligence Training, Mayhem Training, Political Training, and Theft Training.
In addition, there is a Glyph Building called Gratch's Gauntlet which mires down spies, and prevents them from infiltrating for a specified period of time, depending on its level.
You should keep all the buildings in your Intelligence Complex leveled up to your University Level. The main theater of action will be in the Intelligence Ministry; you should periodically check the 'train spies' tab to insure that you have the maximum number of spies. Once the initial training period is over, you should go to the 'Spies' tab and begin training your spies in one of the four skills. You will need to periodically 'change up' your training so that each spy is well-versed in all four skills.
Assign a number of spies with good Intel skills to run the 'Counter Espionage' mission. Assign more spies to any Space Station in your system, and have them run 'Counter Espionage' as well. You should run a 'Security Sweep' once a week at your planet and at Stations - more often if you believe you may have been targeted by offensive spies.
One of the disadvantages of colonizing a gas giant is the vulnerability of the deployed Gas Giant Platform that creates usable plots. If an attack reduces the efficiency of a Level 31 GG Platform to zero, you would be confronted with a -31 plot number (assuming you started with all plots used). Having a negative number of plots causes your planet to start producing unhappiness at a rate of 50x1.62^(Number of negative plots). The level of unhappiness is literally exponential.
You must repair this deficiency quickly or end up losing your planet to the cult. I recommend no more than 10% of your planets be gas giants, and no more than one GG per ring.
A terraformed planet has a similar vulnerability as the Gas Giant. Its usable plots are created by the Terraforming Platform, which is vulnerable to attack. It's not feasible to limit the number of terraformed planets, as our basic strategy requires us to be able to occupy any orbit slot.
A long-term strategy for addressing this vulnerability is to use the Genetics Lab to alter your species' habitable orbits. Raising the habitable orbits affinity to 7 enables you to occupy any orbit from 1 - 7, while reserving orbit 8 for Stations. This also allows you to demolish any TF platforms, and use the freed-up spaces for more useful buildings.
An alternate strategy is to redefine your species and start with a 7 level habitable orbits affinity, for a 100E fee.