It was originally developed to be the new workhorse of the empire. Though its reactors were a fraction of the size of the Gal'leath (Explorer)-class Starship's power plant, they were capable of reaching a third of average Warp speed of T'au Ether Drives.
This was essential to bind together the emergent T'au Empire. The continued requirements of the Kor'vattra fleet ensured that the Il'fannor-class Starship remained predominantly a warship until the Lar'shi (Hero)-class Starship design was laid down.
When the T'au Empire came into conflict with the Ork species, the Il'fannor underwent significant revisions in its design, with field modifications that allowed virtually all of its cargo space to be converted to weapons systems.
Later examples of the Il'fannor were produced with a drastically superior hull structure, constructed using methods that had, at the time, only been recently discovered by the T'au.
- Tau'n Il'fannor Ur'akym Drimmer - Built in the popular Ke'lshan configuration, this vessel has been trading in Imperial space for almost two centuries under a succession of commanders. Operating a network of Rogue Trader contacts and deep space meeting points, this ship has facilitated the exchange of T'au goods for Imperial technology and the services of Imperial citizens. On three separate occasions the Tau'n Il'fannor Ur'akym Drimma has been closely pursued by Imperial frigates, and on each occasion it has managed to fight them off; although during its last encounter its Kass'l Gunships were lost luring an Imperial Cobra squadron to fight within an asteroid belt.
The standard Kel'shan configuration of the Il'fannor is armed and equipped with prow, port, and starboard Railgun batteries, two defensive turrets mounted around its hull, Gravitic Hooks mounted on its port and starboard sides; each capable of transporting a Kass'l Gunship with the Il'fannor, and standard T'au starship gravitic shielding.
The Dal'yth configuration is a variant of the Il'fannor that is designed for better performance in military applications, by replacing the standard configuration's Gravitic Hooks with port and starboard Ion Cannon batteries.
- Battlefleet Gothic Armada, pg. 102
- Battlefleet Gothic Magazine – Issue 19, pg. 20