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Starship Weapons are those massive weapons designed to work in the vast reaches of outer space against other starships with their incredibly potent defences. The most common types of starship weapons are Weapons Batteries, Lances, and Torpedoes.

Weapons Batteries[]

"Weapons battery" is a generic, catch-all name for the macrocannons, voidship-grade Plasma Cannon batteries, voidship-grade Lances, voidship-grade Railguns, and voidship-grade Missile Launchers that make up the vast majority of spaceborne weapons and can be fired in a multitude of ways, from one concentrated blast to a pattern determined by the captain. Nearly all warships are well-armed with gun ports and weapon housings for weapons batteries.

While the weapons batteries of many different factions like Chaos Warfleets and the T'au Empire have a similar end effect to those employed by the Imperium, several of the intelligent starfaring races such as the Tyranids and the Necrons use weapons batteries that are significantly different in how the weapons output is produced from the norm across the Human-settled galaxy.


Ork weapons batteries (or "Gunz" as the Greenskins call them)) are notable for their questionable reliability, with individual weapons often failing or running out of ammunition, yet with others simultaneously being repaired (or even improved), right in the midst of an ongoing battle. In addition to their usual weapons batteries, many Ork starships are also armed with so-called "Heavy Gunz" that are extremely short-ranged, but deal immense damage.

T'au Empire[]

The T'au also make use of large Railguns mounted on warships that require massive amounts of energy to fire despite the advanced T'au superconductors. Because of this, power is routed to a single barrel at a time. The sequence is timed to ensure the first barrel is reloaded before it is charged again. Railguns function as standard weapons batteries.


The Tyranids' equivalent of weapons batteries fire short-ranged, compact, organic pods containing highly caustic pyro-acid that will melt through the hulls and innards of any voidship they hit. The impact alone is capable of harming starships, but so ravenous are the acids released into the target ship's bulkheads that there is a chance of causing additional damage over an extended period of time, until the stricken vessel can bring the spreading damage under control.


The idea behind Lances is simple: use an ultra-heavy directed energy laser cannon to hit an enemy with a blast so powerful that it punches straight through its armour. Like weapons batteries, each starfaring race has its own Lance-type weapons, many of which have effects that are drastically different from those technologies employed by the Imperial Navy.

Craftworld Aeldari[]

Craftworld Aeldari Pulsar Lances fire a barrage of potent directed energy beams, rather than a single powerful one, leading to multiple hits on the target. The end result is a weapon that is nearly twice as deadly as its Imperial counterpart.


The Drukhari Phantom Lance is a battery of dark matter-powered lasers that can strike twice as hard as other races' lance weaponry, making them much more dangerous than their Imperial equivalent in starship combat.


The Gauss Particle Whip, found on Necron cruisers and battleships, produces a flensing particle beam with an extremely tight focus, which can allow it to bypass void shields. Some have been seen arcing to a second nearby target, though this arc has roughly only half the strength of the original.

T'au Empire[]

T'au voidship-grade Ion Cannons fire blasts of directed energy that vaporise the object struck, magnifying the energy discharge. Armour is of no value against them. They function the same as Imperial Navy starship Lances in all respects.


The Tyranids use slow-moving, bio-plasma blasts in a manner similar to the way that the other species dependent on inorganic technology use lances. Bio-plasma energy moves very slowly, which limits it to extremely short ranges but allows it to bypass Void shields unhindered.


The Ork version of a Lance is called a "Zzap Turret," which fires what is effectively a massive lightning bolt at the target. It is the opposite of standard Ork ship weapons in nearly every way; while their various types of voidship-sized Gunz are short-range, have low accuracy and high damage, the Zzap Turret has perfect accuracy, extreme range and a lower damage output, but it is still quite effective as Lance weapons go. However, these weapons are not common in large numbers on Ork warships.


Torpedoes are large, anti-voidship missiles used in naval space battles. They are a highly versatile weapon, as they can be used by any spacecraft from the largest battleships to the smallest planet-side missile defence silos. Up to 200 Terran feet long and powered by a powerful Plasma Reactor that also forms part of the warhead, torpedoes' extremely limited tracking abilities are made up for by the sheer size of the blast they can produce, making a near miss almost as good as a direct hit.

The threat they pose when fired in large salvos also allows them to force an enemy fleet to maneuver to avoid them, allowing canny admirals to limit the enemy's tactical options and "herd" their ships, providing an advantage even if they are evaded successfully.

Torpedoes are made even more effective by the difficulty of hitting them, which results in fighters and point-defense turrets being the only weapons that can be counted on to consistently engage and destroy them. Larger weapons like weapons batteries, lances, and Nova Cannons can still work as anti-torpedo weapons if the situation proves desperate enough, though their small size (compared to a starship) means they are relatively difficult to target with main weapons.

Torpedoes come in many forms and varieties beyond the "standard":


While the Imperium's normal plasma warhead torpedoes are standard weaponry, they also have access to the largest array of specialist versions:

  • Barrage Bomb - Barrage Bombs are highly effective at planetary bombardment.
  • Guided Torpedo - Guided Torpedoes are remotely guided, which makes them highly accurate but vulnerable to jamming.
  • Melta Torpedo - Melta Torpedoes punch through an enemy's hull and sets the ship ablaze.
  • Seeking Torpedo - Seeking Torpedoes home in on enemy ships, but tend to detonate prematurely.
  • Short Burn Torpedo - Short Burn Torpedoes have more powerful (if less fuel-efficient) engines intended to increase their speed.
  • Vortex Torpedo - Vortex Torpedoes implode and create a ship-shredding, localised Warp rift.
  • Rok-buster Torpedo - Rok-buster Torpedoes are designed to burrow deep into Ork Roks before exploding with a standard plasma warhead.

Craftworld Aeldari[]

All Craftworld Aeldari torpedoes carry sophisticated scrambling systems and targeting sensors, making them highly accurate and difficult to shoot down.

Vorpal Torpedoes are maneuverable weapons outfitted with distortion warheads that open temporary spatial rifts into the Warp. A few Vorpal Torpedoes were utilised by Prince Yriel during the Battle of Duriel to destroy a Tyranid Norn-Queen Hive Ship. These appear to function similarly to the Imperial equivalent of Vortex Torpedoes.

Sonic Torpedoes are a specialised variant of the standard Aeldari torpedo. This variant uses a sonic warhead that causes a massive sonic explosion, causing extreme damage to enemy voidships, though it can only be used in-atmosphere.


The Drukhari's Leech Torpedoes emit an electromagnetic ionisation field that drains a target's engine power, making the victim easier to chase down, cripple, and then board.

Leagues of Votann[]

Leagues of Votann voidships are outfitted with Drill Torpedoes which are modified mining equipment that can drill deep into an enemy voidship's hull before exploding just as easily as it can be used to drill into a mineral-rich asteroid to blast off portions of ore-rich rock.

T'au Empire[]

The T'au use large volleys of smaller, drone-guided missiles fired from railgun-like Gravitic Launchers that can track enemy targets with unmatched effectiveness.


Boarding Torpedoes are a cross between a standard torpedo and an assault boat that are used by many of the starfaring species. Instead of a large explosive, they deliver raiding parties into an enemy voidship's interior. The Adeptus Astartes, Tyranids and Orks are known to frequently use versions of them.

Prow Spurs[]

A prow spur is a protrusion added to the bow of a voidship which can be used to enhance a ramming attack on an enemy vessel. A number of starfaring species have been known to use their voidships themselves as weapons, physically ramming them into enemy vessels to cause significant damage. Consequently, on larger voidships typically of cruiser grade or above, those species that employ ramming tactics have also equipped prow spurs; these are various protrusions from the front of a vessel that act as a hardened battering ram to greatly increase the damage potential of a ramming assault.

Some fleet commanders push this ability even further by conducting plasma energies through the spurs; these so-called "power spurs" do even greater damage during a ramming assault.


The Imperium's prow spurs are typically in the shape of a large conical spearhead, concentrating the ramming force into the tip to help in punching through armoured enemy hulls.


Ork vessels often have their prow spurs built into the shape of an Ork face, with an extended lower jaw. This hardened, extended lower jaw acts just like an Imperial prow spur for increasing ramming damage, a tactic that the Orks frequently favour.


The Tyranids have evolved a number of their voidships, particularly their Hive Ships, to possess hardened extended "jaw" segments extending from the sides of their prow, the "head" of the biomechanical Hive Ship. These also function as prow spurs in terms of increasing the damage of a ramming assault, which the Tyranids also frequently favour.

Remote Bombs[]

Many starfaring species of the galaxy also employ the use of various remote bombs; large explosive payloads that are teleported into position from the host voidship, and then remotely detonated after a brief interval to inflict a variety of effects upon enemy vessels.

Plasma Bomb[]

The Plasma Bomb is the most common type of explosive ordinance used by the voidships of the starfaring species. It is a straightforward, nuclear fusion-mediated explosive charge that heavily damages every enemy voidship in a small area of space.

Disruption Bomb[]

A Disruption Bomb is a more technically-advanced voidship explosive that emits a disruptive pulse of energy over quite a wide area of space. While it has absolutely no effect on voidship hulls, it can disrupt primary defensive barriers such as Void Shields, Holo-Fields and even Tyranid Spore Shields.

Stasis Bomb[]

A Stasis Bomb creates an energy field that slows down or stops the flow of time within its range, a technology that is no longer well understood by the Adeptus Mechanicus in the 41st Millennium. Any ship caught in the effective area of the weapon is drastically slowed down, as are any projectiles like those fired by Macro Cannons or torpedoes in flight, and all types of attack craft. Lance beams, however, are unaffected since their emissions travel at relativistic velocities. Chaos Warfleets, which are heavily dependent on Lance weaponry, often favour the use of this technology since it does not disrupt their own vessels' primary weapon systems.

Other Weapons[]

Weapons batteries, Lances, and torpedoes are far from the only weapons used by the various starfaring factions of the galaxy in void battles.


  • The Imperium's Nova Cannon is one of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy. It fires a 50 metre-wide shell out to a predetermined range at significant fractions of lightspeed, where the shell detonates in a massive explosion that can cripple cruisers and wipe out entire escort squadrons.
  • The Bombardment Cannon is a linear accelerator that fires heavy Magma Bombs, and is found almost exclusively on Space Marine Battle Barges and Strike Cruisers. Despite being designed primarily for planetary bombardment, it is nonetheless a fearsome anti-starship weapon able to rip through even the thickest of starship armour.


  • Star Pulse Generators create a pulse of energy that radiates outwards from the firing ship in all directions, dealing damage to all enemies within its blast radius and instantly incinerating enemy attack craft and torpedoes.
  • Lightning Arcs release stored solar energy as powerful electromagnetic energy tendrils that envelop a target voidship and probe for any weaknesses in their armour to exploit and tear apart.
  • Scarab Swarms are dense, short-ranged clouds of robotic nanites. For nearly a minute this cloud emits from and surrounds the ship in all directions, simultaneously eating away at the hulls of enemy voidships while slowly repairing hull damage to Necron ships within the area.


  • Many Tyranid bio-ships have evolved massive claws and mandibles capable of ripping, chewing, and tearing their way through any voidship unlucky enough to find itself in the Tyranid craft's clutches.
  • The huge tentacles of bio-ships used to "feed" on planetary atmospheres and biomatter pumped into orbit by Tyranid Capillary Towers are also a major threat to enemy voidships in space battles, as they can be used to deposit vast numbers of rampaging Tyranid combat organisms into an enemy voidship.


  • T'au turrets are extremely sophisticated starship defensive systems, combining a range of kinetic and directed energy weapon types with overlapping fire zones.
  • Gravitic Launchers are massive Railguns where mass drivers trigger the initial acceleration before the T'au starship's gravitic field is pulsed to squeeze the missiles toward the enemy at enormous speed. The missiles are drone-controlled and exceptionally dangerous.


  • Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook (Specialist Game)
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada (Specialist Game)
  • Battlefleet Gothic - To Unite the Stars: Tau Vessels (Specialist Game)
  • Codex: Leagues of Votann (9th Edition), pp. 16-17
  • Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 162
  • Valedor (Novel) by Guy Haley, pg. 286
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada (PC Game)
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada II (PC Game)