@Alex: Right, that's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of; where that number's coming from.

So, 33 damage a tick for the initial hit, and second hits onward go up. Roughly 390-ish / a second and rapidly rising after that; roughly 2 seconds to pierce an Eagle. OK, that's maybe a little more like the reality here.

The Mauler does 200 HE. So it's (400 * 200) / (1000 + 200) = 66.7 and the second hit's around 71.

So, 138 for two hits vs. 390-ish for the HIL?

Still not getting the math quite right.

Here, let's try this again.

Damage dealt to armor = damage of attack * reduction from armor

reduction from armor = hit strength / (hit strength + armor)

For any projectile weapon, damage of attack = hit strength. So a heavy mauler's 200 damage gets multiplied by two, to 400, because it's typed as HE. Then we plug that into the above formulas.

reduction from armor = 400 / (400+1000) = 2/7 ~= .286

damage dealt to armor = 400 * 2/7 ~= 114

The mauler's fire rate is one shot per second; if we pretend that there's no bleed-through to hull and that we're dealing all of our damage to a single armor cell (both bad assumptions, but they make the math -much- simpler), then it ends up taking seven hits to reduce that 1000 armor to zero, so, seven seconds to completely strip an Eagle's armor with one heavy mauler.

1000 - 114 = 886

400 * 400 / (400+886) = 124

886 - 124 = 762

400 * 400 / (400+762) = 137

762 - 137 = 625

400 * 400 / (400+625) = 156

625 - 156 = 469

400 * 400 / (400+469) = 184

469 - 184 = 285

400 * 400 / (400+285) = 233

285 - 233 = 52

400 * 400 / (400+52) = 353

And we've hit zero armor after seven seconds.

* * *

For beam weapons, hit strength = 1/2 DPS. The HIL is 500 DPS; x2 because it's HE; plug that in and we get a hit strength of 500. So for 1000 armor:

reduction from armor = 500 / (500+1000) = 1/3 ~= .333

Now, how much does one tick of the HIL do? Let's consider three different tick rates, just for fun.

Ticks once per second (it definitely doesn't do this, but if it did, here's how the math would work):

damage per tick = 1000 * .333 = 333, for 333 DPS.

Ticks ten times per second:

damage per tick = 100 * .333 = 33, for 330 DPS (actually slightly higher due to intermediate armor reductions, but if we were shooting at something where 1000 armor was its 5% minimum value, this is what we'd get.)

Ticks thirty times per second:

damage per tick = 33 * .333 = 11, for 330 DPS (with the same caveats as the 10 ticks per second case).

If I run the numbers out for the ten ticks per second case (and no, I'm not going to write down all the equations along the way like I did for the mauler), it ends up taking twenty ticks to burn through 1000 armor... which is all of two seconds.

* * *

Now, all of the above is just theorycrafting - as noted, I ignored the fact that armor is split into multiple cells, and the fact that some damage can bleed through to hull even before the armor's gone.

So, let's run a test in-game; fire up a mission with an Eagle (The Last Hurrah works fine), give it 2x heavy needler under player control, and 1x heavy mauler on autofire; put yourself in the simulator against another eagle and see how it goes. Stop firing the needlers when the enemy eagle drops shields, and, depending on how accurate you are with the mauler, it does indeed take around seven shots to break through its armor. (It took me nine shots, personally, but that's because I wasn't able to land all my shots on the same spot every time; two of them went wide.)

Now let's try again with an HIL; the Sunder is probably the best platform for this... There's also a Sunder in the Last Hurrah; I went with 1x HIL, 2x railgun, ITU, hardened shields, flux distributor, stabilized shields, 17 capacitors and 20 flux vents. It's a bit harder to convince an Eagle to drop shields like this - I had to use the HIL to shoot down its sabot missiles, and vent while in beam range a few times - but it's doable. One mississippi, two mississippi, yup that's hull damage I see going past.

Conclusion: the theorycrafting I did under a single-armor-cell assumption is at least close enough to how the actual game works that I'm happy to continue using it.

Edit: Just for funsies I ran one more test, using an Eagle again, and this time -not- halting fire of other weapons when the enemy Eagle's shields went down. With the extra chip damage from other weaponry mixed in, its armor broke after only around five mauler hits on the same spot; this is probably what you'd be more likely to see in actual play.