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*''Codex: Tau Empire'' (3rd Edition), pp. 17-19, 25-26, 27, 30-31
 
*''Codex: Tau Empire'' (3rd Edition), pp. 17-19, 25-26, 27, 30-31
 
*''Codex: Tau Empire'' (4th Edition), pp. 25-27, 29-30, 35-37, 39-41, 46
 
*''Codex: Tau Empire'' (4th Edition), pp. 25-27, 29-30, 35-37, 39-41, 46
*''Codex: Tau Empire'' (6th Edition), pp. 33, 36, 38, 42-46, 47-49, 50-51, 59, 65-69, 72, 100, 102-103
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*''Codex: Tau Empire'' (6th Edition), pp. 33, 36, 38, 41-46, 47-49, 50-51, 59, 65-69, 72, 100, 102-103
 
*''Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls'' (RPG), pp. 123, 142
 
*''Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls'' (RPG), pp. 123, 142
 
*''Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos'' (RPG), pp. 5, 10
 
*''Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos'' (RPG), pp. 5, 10
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*''Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II'', pg. 58
 
*''Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II'', pg. 58
 
*''Imperial Armour Volume Three -- The Taros Campaign'', pg. 158, 162, 166, 170, 173-174, 177, 187, 190, 194, 198, 201, 207-208, 211
 
*''Imperial Armour Volume Three -- The Taros Campaign'', pg. 158, 162, 166, 170, 173-174, 177, 187, 190, 194, 198, 201, 207-208, 211
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*''Warhammer 40,000 Wargear'', pg. 26
 
*[http://www.forgeworld.co.uk Forge World Website]<span style="display: none"> </span>
 
*[http://www.forgeworld.co.uk Forge World Website]<span style="display: none"> </span>
 
*''[[Dawn of War - Dark Crusade]]'' (PC Game)
 
*''[[Dawn of War - Dark Crusade]]'' (PC Game)

Revision as of 06:34, March 15, 2014

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Page Under Construction. Please Do Not Edit.

This page describes the wargear and weapons wielded by the Fire Caste of the Tau Empire. The Tau are an intelligent, humanoid alien race, first discovered by the Imperium of Man in the late 35th Millennium. They were at a hunter-gatherer stage of development at this time, and were earmarked for cleansing to open their homeworld of T'au up for human settlement. The combination of intense Warp Storms in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy where the Tau homeworld was located and the outbreak of the Age of Apostasy within the Imperium in the 36th Millennium prevented this from occurring, and during the next six millennia of isolation the Tau were able to evolve, unite, and develop an extremely advanced level of technology and interstellar civilisation. Also during this time, the Tau have incorporated numerous alien species into their fledgling Tau Empire, the most significant of these being the Kroot and the Vespid. This page will describe the various weapon types and common equipment used by the Tau Fire Caste and their Kroot, Vespid and even human allies.

Weapons

The Tau Empire uses a variety of advanced weaponry developed by the Earth Caste that are often technologically superior to those of other races. Technologies such as Pulse and Rail technology are such examples, and can be seen as 'trademark' weapons of the Tau. However, the Tau Empire also has developed weapons for allied races such as the Kroot and Vespid. Another feature of Tau technology is that it constantly being adapted and developed to meet the ever-changing needs of the battlefield. As such, there are several pieces of Tau weaponry and wargear that have been designated as experimental for various reasons. As such, they are special issue and only given to experienced commanders who can field-test the weaponry.

Airbursting Fragmentation Projector

Airburstfragprojector

The newest pattern of the Tau Airbursting Fragmentation Projector

The Airbursting Fragmentation Projector is an experimental weapon developed by the Tau Empire during the Third Sphere Expansion. The weapon operates by firing a proximity-fused explosive projectile on a trajectory computed by a simple on-board Drone intelligence within the warhead itself. This AI full calculates the precise height and distance of each submunition it fires so as to provide optimum explosive damage across a wide area. The Airbursting Fragmentation Projector is currently still undergoing field tests and thus is considered a special-issue weapon to Tau forces due to its experimental nature. Its use is only entrusted to a number of senior Fire Caste Tau Commanders.

A known variant of the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector is the Microburst Fragmentation Launcher. A Microburst Fragmentation Launcher is also an experimental weapon and has thus far been only entrusted and issued to Tau Commanders piloting XV46 Vanguard Commander Variant Void Battlesuits. A Microburst Fragmentation Projector features a similar range to a standard Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, but fires projectiles that detonate with more focused, concussive, explosive force, sacrificing a large blast for more power per shot. It also has a far faster rate of fire, and is smaller and more portable; allowing the XV46 to use it more effectively in the close confined

Flamer

Tau crisis suit flamer largeb

A Tau Flamer

Tau Flamers are very similar to the Flamers used by Space Marines and Imperial Guardsmen in role and use, but differs slightly in construction because of the use of more stable Tau technology. Flamers can be mounted on XV8 Crisis Battlesuits and are commonly used to engage massed hordes of lightly armoured enemies. Flamers are also lethal weapons when used by Crisis Battlesuits fighting in dense terrain.

Ion Weapons

Hammerhead23

A Hammerhead gunship armed with an Ion Cannon firing upon enemy forces

Ion Weapon technology was originally given to the Tau Empire by the Demiurg. Since then, the technology has been adapted to be used in various directed energy weapons. high energy streams of ionised subatomic particles, vaporising flesh and metal with equal ease. These high-energy ions are accelerated by an electromagnetic field and react explosively with the target as a result of the direct transfer of energy at an atomic level. The recent discovery of a Mor'tonium power source revolutionised the technological possibilities for Ion Weapons, allowing smaller weapons to be built Ion Weapons to be overcharged and generate far more powerful blasts. However, doing so exposes the wielder or vehicle to the dangerous ionising radiation emitted by the Mor'tonium, and risks overloading the weapon's primary power cells.

Cyclic Ion Blaster

Cyclic Ion Blasters are experimental Tau Battlesuit weapon systems. Early prototypes of the weapon were developed to combat multiple, lightly-armoured enemies at short ranges, and functioned by generating a rapid stream of ionised radiation that is unleashed through the Ion Blaster's four barrels. Though the extremely high rate of fire of this early prototype was stable, the ionisation effect on armour was variable. Later developments almost completely changed the nature of the weapon. As a result, the Cyclic Ion Blaster's role changed to one more similar to the more stable Ion Rifle design, and now features a moderately high rate of fire with immensely more damage capabilities per shot. The real similarities of later models to their older counterparts lies in their range and armour penetration.

Ion Rifle

Ion Rifles are a recently developed form of Ion Weapon that is infantry portable. Ion Rifles are normally issued as special weapons to Tau Pathfinders to augment their offensive capabilities in the field, and allow them to engage heavy infantry and light vehicles effectively.

Ion Cannon

The Ion Cannon was developed during the Tau Empire's early expansions into space, and is a large weapon most commonly found as a primary turret weapon on Hammerhead gunships, though numerous other Tau aircraft and voidships also make use of Ion Cannons. Ion Cannons are the most common adaptation of Ion technology. Although the firepower of Ion Cannons are significantly less than the Railgun, they have a high rate of fire that is very effective against heavily-armoured infantry such as Space Marines, and lightly-armoured vehicles.

Ion Accelerator

Ion Accelerators are large Ion Weapons developed for use by the experimental XV104 Riptide Battlesuit. For their size, Ion Accelerators have a relatively high rate of fire, and their high damage output allows them to engage both heavy infantry and vehicles effectively. Indeed, Riptide Battlesuits have used their Ion Accelerators to devastating effect on even Leman Russ Battle Tanks and reinforced Imperial bunkers.

Phased Ion Gun

A Phased Ion Gun is a prototype weapon system designed specifically for use by XV9 Hazard Battlesuits, as their advanced power cores allow them to most effectively wield these weapons. The Phased Ion Gun melds the rapid-firing technology of the Cyclic Ion Blaster with the power of the vehicle-mounted Ion Cannon into a stable Battlesuit weapon system. The lengthy particle accelerators that comprise the Phased Ion Gun's mechanism allow the Battlesuit pilot to engage the enemy at range with a storm of subatomic projectiles that react explosively at an atomic level, decimating heavily armoured infantry and vehicles. While the rate of fire is stable and very high, the ionisation effect remains unpredictable and varies due to the developing nature of this still-experimental technology. At its peak, a Phased Ion Gun's directed energy streams are able to bypass virtually all known forms of armour.

Quad Ion Turret

A Quad Ion Turret is essentially a battery of four linked Ion Rifles designed as a primary weapon for Razorshark strike fighters. A Quad Ion Turret is mounted on a gimbal turret on the rear underside of a Razorshark, allowing the weapon to strike at targets in all directions. Many an enemy aircraft has found itself under assault by a fusillade of deadly ion streams as Tau aircraft streak past. Linked together as a battery, the Ion Rifles that make up a Quad Ion Turret give the weapon system a high rate of fire, and their strength allows them to engage heavy infantry, light vehicles, and aircraft with equal effectiveness.

Ar'Ka Cannon

The Ar'Ka Cannon is a unique weapon design that was constructed on Nan Yanoi ("Sword Moon" in the Tau Lexicon), one of the two moons of the world of Kaurava II in the Kaurava System. The Ar'Ka Cannon fired a concentrated "Ion Beam", which was tuned to a frequency and wavelength that only destroyed the central nervous systems of advanced organic life forms, and ignored plant life and inorganic structures. This allowed the structures and plant life of a targeted area to remain, allowing the Tau Empire to strike at their enemies in the Kaurava System without wreaking too much damage to the environment of the system's habitable planets. This allowed the Tau to maintain the targeted location's suitability for future Tau colonisation. The Ar'Ka Cannon could fire its beam at any point on the surface of any world in the Kaurava System. This weapon was unique, and the Tau built extensive fortifications at the base they established on Nan Yanoi to protect it. A modified version of the Ar'Ka Cannon was mounted on satellites orbiting above Nan Yanoi, which acted as a defence mechanism if any intruders made it past the orbital cannons and landed on the moon.

Kroot Weapons

Before the Kroot race was found by the Tau Empire, their ranged weaponry consisted primarily of primitive slug throwers that relied on the use of chemical propellants, solid ammunition, and the transfer of kinetic force. Once the Kroot had been absorbed into the Tau Empire, their weapons were upgraded to utilise the charged pulse rounds that are favoured by the Tau. This granted far greater stopping power and penetration.

Kroot Rifle

Krootrifle

A Kroot Rifle

The members of a Kroot Carnivore Squad often favour the use of weapons known as Kroot Rifle, which serve as their standard weapon. Kroot Rifles are commonly fitted with blades near the barrel and stock, which are a throwback to early traditional Kroot fighting staves. Combined with the incredible hand speed that Kroot possess, Kroot Rifle are not only effective ranged weapons, but also effective assault weapons as well.

Kroot Gun

Kroot Guns are larger calibre versions of the Kroot Rifle. These heavy weapons have the equivalent range and firepower to Autocannons used by the Imperial Guard, and are primarily used to engage light vehicles. Kroot Guns are significantly heavier than the Kroot Rifle, and thus must be mounted on the back of a lumbering Krootox. They can also be mounted on Great Knarlocs.

Kroot Bolt Launcher

Kroot Bolt Launchers are primitive and effective weapons that have been used by the Kroot long before they met the Tau Empire. As with Kroot Rifles and Kroot Guns, the Tau have aided the Kroot by replacing the original basic sharpened bolts that were originally used as the ammunition with impact-infused explosive tips, which are smaller versions of the warheads used in Tau Missile Pods. This made the weapon far more dangerous and they now have a significant area of effect. The actual bolt-thrower is operated by an ingenious hand-crank system which drops the bolts from the magazine into position before quickly drawing the bow-string. This system allows the weapon to keep up a high firing rate with little effort from the crew. The Kroot Bolt Launcher is only found mounted on Great Knarlocs.

Fusion Weapons

Fusion Blaster 4

A schematic of a Tau Fusion Blaster

Tau Fusion Weapons are similar in effect to the technology employed in Imperial Melta Weapons, in that they use small fusion reactors to produce blasts of intense heat. They usually have short ranges, but are more dangerous the closer they are used to the target.

Fusion Blaster

A Fusion Blaster short-ranged Tau Melta Weapon capable of reducing even the most heavily armoured vehicles and fortifications to slag in the blink of an eye with its nuclear fusion-powered blast. The Fusion Blaster is most commonly utilised as a weapon system on Battlesuits. The Fusion Blaster is similar both technologically and tactically to an Imperial Meltagun, albeit it possesses a longer range and is most commonly employed by more mobile units. Many Battlesuit pilots have become adept at stalking and hunting down enemy armour, using their high mobility gained from their Jetpacks to outflank the enemy and attack the more vulnerable rear and side armour. Fusion Blasters can also be used to eliminate heavy armoured enemy infantry though, as the sheer heat from them will melt all kinds of armour and often the wearer inside too.

Fusion Cannon

A Fusion Cannon is a larger versions of the Battlesuit-mounted Fusion Blaster, and fire blasts of Melta energy that can melt through vehicles or heavy infantry. Currently, they can only be mounted as a variant turret for Hammerhead gunships, and were first encountered during the Taros Campaign, where it is believed to have first been field-tested. They have an extended range compared to the Fusion Blaster, and also have a blast radius that allows them to destroy closely packed groups of enemy vehicles and heavy infantry.

Fusion Cascade

The Fusion Cascade is an experimental, cutting-edge Fusion Blaster variant that is designed to be integrated with the systems of the XV9 Hazard Battlesuit. A Fusion Cascade engulfs its target with powerful Melta energy, and fires in bursts. This means that despite each charge being less powerful than an equivalent Imperial Melta Weapon of similar size, the Fusion Cascade can overwhelm its target through sheer weight of fire.

Fusion Blades

Fusion Blades are in actuality a pair of heavily modified Tau Fusion Blasters, but in truth, they are miracles of science. When the firing impulse is sustained, each weapon can fire a constant stream of nuclear fusion-based Melta energy that blazes from the muzzle of the weapons like a blade of pure light.  Fusion Blades are a rare Tau Battlesuit weapons system that was created at the request of the third bearer of the title of Commander Brightsword. Fusion Blades are potent close combat weapons that are easily able to vaporise infantry and carve through tanks. Indeed, the seventh Commander Brightsword used his Fusion Blades to extreme effectiveness against even the giant bio-monsters of the Tyranids. However, Fusion Blades consume an incredible amount of energy to wield, and are prone to shorting out in the midst of battle. Fusion Blades are a Tau weapons technology employed exclusively by the Farsight Enclaves.

Fusion Torch

A Fusion Torch is a Tau utility tool issued to XV46 Vanguard Void Battlesuits to aid them in exploring the hazardous interior environments of Space Hulks. A Fusion Torch is a short-ranged and very high-powered Melta cutting tool, utilising an atomic fusion reaction to generate an immensely hot beam capable of cutting through even the thickest of bulkheads and barriers. Whilst designed to breach obstacles, a Fusion Torch can also be used as an incredibly potent, if clumsy, close combat weapon capable of vaporising anything that its wielder happens to target within reach of its beam.

Marker Light

Markerlight

The Marker Light provides enhanced targeting accuracy for Tau weapons

A Marker Light is essentially an advanced Tau hand-held laser range finder that is used to "paint" targets for other Tau units to fire upon. When activated, a Marker Light projects a simple beam at the target which measures the exact distance between the Marker Light and the user. This and a torrent of other targetting information then is fed into the Cadre tactical network and becomes available on the wider Tau electronic battle network, relaying ranges to the marked target, triangulating optimum firing trajectories and superimposing aiming vectors. All of this information is transmitted to other Tau units to guide their fire and engage the enemy with unerring accuracy. During the Damocles Gulf Crusade, the Marker Light was also dubbed the "Valkyrie's Mark" by Imperial forces, because those marked with it were soon numbered amongst the dead. A Marker Light can allow Tau Fire Warriors and vehicles to either: fire more accurately upon targets, be able to see and target enemies in darkness clearly, call in Seeker Missiles on the target, either from Sky Rays or missiles mounted on other Tau vehicles, pin enemy units under fire from Tau troops more easily, or allow shots to strike more accurately at targets who take cover

Missile Weapons

Taumissile

Standard Missile loadout for Tau Missile Pods

The Tau Empire uses a range of Missiles, often in very different roles from the Imperium. These Missiles tend to range more in role and also commonly have drone intelligences built into them.

Missile Pod

A Missile Pod is a small silo of missiles which are primarily mounted on XV8 Crisis Battlesuits and act as medium to long-range mobile fire support weapons. They are commonly shoulder or arm mounted and function using a relatively simple multiple missile delivery system. The missiles housed in these pods are fired in straight lines from the firer to the target. These missiles can carry enough punch to destroy lightly armoured vehicles, and well-placed shots can even bring down heavier tanks. They are similar in power and role to Imperial Autocannons.

High-yield Missile Pod

A High-yield Missile Pod is essentially a larger and more rapidly-firing Missile Pod. XV88 Broadside Battlesuits wield twin-linked High-yield Missile Pods as alternative primary weapon systems to Heavy Rail Rifles. High-yield Missile Pods were developed during the Tau Empire’s Great War of Confederation after initial setbacks were encountered fighting the Ork menace, where the sheer mass of attacking Greenskin waves and the light nature of their vehicles meant that the Heavy Rail Rifle, although deadly, could not stem the overwhelming tide of attackers. By arming XV88s with High-yield Missile Pods, the Battlesuits sacrificed range and damage for the ability to lay down faster barrages that proved more than adequate in destroying the crude scrap-armoured Ork vehicles.

Smart Missile System

A Smart Missile System is an advanced weapon system that fires clusters of small missiles, each guided by a Drone processor unit built into its warhead, intended for use against masses of enemy infantry, particularly those hiding in cover.  Upon their launch, the "Smart Missiles" will search for targets within sensor range before selecting and engaging one based on criteria previously detailed by the weapon's operator. These targets do not have to be within line of sight of the operator, as once the target has been acquired, the missiles are able to effectively home in on it, manoeuvring their thrusters to propel them around any intervening terrain as they hunt the enemy down to an explosive conclusion. Smart Missiles are smaller than the Missiles used in Missile Pods, and as a result have a shorter range and less power. However, they make up for this though the number of missiles that can be fired at once, making them effective in an anti-infantry role.

Seeker Missile

A Seeker Missile is a single high strength missile which is designed to strike targets that have been designated using a Marker Light. Seeker Missiles are commonly used in place of artillery, as Tau battle doctrine dictates that all forces should always remain mobile. As such, the Tau Fire Caste generally does not rely on static defensive positions unless absolutely necessary, and instead relies Seeker Missile strikes from roving Sky Rays.

Plasma Weapons

Plasmarifle5

An early Tau Plasma Rifle design

As with many other major races in the Milky Way Galaxy, the Tau have developed Plasma technology that is extremely potent against heavily armoured infantry. However, Tau Plasma weapons don't suffer the drawback of occasionally fatally over-heating, unlike the Imperium's more unstable Plasma weapons. Instead, the Tau favour a form of technology that forgoes a degree of stopping power for increased safety levels for the operator, similar to the Eldar.

Plasma Rifle

'Plasma Rifles' deliver pulses of searing energy and superheated matter that has been transmuted into a gaseous plasma state that carries an electrical charge. The plasma "bolts" fired by these weapons generate the destructive heat of a small sun; impacting with the fury of a supernova and scything through steel, flesh and bone as if they were nothing. Whilst Plasma Weapon technology is employed by many of the main spacefaring races of the 41st Millennium, the Tau favour a form of technology in their Plasma Rifles that exchanges some damage output for increased safety for the user by almost completely eliminating the risk of a catastrophic overheat of the weapon. Nevertheless, Tau Plasma Rifles are still extremely effective against targets such as heavy infantry, and are able to melt even Ceramite with ease. The Tau Plasma Rifle can be considered the equivalent of an Imperial Plasma Gun.

Plasma Cannon

So far, Tau Plasma Cannons are only mounted as a variant turret on Hammerhead gunships and were first identified by the Imperium during the Taros Campaign, where it is believed they were being field-tested. They use the same Plasma technology in Plasma Rifles, but are far larger in size. Because of this, they are more powerful and also fire faster. However, they sacrifice some of their armour penetrating power for this, making them similar to in damage potential to Ion Cannons.

Pulse Weaponry

Pulse Weapons can be seen as the 'signature' weapon of the Tau Empire, and are the standard infantry weapons of Tau Fire Warriors. Pulse Weapons use electromagnetic induction fields to convert subatomic particles to a plasma state as they are propelled out the barrel of the weapon. There are several different types of Pulse weapons in use by Tau forces:

Tau firewarrior single pu2lse rifle large

A Tau Pulse Rifle

  • Pulse Rifle - The Pulse Rifle carried by Fire Warrior Teams is superior to the Bolters used by Imperial forces. The effective range and hitting power of a Pulse Rifle is one of the greatest of any standard-issue weapon used by any force in the galaxy, and often outranges the heavy weapons of other races. Pulse Rifles are reliable weapons that suit the Tau doctrine and allow Fire Warriors to perform their duty to the Tau Empire effectively on the battlefield by maintaining a reasonably high rate of fire with large amounts of power, even when on the move.
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A Tau Pulse Carbine

  • Pulse Carbine - Pulse Carbines are similar to Pulse Rifles in strength, but are smaller, trading range and rate of fire for portability and an underslung Photon Grenade Launcher which can fire Photon Grenades which can dazzle and disorientate targets so as to pin them down. Pathfinders are armed with Pulse Carbines as standard, while Fire Warriors can take Pulse Carbines instead of the longer ranged Pulse Rifle. Tau Gun Drones also mount Twin-Linked Pulse Carbines to give them some offensive firepower.
  • Pulse Pistol - Pulse Pistols are small hold-out weapons issued to Tau Battlesuit pilots and the Fire Warrior controllers of Sniper Drones. They have an extremely short range compared to other Pulse weapons but retain the same amount of power. They often only come into play when a Sniper Drone Team is under close range threat or when a Battlesuit pilot has used an Ejection System to escape the destruction of his Battlesuit.
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A Pulse Submunition Rifle

  • Pulse Submunitions Rifle - Pulse Submunitions Rifles are advanced variants of the standard Pulse Rifle and can only be wielded by the powerful systems of the XV9 Hazard Battlesuit. Pulse Submunition Rifles fire rounds that affect large areas, similar to the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, and can bypass cover effectively.

Burst Cannon

Tau crisis suit burst cannon large

Side View of a Burst Cannon

Multi-barreled weapons capable of sustaining high rates of fire, Burst Cannons are an offshoot of Tau Pulse Weapon technology. They are usually mounted on Tau Battlesuits and vehicles, providing heavy anti-infantry support. They are similar to present-day miniguns and are able to maintain a high rate of fire without overheating. They usually have 4 barrels and are short-ranged, like Pulse Carbines, but this is usually offset by the maneuverability of the units commonly armed with them. XV9 Hazard Battlesuits can be armed a Twin-Linked Burst Cannon on each arm. Drone Sentry Turrets can also be equipped with Twin-Linked Burst Cannons. In the Dawn of War - Dark Crusade, Shas'O Kais is equipped with a Burst Cannon by default.

Long-Barrelled Burst Cannons are a variant of the standard Burst Cannon that has up to double the range due to the extra length of the barrelling and increased force used in firing. Remora Drone Fighters and Hammerhead gunships can be armed with twin-linked Long-Barrelled Burst Cannons, and many Tau aircraft such as the Manta and Barracuda are armed with them.

Heavy Burst Cannons are a more potent version of the standard Burst Cannon, commonly mounted on XV104 Riptide Battlesuits

Neutron Blaster

NeutronBlaster

Side View of a Neutron Blaster

A Neutron Blaster is a weapon unique to the Vespid race. They are made using a hybrid of Vespid and Tau technology. Mounted at the end of the barrel of each weapon is a highly energetic and unstable crystal that has been harvested from the deepest layers of the world of Vespid's cloud seas. This is combined with an efficient neutron projection system created by the Tau Earth Caste to produce a weapon capable of bypassing all but the most effective armour. The weapon emits short ranged streams of neutron radiation when firing and can reduce biological matter and machine components to cinders. Neutron blasters can only be used by members of the Vespid race, such as Vespid Stingwings. This is mainly because Neutron Blasters constantly emit radiation that only the Vespid can handle, whereas the radiation will prove ultimately lethal to other races. It has also been theorised that Vespid wing membranes emit a constant harmonic ultrasonic tone that is required to modulate or aid the containment of the crystals used in the weapons.

Rail Weaponry

Tau Rail Weapons are fearsome weapons and are characterised by their long range, extreme power and excellent armour penetration capabilities. Rail weapons use linear accelerator technology which functions using standing wave acceleration along a number of superconductive electrodes that surround the barrel. This form of firing mechanism can accelerate projectiles to hyper-velocities which give them their great accuracy over long ranges. This is due to the extreme speed almost negating any drift due to wind and bullet drop off.

Railgun2

An early design of a Railgun

  • Railgun - Railguns are the standard application of Tau Rail technology and are commonly used in an anti-vehicle role due to being extremely effective at penetrating enemy armour. Railguns usually fire single solid projectiles and rely on the projectiles speed to penetrate armour, even at long ranges. However, when used against infantry, they can have a devastating effect where the round will simply vaporise the target. Those near the travelling path of the projectile will also find the breath sucked out of their lungs, such is its speed. Railguns have an iconic 'whip-crack' sound when they fire, but this is merely the sound that is made as a Railgun round breaks the sound barrier. Nevertheless, such is the Railgun's destructive power that its reputation spreads fear amongst the tank crews of the enemies of the Tau Empire. Railguns are commonly mounted as twin-linked weapons on XV88 Broadside Battlesuits which are specialised for the tank hunting role, and as a weapon turret on Hammerhead gunships. Hammerhead railguns, however, have the capability to fire sophisticated bundles of submunitions that are effective at suppressive area fire due to a large area of effect, and is commonly employed against 'soft targets' where the submunition rounds will often pass straight through.
  • Heavy Railgun - Heavy Railguns are larger versions of the standard Railguns and are only mounted on the Manta and Tiger Shark A-X-10 variant of the Tiger Shark aircraft. Heavy Railguns fire larger rounds at higher speeds, and the projectiles are fin-stabilised for extra lift, and therefore extra range, whilst in an atmosphere. The Heavy Railgun's submunition shell is equipped with a drone processor that is programmed to direct the shell accurately towards its target. This is mostly used during space combat to find weak points in the armour of enemy ships as submunition rounds lack the penetrating power of the standard round. They are also useful in ground combat, however, as the shell can saturate a extremely large area with its submunitions and deny cover more effectively due to being fired from the air.
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A Tau Patfinder armed with a Rail Rifle

  • Rail Rifle - Rail Rifles are a recent development of Rail technology that is man-portable while retaining power, range and armour penetration capabilities that surpasses the weapons of many other races. To use a Rail Rifle, the bearer must be equipped with a hard-wired targeting device. During trials, one of the main flaws of the Rail Rifle was that the massive energy requirements needed to power the electromagnetic linear accelerator within could overload the targeting device, causing feedback in the hard-wired interface which in turn could kill the rifle's bearer (the current required to accelerate the projectile to a practical speed takes up an enormous amount of power). This flaw has been fixed through constant field-testing, and has since been authorised for use by frontline Pathfinder teams just prior to the declaration of the Third Sphere Expansion. Rail Rifles are also utilized by Sniper Drones which are stable platforms for firing. Rail Rifles are effective in the sniper role due to the being accurate over long ranges, being able to pin enemy units down, and also retaining sufficient power to bypass all but the toughest of armour.

While Heavy Railguns are the largest known application of Rail technology in ground warfare, the technology has been scaled up to create truly massive Railcannon batteries that are mounted on Tau starships, where they are effective at bombarding enemy ships with powerful extreme-velocity rounds.

Battlesuit Armoury

Tau Battlesuits can take a variety of different weapon and support systems, as well as Battlesuit wargear. The standard XV8 Crisis Battlesuit can mount any combination of three weapon and support systems, while both the XV88 Broadside Battlesuit and XV25 Stealthsuit can take one Battlesuit support system with their standard armanent. Certain squad or team leaders can then also take a limited amount of Battlesuit wargear. It is of note that some Battlesuit support systems can be hard-wired. These systems are cybenetic in nature and are either entirely contained within the Battlesuit or are implanted as warrior jewellery. Hard-wired systems can also be taken as Battlesuit wargear and therefore free up space for other support systems. Special issue items unique systems undergoing field-testing prior to becoming widely available. As such, their distribution is usually limited to one per Hunter Cadre.

Weapon Systems

Available for XV8 Battlesuits:

  • Airbursting Fragmentation Projector (Special Issue)
  • Burst Cannon
  • Cyclic Ion Blaster (Special Issue)
  • Flamer
  • Fusion Blaster
  • Missile Pod
  • Plasma Rifle

It is possible for a Battlesuit to take a Twin-Linked variant of any weapon that isn't special issue. This means that the weapon will count as taking up two hard-points.

All Stealthsuits can are armed with a Burst Cannon as standard. However, one in three in a squad of XV25 Stealthsuits can be equipped with a Fusion Blaster to give them a close range anti-vehicle role.

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits are armed with a Twin-Linked Railgun and a Smart Missile System as standard. One member of the squad can also replace their Smart Missile System with Twin-Linked Plasma Rifles

Support Systems

  • Advanced Stabilisation System - All Tau Battlesuit weapon systems are equipped with stabilising gyroscopes that enable them to bring their weapons to bear at speed. An Advanced Stabilisation System is a more advanced version of these gyroscopes that allow even heavy weapons to be fired on the move. XV88 Broadside Battlesuits commonly make use of this Support System.
  • Blacksun Filter - Blacksun Filters are advanced optical filters that allow a Battlesuit to see better in darkness and low light conditions.
  • Command and Control Node (Special Issue) - A Command and Control Node is a sophisticated Ai-assisted transmission system used by a commander to communicate more effectively with other Fire Caste warriors around him and also boost their morale.
  • Drone Controller - A Drone Controller acts as a hub for communications between an operator and a number of Drones. They give the owner the ability to make use of up to two Drones per Drone Controller.
  • Multi-Tracker - A Multi-Tracker is a sophisticated fire control system that mounted in a sensor node, often on a Battlesuits shoulder where it enables the Battlesuit to coordinate its fire with more than one weapon.
  • Positional Relay (Special Issue) - A Positional Relay records detailed battlefield data and relays it in a tight band of, encrypted burst to a single unit operating in reserve. Information sent usually includes battlefield terrain and status reports to allow the unit to make a better decision on when to deploy onto the battlefield.
  • Shield Generator - Battlesuit Shield Generators project cohesive energy fields around the Battlesuit that can deflect blasts and blows that would otherwise outright destroy the battlesuit.
  • Target Lock - A Target Lock is a specialised target acquisition system that enables the bearer to engage different targets from the rest of the squad.
  • Targetting Array - The Targetting Array is a relatively new application of the same technology used in vehicles. It provides assistance to aiming at targets.
  • Vectored Retro-Thrusters (Special Issue) - A Battlesuit with Vectored Retro-Thrusters is equipped with additional thruster nozzles, giving a degree of additional manoeuvrability that is useful when escaping from combat.

Battlesuit Wargear

  • Bonding Knife - A Bonding Knife is a ceromonial knife that is not intended for combat, but is carried by the leader of Tau Fire Warrior teams who have performed the Ta'lissera ritual and bonded as a group. Battlesuit wearers many not actually carry a Bonding Knife but instead have a knife design painted onto their armour.
  • Ejection System (Special Issue) - A Ejection System provides the pilot of a Battlesuit a chance to escape catastrophic damage by ranged fire to his Battlesuit by ejecting the pilot at the last second. The pilot then has to fend for himself on foot.
  • Failsafe Detonator - Failsafe Detonators are intended to be the ultimate expression of the doctrine of the Greater Good, as is used only in the most dire of circumstances. The Failsafe Detonator is a powerful explosive that can be detonated by a Battlesuit pilot in order to allow his squad members to escape from close combat, although the pilot himself is killed.
  • Drones - Gun Drones, Shield Drones and Marker Light Drones can accompany Battlesuit squads providing that at least one Battlesuit has a Drone Controller.
  • Iridium Armour - Battlesuits can be fitted with additional armour protection in the form of Iridium Amour plates across the surface of the Battlesuit. However, the extra weight of the armour greatly reduces the range of the Battlesuit's Jetpack.
  • Hard-Wired Blacksun Filter - See Support Systems
  • Hard-wired Drone Controller - See Support Systems
  • Hard-Wired Multi Tracker - See Support Systems
  • Hard-Wired Target Lock - See Support Systems
  • Stimulant Ejector (Special Issue) - A Battlesuit with Stimulant Ejectors is fitted with advanced life support systems that are able to flood the Battlesuit pilot's body with stimulants should he become wounded.

Infantry Wargear

Certain Tau infantry such as squad and team leaders can utilise wargear items that are usually only available to Battlesuit pilots.

  • Bonding Knife - See Battlesuit Armoury
  • EMP Grenades - EMP grenades emit brief electromagnetic pulses that can overload circuitry, causing fires, meltdowns and other criticial malfunctions in enemy vehicles. All Tau Fire Warriors can be equipped with EMP grenades.
  • Honour Blade (Ethereals Only) - A Honour Blade is a long, broad-bladed spear mounted on a lightweight metallic shaft. Honour Blades are used by Ethereals to settle disputes between Ethereal Caste members in stylised and bloodless duels where they are used in elegant sweeping movements where the blade becomes virtually invisible.
  • Drones - See Battlesuit Armoury
  • Hard-Wired Blacksun Filter - See Battlesuit Armoury
  • Hard-Wired Drone Controller - See Battlesuit Armoury
  • Hard-Wired Multi Tracker - See Battlesuit Armoury
  • Hard-Wired Target Lock - See Battlesuit Armoury
  • Photon Grenade - Photon Grenades are defensive grenades that blind and disorient attackers with flashes of multi-spectral light and sonic bursts. All Tau Fire Warriors can be equipped with Photon Grenades.

Vehicle Armoury

Like Battlesuits, Tau vehicles can be equipped with a variety of upgrades and add-ons. Many of these bear similarities to Battlesuit versions.

  • Blacksun Filter - The vehicle mounted Blacksun Filter is essentially the same as the Battlesuit version, merely larger and optimised for vehicle targetting.
  • Decoy Launchers - Decoy Launchers are mounted near the engines of Tau skimmers and fire clouds of reflective strips and tiny emitter drones to confuse enemy fire and protect the vulnerable thruster arrays.
  • Disruption Pod - A Disruption Pod throws out distorting images of the vehicle in both the visual and magnetic spectra, making it hard to target the vehicle at range.
  • Flechette Discharger - Flechette Dischargers are powerful clusters of reactive charges attached to the hulls of many Tau vehicles. If an enemy approaches the vehicle, they fire off vicious clouds of high velocity flechettes.
  • Gun Drones - Vehicles can have Gun Drones mounted in their front cupolas to act as a secondary weapon system.
  • Landing Gear - Though Tau utilise advanced anti-gravitic technology, Tau vehicles are comonly fitted with basic landing gear in case they should suffer a malfunction.
  • Multi Tracker - The vehicle mounted Multi-Tracker is similar to Battlesuit version, and is combined with advanced stabilisers which enables vehicles to fire more weaponson the move
  • Seeker Missiles - Tau vehicles can be mounted with up to two Seeker Missiles on their hull. Note that these are not controlled by the vehicle, but by other Marker Light operators. The vehicle merely acts as a launch platform.
  • Sensor Spines - Sensor Spines are used to feed data to an advanced ground-following flight control system to allow the vehicle to better navigate dense terrain.
  • Targetting Array - Targetting arrays assist the vehicle gunners' aim by adjusting forthe target's range and speed.
  • Target Lock - Target Locks identify potential targets and plot fire plans to counter them, granting vehicle gunners more choice in targets to engage.

Equipment

Section Pending Clean-up/Deletion as soon as individual pages are created

Tau Drones

Tau Drones are independent, artificially-intelligent robots usually installed with an anti-gravitic propulsion system which are used for a variety of civil and military functions by the Tau Empire. They normally require regular instructions from a Tau to function, although if four or more drones are networked to operate in unison, they become capable of operating independently of their Tau controllers. Drones that are linked to a Drone Controller cease to function if the controlling Tau is killed.

Drones are designed to fulfill a set role. The most common drone designs are:

  • Gun Drone - Gun Drones are armed with a pair of pulse carbines and are the most common drone type used by the Tau Fire Caste. They can accompany any Tau possessing a control device, whether he be in a battlesuit or leading an infantry team. In addition, gun drones are often used as weapons systems for the Devilfish APC and Piranha skimmer.
  • Shield Drone - Shield Drones are assigned to protect elite commanders, along with members of the Ethereal caste. They are equipped with powerful energy shields and are programmed to block weapons fire intended for their controller with their shields. If necessary, the drone will physically intercept the incoming fire.
  • Marker Drone - Marker Drones are equipped with an advanced Networked Marker Light system, and the use of the control device can improve the accuracy of the operator and anyone else in the operator's team.
  • Sniper Drone - Sniper Drones are a recent development for the Third Sphere Expansion. A single Tau equipped with an advanced control and targeting system can utilise up to three Sniper Drones to provide accurate anti-personnel fire. The drones themselves are armed with a Rail Rifle. Sniper Drone Teams are also equipped with the same Stealth Field technology used by Tau Stealthsuits, and this makes the drones and their operator difficult to hit.
  • Heavy Gun Drone - Heavy Gun Drones are larger, more powerful drones armed with a pair of Burst Cannons. Heavy gun drones also have the option of replacing one of their Burst Cannons with a Marker Light.
  • Drone Sentry Turret - Drone Sentry Turrets are air-droppable turrets often used to hold areas ahead of the main Tau advance. They are armed with a variety of Battlesuit weapons, such as Missile Pods and Plasma Rifles.
  • DX-4 Technical Drone DX-4 Technical Drones are used as a standard utility drone but are often employed on battlefields as mechanics or medics.
  • Remora Drone - Remora Drones are unmanned Tau stealth fighters used to attack vulnerable ground targets. They are protected by sophisticated stealth and jamming technology.

Tau Battlesuits

Tau Battlesuits are issued to the more experienced warriors of the Fire Caste. They are exoskeletal suits that give the wearer extra strength, advanced sensors, and armoured protection, as well as the ability to carry heavier weapons into battle. The advanced technology of the Tau allows weapons of incredible power to be mounted on comparatively small chassis – the Battlesuit is no exception. A single Fire Caste pilot is seated inside an armoured cockpit, controlling an swift and agile suit of roughly the same size as a Space Marine Dreadnought. Devastating Plasma rifles, Missile Pods and Fusion Blasters as well as infantry-shredding Burst Cannons and anti-tank Railguns are among the loadouts available to Battlesuits, and many variants have been developed by the Tau scientists of the Earth Caste. All Battlesuits of the same type are given a designation: XV, followed by two digits. The first digit indicates the mass class of the suit: "1" being a complete exoskeletal version of standard Tau body armour, while "8" represents the heaviest available Battlesuits. The second digit indicates the role or status of the particular suit design: "2" marking an experimental design, "5" representing stealth capability, and "8" being heavy fire support. Variations of a suit may be given other numbers as well.

It can be surmised that the following role numbers exist:

  • 1 - Special Systems (modified Battlesuit to include arms such as the Smart Missile System)
  • 9 - Heavy Armour (Note - this maybe a mistake as the Tau use a base-9 numerical system, therefore they do not have a numerical designation for the number 9. It most likely should be marked as XV87, not XV89)

Stealthsuits

The XV15 Stealthsuit and the XV25 Stealthsuit are equipped with Burst Cannons and holographic camouflage, and are capable of equipping a Fusion Blaster in place of the Burst Cannon. Teams of up to six Stealthsuits operate independently of a main Tau force, and are given broad parameters within which to operate. Most Stealth Teams are not normally factored into Tau battle plans, and the appearance of a Stealthsuit-equipped Team can be a surprise to both forces. Stealth Team members are perceived to be eccentric, and are said to delight in employing new and unpredictable tactics.

XV8 Crisis Battlesuit

The mainstay of the Tau's Battlesuit forces, the XV8 Crisis Battlesuits are worn by Fire Caste commanders and Fire Warriors who have proven themselves veterans in battle. Each Crisis suit is capable of mounting up to three powerful weapons, and can be equipped with a variety of support systems, including drone controllers, fire control and targeting systems, or a shield generator. Some of these support systems are built into the suits, some are attached on the outside.

Variants of the XV8 Crisis Battlesuit include:

  • XV-81, which has a Smart Missile System mounted on its back;
  • XV-84, which carries a markerlight;
  • XV-89, which comes equipped with heavier armor.

Crisis Suits are typically deployed in either a team of three, called a Ta'ro'cha by the Tau, or a single suit, called a Monat. As Crisis Suits can be outfitted with a number of different weapons, code names for certain successful configurations have come into use by the Tau (and adopted by Tau players) to quickly describe the configuration of their Crisis teams.

  • Vior'la Crisis Suit Configurations
    • Death Rain - Three Shas'ui all with twin-linked missile pod, drone controller and 2 gun drones.
    • Sun Forge - Three Shas'ui all with twin-linked fusion blaster and shield generator.
    • Burning Eye - Shas'vre and two Shas'ui, all with twin-linked plasma rifle and target lock.
    • Vior'la Monat - Shas'vre, bonded, drone controller and two gun drones, burst cannon, fusion blaster, hard-wired multi-tracker.
    • Fire Spiker - Three Shas'ui all with a fusion blaster, missile pod and target lock.
  • Tau'n Crisis Suit Configurations
    • Brightwind - Shas'vre with burst cannon, plasma rifle, multi-tracker and hard-wired drone controller with two gun drones. One Shas'ui with target lock, fusion blaster and missile pod, one Shas'ui with missile pod, plasma rifle and multi-tracker.
    • Darkfall - Shas'vre with twin-linked missile pods, drone controller with two gun drones and hard-wired blacksun filter. One Shas'ui with shield generator, flamer and drone controller with two gun drones, One Shas'ui with flamer, fusion blaster and drone controller with two shield drones.
  • T'au Crisis Suit Configurations
    • Fireknife - Shas'ui (Team Leader) with plasma rifle, multi-tracker, missile pod, hard-wired drone controller with two gun drones, bonded. Two Shas'ui with plasma rifle, multi-tracker, missile pod, bonded.
    • Blinding Spear - Shas'vre with plasma rifle, burst cannon, multi-tracker, hard-wired drone controller (two gun drones). Two Shas'ui with plasma rifle, burst cannon, multi-tracker.
    • Soul Cleanse(Monat) - One Shas'ui with flamer, fusion blaster, shield generator, hard-wired drone controller with two gun drones.

One special Crisis suit is used by the renegade Tau Fire Caste Commander Farsight. In addition to the Shield Generator and Plasma Rifle it also sports the fabled Dawn Blade, making Farsight both devastating in range and close quarter combat, which is highly unusual for a Tau unit which normally concentrates on ranged combat at the expense of close quarters effectiveness. The Farsight Enclaves are also known to command more Crisis Battlesuits than any other Tau force.

XV-88 Broadside

The most heavily armed Tau warriors on the battlefield, pilots of the XV-88 Broadside Battlesuit have access to a twin-linked railgun system mounted on the suit's back,and a smart missile system or twin-linked plasma rifles on the arms.

  • A variant of the Broadside, the XV-88-2, has a different weapons mounting, moving the railguns further downward to lower the suit's center of gravity, and mounting the secondary weapons on the suit's upper back, over the shoulders. It also has a different styling of its armour, making it look more distinct than the Crisis Suit.

Sources

  • Apocalypse (4th Edition), pg. 158
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, pg. 159
  • Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 19, pg. 9
  • Codex: Tau Empire (3rd Edition), pp. 17-19, 25-26, 27, 30-31
  • Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition), pp. 25-27, 29-30, 35-37, 39-41, 46
  • Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition), pp. 33, 36, 38, 41-46, 47-49, 50-51, 59, 65-69, 72, 100, 102-103
  • Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls (RPG), pp. 123, 142
  • Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pp. 5, 10
  • Deathwatch: Tempest Rising (RPG), pg. 139
  • Farsight Enclaves - A Codex: Tau Empire Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 218, 307
  • Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pp. 58-62
  • Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pp. 77-82
  • Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II, pg. 58
  • Imperial Armour Volume Three -- The Taros Campaign, pg. 158, 162, 166, 170, 173-174, 177, 187, 190, 194, 198, 201, 207-208, 211
  • Warhammer 40,000 Wargear, pg. 26
  • Forge World Website
  • Dawn of War - Dark Crusade (PC Game)
  • Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
  • White Dwarf 285 (AUS), "Chapter Approved - Tau Rail Rifles" by Pete Haines
  • White Dwarf 316 (AUS), "Index Xenos - The Vespid"

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