The Lar'shi'vre (Protector)-class Cruiser is the primary combat vessel of the Kor'or'vesh, the first starship designed by the T'au specifically to engage and destroy enemy vessels in fleet actions, and a successor to the Lar'shi (Hero)-class Starship of the Kor'vattra. Like many other Kor'or'vesh vessels, this class was first encountered by the Imperium during the Taros Campaign.
While it does not have the same bulk and durability as comparable Imperial vessels, it is the first Tau design capable of meeting Imperial Cruisers on nearly equal terms and with comparable firepower. Two Lar'shi'vre vessels formed the fighting core of the Tau fleet defending Taros, and it inflicted heavy losses on the invading Imperial fleet's transport ships.
In subsequent solar decades, this vessel has been encountered in ever-increasing frequency, not only in the defence of T'au homeworlds, but abroad outside of Tau-controlled space, operating in pairs while accompanying colonization fleets or as deep space patrols reminiscent of the operations common to the Imperial Navy.
They have wasted little time capitalizing on the Imperium's heavy commitments in the sectors near the Eye of Terror, and this class has played a pivotal role in the Tau's recent explosive advance into Imperial space.
- Io'Tar - The Io'Tar was a Lar'shi'vre-class Cruiser that participated in the Taros Campaign, and was one of the first of its class encountered by the Imperium of Man.
- Io'Phi - The Io'Phi was a Lar'shi'vre-class Cruiser that participated in the Taros Campaign, and was one of the first of its class encountered by the Imperium of Man.
Protector-class Cruisers of the most common configuration are, as standard, armed and equipped with a set of prow, port and starboard Railgun batteries, a prow-mounted Gravitic Launcher and Deflector Shield, a prow launch bay capable of holding up to two squadrons of Barracudas and Mantas, three defensive turrets mounted around their hulls, and standard Tau ship gravitic shielding.
The T'olku configuration of the Lar'shi'vre is a common variant configuration of the ship class, and sacrifices launch bay space for port and starboard Ion Cannon batteries. The less common Vior'la configuration of Protector-class Cruisers is the same as the T'olku configuration, but its Ion Cannon batteries are upgraded to have a significantly longer range than standard.
- Battlefleet Gothic 2010 Compendium, pp. 162-163
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign pp. 83, 214