"Technology is more than merely the means by which weapons are forged, my student, it is proof that we shall prevail. There is no challenge we cannot overcome, no wisdom we cannot master, no opposition we cannot defeat. One by one, the secrets of the galaxy will become ours, and all the worlds touched by the light of our star will know the joy of the Greater Good. Progress shall be ours, so long as we have the will to seek it."
This page describes the Tau 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.
The Tau Empire uses a variety of advanced weaponry developed by the Earth Caste that are often technologically superior to those of other races. Pulse and Rail Weapons technology are such examples, and can be seen as the "trademark" weapons of the Tau armed forces. However, the Tau Empire also has developed weapons for allied races such as the Kroot and Vespid. Another common feature of Tau technology is its constant adaptation 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. These weapons and devices are special-issue and only given to those experienced commanders who can field-test the weaponry.
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 artificial intelligence (AI) 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
The Dawn Blade is a unique, alien artefact sword wielded by the Tau leader known as Commander Farsight to the Imperium of Man. Farsight was the rebel Tau Commander who founded the separatist Farsight Enclaves on the far side of the Damocles Gulf in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy. He recovered the weapon from the pre-Imperial xenos ruins of the Dead World of Arthas Moloch, wrenching it in desperation from a fallen alien statue to fend off the assault of a Bloodthirster daemon following the incursion of the Forces of Chaos upon that deserted planet. The Dawn Blade is older than even the Imperium of Man, and it was fashioned aeons ago by the strange xenos race that once inhabited the haunted world of its origin. Forged from materials that even the finest Earth Caste minds cannot fathom, its blade is sharp enough to cut through rock and all known forms of infantry and even vehicle armour; and its sculpted surface flickers with unknown energies which paint glittering arcs of destruction as it is swung. Since taking it up on Arthas Moloch, and modifying it for use in battle on his personal XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, it has been Commander Farsight's weapon of choice for close-combat engagements.
An EMP Blaster is an experimental Tau weapon that fires short-ranged rounds which explode in a small blast and generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) upon impact. EMP Blasters are issued exclusively to XV46-4 Vanguard Commander Variant Void Battlesuits. Whilst the weapon's rounds do not physically damage foes, they send out powerful electromagnetic pulses that disable electrical wiring and all kinds of mechanical systems, playing havoc with the internal systems of armour and other vehicles and disabling them temporarily. Sometimes, the EMP effect will even cause catastrophic failure in a system, leading to an explosive reaction for the unfortunate vehicle or robotic construct.
An EMP Grenade is a type of grenade that is sometimes issued to Fire Caste infantry such as Fire Warriors and Pathfinders. EMP Grenades are technological marvels that briefly emit an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) upon detonation, which can overload electronic circuitry, causing anything from minor malfunctions in electronics to fires, complete meltdowns and other critical malfunctions. Whilst EMP Grenades do not physically damage foes, the havoc they play with the internal systems of powered armour and vehicles is enough to at the very least disable them temporarily, or, more often than not, cause some form of catastrophic failure in a system, leading to an explosive reaction for the unfortunate vehicle or robotic construct.
An Equalizer is a Tau close combat weapon that is utilised exclusively by members of the Ethereal Caste. Equalizers are carried in pairs. Similar in appearance to batons, Equalizers serve as badges of an Ethereal's office, and also double as potent self-defence weapons. Each Equalizer contains a powerful disruption field that can shatter armour and bone on impact.
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.
An Honour Blade is a two-handed Tau close combat weapon utilised exclusively by members of the Ethereal Caste. Honour Blades, whilst custom-made to each individual, all consist of a long, broad-bladed halberd mounted on a lightweight metallic shaft. Honour Blades serve as symbols of an Ethereal's office, ceremonial weapons and, in emergencies, weapons of self-defence. Honour Blades are typically used to settle disputes between Ethereal Caste members in highly stylised, bloodless duels that are more coordinated co-meditation than combat. In the hands of an Ethereal, Honour Blades are used in elegant sweeping movements where the blade becomes virtually invisible. Whilst some Ethereals carry their Honour Blade onto the field of battle, they do not expect to have to actually use them, but are nevertheless prepared to make a last stand against their barbaric foes if the situation should require it.
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. Ion Weapons unleash 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 using this power source can be overcharged, which generates 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 capability.
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.
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 Weapon technology in the Tau arsenal. 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 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.
Ionic Discharge Cannon
Ionic Discharge Cannons are large Ion Weapons developed for use by the experimental XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit. Most likely a derivative of the Ion Accelerator, unlike most Ion Weapons the Ionic Discharge Cannon cannot overcharge its shots; instead they emit an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) upon detonation, which can overload electronic circuitry, causing anything from minor malfunctions in electronics to fires. The effects of this can also blind enemy infantry and sensors that are hit.
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.
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.
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 unleashed far greater damage and armour penetration capabilities for the Kroot.
The members of a Kroot Carnivore Squad often favour the use of the Kroot Rifle, which serves 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 Rifles are not only effective ranged weapons, but also effective assault weapons as well.
Kroot Guns are larger calibre versions of the Kroot Rifle. These heavy weapons have the equivalent range and firepower of the 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 were 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 it now has a significantly larger 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 rate of fire with little effort from the crew. The Kroot Bolt Launcher is only found mounted on Great Knarlocs.
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.
A Fusion Blaster is a 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 the mobility gained from their Jetpacks to outflank the enemy and attack the more vulnerable rear and side armour of their targets. Fusion Blasters can also be used to eliminate heavy armoured enemy infantry, as the sheer heat will melt all kinds of armour as well as the wearer.
A Fusion Cannon is a larger version of the Battlesuit-mounted Fusion Blaster, and fire blasts of Melta energy that can penetrate vehicles or eliminate heavy infantry. Currently, it can only be mounted as a variant turret for Hammerhead gunships, and this weapon was first encountered during the Taros Campaign, where it is believed to have been undergoing field-testing. A Fusion Cannon possesses an extended range compared to the Fusion Blaster, and also has a blast radius that allows it to destroy closely-packed groups of enemy vehicles and heavy infantry.
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 its sheer quantity of fire.
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 unleash 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, and are prone to shorting out in the midst of battle. Fusion Blades are a Tau weapons technology employed exclusively by the military forces of the Farsight Enclaves.
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.
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 Fire Caste Cadre's 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 fire more accurately upon targets, be able to see and target enemies in darkness clearly, call in Seeker Missiles on the target 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.
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 wielder to the target and can carry enough punch to destroy lightly armoured vehicles. 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 Tau 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.
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 uses Seeker Missile strikes from roving Sky Rays in place of artillery bombardments.
As with many of the other major starfaring races in the Milky Way Galaxy, the Tau have developed Plasma Weapons technology that is extremely potent against heavily armoured infantry. However, Tau Plasma Weapons do not suffer the drawback of occasionally fatally overheating, unlike the Imperium's more unstable Plasma Weapons. Instead, the Tau favour a form of the technology that forgoes a degree of damage for increased safety levels for the operator, similar to the variant of the technology employed by the Eldar.
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 Weapons 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.
So far, Tau Plasma Cannons have only been 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 Weapons technology as that employed in Plasma Rifles, but are far larger in size. Because of this, they are more powerful and also fire faster. However, the Plasma Cannon sacrifices some of its armour penetration capability, making it similar in damage output to the Ion Cannon.
A Photon Grenade is a type of defensive grenade that all Fire Warriors and Pathfinders are equipped with as standard arms. Photon Grenades are designed to be used in a situation where enemy forces advance too close to a Tau firing line. A Photn Grenade can repel the attackers with a dazzling pulse of multi-spectrum light and a deafening sonic burst. This will often blind and disorient attackers, confusing them and slowing their charge so that the Tau infantry are able to respond with further volleys of lethal firepower. Whilst disc-like Photon Grenades are usually thrown by hand, Pulse Carbines mount underslung Photon Grenade launchers as standard so that the grenades can be used to pin down enemies from a further distance.
Pulse Weapons are a family of advanced Plasma Weapons developed by the Earth Caste of the Tau Empire, and exclusively used by the Tau Fire Caste. Pulse Weapons operate by utilising pulsed induction fields to propel lethal micro-bursts of plasma over long ranges. Pulse Weapons such as the Pulse Rifle and Pulse Carbine are issued as standard arms to every frontline Fire Warrior. Pulse Weapons are notorious amongst many of the starfaring races of the galaxy, for they have a range and damage output that outclasses the standard weapons of every other intelligent species the Tau have yet encountered.
A pistol-sized Pulse Weapon, Pulse Pistols are only used by certain Tau personnel as a basic defence and hold-out weapon unleashed in desperate situations.
Pulse Rifles are the most common form of Pulse Weapon, and are elongated rifles that are utilised as standard weapons by Tau Fire Warriors. Pulse Rifles can be wielded effectively whether the user is stationary or moving, and when compared to a Space Marine Bolter, it fires at a far slower rate but does significantly more damage and possesses a much longer range.
The Pulse Carbine is similar in most respects to a Pulse Rifle, but sacrifices the Pulse Rifle's longer range for greater portability and an underslung Photon Grenade launcher. This allows the weapon to fire a Photon Grenade over a short distance, a capability that is especially useful in close quarters where the weapon can then be used to pin down those enemies affected by the Photon Grenade's flashbang effect.
Longshot Pulse Rifle
A Longshot Pulse Rifle is a variant of the Tau Pulse Rifle, modified specifically for a sniping role. As such, it has a greater range and fires more focused plasma pulses, whilst maintaining a similar rate of fire to its standard counterpart. Lethal weapons capable of sending plasma pulses over great distances, a well-placed shot from a Longshot Pulse Rifle is capable of taking out any target.
Multi-barreled weapons capable of sustaining very 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. Burst Cannons have four barrels and are short-ranged like Pulse Carbines, though this deficiency is offset by the maneuverability of the Tau units commonly armed with them. Long-barrelled Burst Cannons are variants of the standard Burst Cannons usually mounted on Tau aircraft, and possess almost double the range due to their extended barrel lengths.
Heavy Burst Cannon
A Heavy Burst Cannon is a larger variant of the standard Burst Cannon that is only mounted as the primary arm weapon on the experimental XV104 Riptide Battlesuit. A Heavy Burst Cannon possess six large barrels with extended lengths, and is capable of ferocious rates of fire that can mow down enemy hordes with ease. A Heavy Burst Cannon can also draw upon an XV104's Dark Matter Nova Reactor to nova-charge its power, allowing for a devastating hail of pulse rounds that can crack even the toughest of armour with ease.
Pulse Submunitions Rifle
A Pulse Submunitions Rifle is a newly developed form of Pulse Weapon, designed to saturate large areas with plasma pulses at range. Whilst it possesses a slightly shorter range compared to a Pulse Rifle, the scattered nature of its fire allows it to bypass cover more effectively to target fortified enemies. Pulse Submunitions Rifles were first developed as primary Tau Battlesuit weapon systems for the XV9 Hazard Battlesuit to complement its battlefield role as close-ranged fire support, and thus far have not been deployed on any other Tau weapons platforms.
Pulse Submunitions Cannon
Unlike standard Pulse Weapons, these Pulse Submunitions Cannons are powerful weapons that fire clusters of sophisticated micro-submunitions that detonate in close proximity to their target in a storm of separate pulse-discharges, showering a wide area with deadly effect. Larger targets such as bulky infantry, monstrous creatures and vehicles inevitably suffer proportionally greater harm from Pulse Submunitions Cannons as they can be struck with a wave of near-simultaneous detonations, magnifying the blast and ripping them apart. Pulse Submunitions Cannons have an extreme range and generally are used in a heavy long-range fire support role. Pulse Submunitions Cannons are only wielded in pairs by XV107 R'varna Battlesuits, which can also nova-charge the weapon systems via its Dark Matter Nova Reactor and double its rate of fire.
Pulse Bomb Generator
A Pulse Bomb Generator is a primary weapon system for a Sun Shark bomber, and is mounted underneath the aircraft's rear hull. When activated, a Pulse Bomb Generator produces a ball of deadly plasma beneath the aircraft in the course of spinning its generating mechanisms. At the pilot's command, a pulsed electromagentic induction field propels the glaring energy ball towards targets on the battlefield below. Sizzling the air around it, the Pulse Bomb explodes on the ground with an incandescent fury, spreading destruction over a wide radius.
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 intelligent races. It has also been theorised by Imperial scholars 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 Weapons are large Tau ballistic weapons that make use of electromagnetically-induced linear acceleration to fire a projectile at hypersonic speeds. Rail Weapons typically possess an extreme range, and are particularly renowned for their destructive capabilities upon single targets, especially against armoured vehicles or fortifications. Tau Rail Weapons are fearsome weapons and are characterised by their long range, extreme damage and excellent armour penetration capabilities.
A potent weapon, the Rail Rifle makes use of the same technologies as the larger Railgun and Heavy Rail Rifle, albeit on a smaller scale so that it is infantry portable. Possessed of an impressively long range and ability to deal great damage, the Rail Rifle's true strength lies in its armour penetration capabilities. The Rail Rifle's hypersonic projectile is able to punch through even Terminator Armour with ease. As a dedicated elite infantry killer, enemy units that manage to survive a Rail Rifle fusillade often find themselves pinned down, unable to do anything in the face of such deadly fire. The Rail Rifle also proves effective when used against light vehicles. Rail Rifles have only recently been authorised for issue to frontline Tau units, having completed an extensive field-testing phase.
Heavy Rail Rifle
A Heavy Rail Rifle is similar to the larger Railgun, but is slightly smaller so that it can be mounted on a Tau Battlesuit. Whilst this weapon’s range and damage is not as great as its larger cousin, it is still an impressive anti-tank weapon, renowned for its effectiveness at penetrating enemy armour at extreme ranges. The XV88 Broadside Battlesuit is the only Tau unit that is armed with the Heavy Rail Rifle, and the XV88 makes use of it as a twin-linked primary weapons system.
Railguns are renowned for their capability to penetrate enemy armour at extreme ranges. The Railgun is most commonly mounted as a primary weapon on a Hammerhead gunship. Along with standard solid-shot rounds, a Railgun is also able to fire sophisticated submunition rounds, which consist of smaller projectiles that can strike a wide area. Whilst the overall damage imparted on impact with this variant of the Railgun's projectile is less than the standard shot, such submunitions are extremely useful for suppressive area fire against infantry targets.
A Heavy Railgun is a larger version of the standard Railgun and is usually only mounted on the Manta and AX-1-0 variant of the Tiger Shark aircraft. Heavy Railguns fire larger rounds at higher speeds, and these projectiles are fin-stabilised to provide extra lift, and therefore greater range when fired in-atmosphere.
Starship Railgun Batteries
Despite recent Tau advances in superconductor technology, Railgun Batteries mounted on Tau starships are of such enormous size and require such large amounts of energy to fire that they are grouped into batteries and fired one barrel at a time in sequential order, ensuring that the first barrel is loaded and ready before it is charged again. Tau Starship Railgun Batteries are considered comparable in firepower and effectiveness to the batteries of Macrocannons employed by Imperial starships.
Below is a list of all named technologies and Support Systems utilised by the military forces of the Tau Empire.
- Advanced Stabilisation System - An Advanced Stabilisation System is a Tau Battlesuit Support System available exclusively to XV88 Broadside Battlesuits. With this system equipped, all of the Battlesuit’s heavy weapons are upgraded with stabilising gyroscopes that enable them to be brought to bear at speed, even when on the move. As a result, the Advanced Stabilisation System allows its user a high degree of mobility whilst retaining the ability to fire even the heaviest of weapons accurately.
- Advanced Targeting System - An Advanced Targeting System is a Tau Battlesuit Support System available to most types of Tau Battlesuits, as well as a Tau vehicle support system. An Advanced Targeting System is a specialised target acquisition computer that identifies and picks out high-priority targets of value in the midst of battle before plotting efficient fire plans to counter them. With this system, tactically-important enemy figures such as squad leaders, special weapon wielders, and commanders can all be more effectively pinpointed as specific targets for elimination by a Battlesuit pilot or vehicle gunner.
- Automated Repair System - An Automated Repair System is a vehicle support system that consists of numerous dispenser hubs mounted around the vehicle’s hull. If the vehicle’s engine drives or weapon systems become damaged during the course of a battle, the Automated Repair system will automatically release swarms of tiny Maintenance Drones to quickly perform field-repairs and restore the systems to full function in the midst of battle.
- Blacksun Filter - A Blacksun Filter is an advanced optical filtering suite employed by Tau military units that enhances and magnifies a warrior’s low-light vision whilst simultaneously filtering out bright flares of light that could blind the user in battle. With Blacksun Filters, target calibration systems sensors can also lock onto enemies with full efficiency and range even during night-fighting operations. This has proved to be a major advantage for Tau forces in many campaigns, where surprise night attacks can be conducted with full efficiency upon unsuspecting enemy forces. All Tau Battlesuit primary sensor clusters are fitted with Blacksun Filters as standard. Tau skimmers and aircraft can also be upgraded with Blacksun Filter systems as necessary to meet the particular tactical demands of their intended mission.
- Combat Armour - Combat Armour is a form of standard-issue infantry armour worn by all Fire Warriors in battle, and is constructed in two layers. The outer face is a hard, ultra-dense nano-crystalline metal veneer bonded to an inner layer of high performance, thermo-set, molecular polyethene. The outer layer material is known as Fio'tak in the Tau Lexicon, and is commonly used as a form of armour across nearly all types of Tau units due to its lightweight nature and impact-resistant structure. The inner layer of Combat Armour acts as an energy-absorbent padding for energy dispersal, and helps prevent blunt trauma effects from high velocity impacts. The highly advanced materials used in Combat Armour's construction are very resilient to penetration and lightweight compared to more conventional Imperial materials such as plasteel. The construction techniques are unknown to the Imperium as the Adeptus Mechanicus is forbidden from investigating dangerous alien technology by the Ordo Xenos. Standard Fire Warrior Combat Armour usually also features an elongated and thickened left shoulder plate, which acts as an additional protective shield when the Fire Warrior is kneeling to fire a weapon more accurately, exposing his left shoulder to retaliatory fire.
- Command and Control Node - A Command and Control Node is a sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted communications system used by a Tau Commander to communicate more effectively with other Fire Caste warriors around him, and better direct battlefield operations by linking together all nearby Tau targeting computers. Though the sheer amount of information received can seem overwhelming, a Tau Commander who masters the flood of data can better orchestrate the firepower of his forces and drastically improve their accuracy. A Command and Control Node is a signature Support System available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas’vre or higher. The current rarity of this system among deployed Fire Caste units means that its distribution is usually limited to only one per Hunter Cadre.
- Counterfire Defence System - A Counterfire Defence System is a valuable artificial intelligence (AI) sensor suite that was first designed to counter the threat of charging Ork hordes. The system incorporates predictive logic circuits that further enhance Battlesuit targeting systems, ensuring that large groups of assaulting enemies are met with a withering curtain of unerringly accurate firepower. A Counterfire Defence System is a Support System available to most forms of Tau Battlesuit.
- Dark Matter Nova Reactor - A Dark Matter Nova Reactor is an experimental and potent power source developed during the Third Sphere Expansion, and only employed by XV104 Riptide and XV107 R'varna Battlesuits. The Dark Matter Nova Reactor is an experimental power-pack that fuses exotic dark matter, producing an energy output that can rival that of a small star. Such devices have been used to power the mighty void fleets of the Air Caste, but until recently, the technology could not be reduced to a suitable size for use on smaller vehicles. Although still in the prototype stage, the Nova Reactor has proven largely stable, despite some problems in safely releasing the vast energies it produces. Both the XV104 and XV107's higher functions can draw upon this almost unlimited source of power when the reactor is activated, but not without some risk. While attempting to utilise it, the Battlesuit can suffer dangerous power vents capable of wounding or even killing its pilot. That a pilot willingly risks using the Nova Reactor -- even through the radiation may kill him -- highlights his heroic self-sacrifice and the nobility of the Greater Good.
- Darkstar Warhead - A Darkstar Warhead is a neutron warhead incorporated into specialised missiles that can be fired from Tau starships. Darkstar Warheads are often used to aid in large-scale planetary assaults, and are fired directly onto battlefields. Once they have detonated, the neutron pulses from this warhead destroy all biological matter in an extremely large area around them, whilst leaving inorganic material unharmed. The warhead will continue to pulse these energies outwards for a significant amount of time after they have first detonated. The Darkstar Warhead is an ideal weapon to use when it is important to conserve a target planet's resources for the Greater Good, but the home population will not submit.
- Decoy Launchers - Decoy Launchers are a form of vehicle support system that is mounted near the engines of Tau vehicles. When triggered, they fire clouds of reflective strips, sophisticated electronic decoys, flares, chaff and tiny Emitter Drones to protect the vulnerable thruster arrays, although they are also extremely effective at protecting the vehicle from enemy missiles.
- Disruption Pod - A Disruption Pod is a vehicle support system that throws out distorting images in both the visual and magnetic spectra, making the vehicle hard to target at range. This effect can be combined effectively with the use of cover, making the hidden vehicle extremely difficult to hit.
- Drone Controller - A Drone Controller is an electronic device that is used by the Tau to control their robotic Tau Drones, as it acts as a hub of digital communications between the operator and any Drones that are nearby the user. Through this connection, it serves as an advanced interface between the operator and the artificial intelligence (AI) combat programs of the Drones, and is used to direct the Drones’ firepower far more efficiently and with a level of accuracy far greater than would otherwise be possible on the battlefield. A Drone Controller is a Tau technology most commonly employed by a variety of Tau units, whether it is in the form of a Support System for a Tau Battlesuit, or a hard-wired piece of wargear for Tau infantry or Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas'vre or higher.
- Early Warning Override - An Early Warning Override is an advanced sensor suite that has been calibrated to detect the electronic signatures of teleport beams and orbital-entry jump systems. If such a signal is detected, the system jolts a Tau Battlesuit's weapons to lock-on status and firing before the target has a chance to react. This Support System is available to most forms of Tau Battlesuit.
- Earth Caste Pilot Array - An Earth Caste Pilot Array is a Farsight Enclave-exclusive modification of the Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit intended to accommodate an Earth Caste member as its pilot. Whilst the Earth Caste's squat and muscular physiology makes them ill-fitting pilots for the Tau Battlesuits they are famed for creating, in the Farsight Enclaves it is not unheard of for an Earth Caste Pilot Array to be fitted to a Riptide Battlesuit in order to grant rare individuals the honour of donning the "Hero’s Mantle." Earth Caste pilots are naturally able to judge a Battlesuit's accuracy and energy tolerances far better than their Fire Caste equivalent, and are able to activate an XV104's Dark Matter Nova Reactor with a greatly decreased chance of dangerous radiation feedback. However, an Earth Caste pilot's skill in close quarters combat nevertheless leaves much to be desired.
- "Eclipse" Shield Generator - The "Eclipse" Shield Generator is an experimental variant of a Shield Generator whose prototype is only wielded by Shas'O Vesu'r R'alai. His "Eclipse" Shield Generator exerts a drain on O'Ralai's XV9 Hazard Battlesuit power capacity, but is able to project a potent defensive energy barrier that is capable of diffracting light much in the same manner as a Stealthsuit's stealth field generator, making the Commander harder to target at long range.
- Ejection System - An Ejection System provides a Tau Battlesuit pilot a chance of escaping catastrophic damage to his Battlesuit by throwing him clear of its imminent destruction. Once ejected, the Battlesuit pilot is armed with nothing more than a Pulse Pistol and has to make his own escape from the battlefield. Often used by those Tau Commanders who lead from the front but are considered too valuable to the Tau Empire to die, Ejection Systems are a special-issue system only available to lone XV8 Crisis Battlesuit pilots (Monat) of the rank of Shas’vre or higher. The current rarity of this system among deployed Fire Caste units means that its distribution is usually limited to only one per Hunter Cadre. It is of note that all XV46 Vanguard Void Battlesuits are also fitted with a variant of an Ejection System as standard, one that deploys an escape pod programmed to return the pilot back to the boarding craft which delivered him to the battlefield upon the Battlesuit’s destruction.
- Energy Shield - An Energy Shield, also known as a Deflector Shield, is an especially large Shield Generator most commonly fitted onto the larger Tau aircraft and spacecraft like the Manta. Strike-modified Orca transports utilised exclusively by XV9 Hazard Battlesuit Swift Protector Wings are also fitted with an Energy Shield. A Deflector Shield is formed by shaping a gravitic field to repel incoming fire. A Deflector Shield does not stop incoming projectiles, but rather its gravitic profile has been shaped and positioned in such a way as to deflect incoming fire. A Deflector Shield's strength grows in proportion to the energy of the assault made against it. Deflector Shields mounted on the prow of some Tau starships work slightly differently, as they shape a vessel's gravitic sheath into a dense wedge which is most effective against incoming fire from the front.
- Ether Drive - An Ether Drive is a Tau spacecraft drive that allows for faster-than-light travel through the boundary between realspace and the Warp. Unlike an Imperial Warp-Drive, which allows a starship to fully enter and navigate through the Warp to achieve apparent superluminal speeds and reduced travel times in realspace, the Tau Ether Drive only allows a starship to make a brief "dive" into Warpspace. While a Tau starship outfitted with an Ether Drive can still achieve apparent superluminal velocities from the perspective of realspace, interstellar travel using this technology is far slower than conventional Warp travel. Despite the Tau’s lack of psykers, and their lack of understanding of the true nature of the Empyrean, the Earth Caste have nevertheless developed an effective drive system that is sufficient to suit the needs of the rapidly expanding Tau Empire.
- Failsafe Detonator - A Failsafe Detonator is a powerful explosive device that causes the bearer's Tau Battlesuit to self-destruct in a lethal explosion. This technology was developed to be used in only the most dire of circumstances and was intended to serve as the ultimate expression of the doctrine of the Greater Good. With the pilot's sacrifice, he buys the rest of his squadmates time to withdraw and regroup in the face of overwhelming enemy forces. A Failsafe Detonator is a signature Support System available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas'vre or higher. However, the current rarity of this system among deployed Fire Caste units means that its distribution is usually limited to one per Hunter Cadre.
- Fio'tak - Fio'tak is a hard, ultra-dense, nano-crystalline metal alloy developed by the Earth Caste of the Tau Empire for a variety of applications. Fio'tak is most commonly utilised as the primary constituent of vehicle, aircraft and infantry armour plating. Fio'tak is very resilient to penetration by kinetic strikes or directed energy due to its impact-resistant structure. This material is highly resistant to corrosion by various toxins and other environmental influences and is more lightweight than conventional Imperial materials which serve a similar structural function such as plasteel. When it comes to damage deflection and mitigation, Fio'tak is comparable to the ceramite used in Space Marine Power Armour, but weighs substantially less on a per unit basis. Fio'tak alloy variants are used by the Tau in a variety of applications, including in infantry armour such as Combat Armour and Recon Armour, Tau skimmer and aircraft vehicle armour, Tau Drones, Tau structures, and the armour of Tau Battlesuits. Battlesuit armour employing Fio'tak is shaped to deflect solid shot, and also has a liquid metal coating that reflects medium-grade laser fire. In some cases, such as that of the XV88 Broadside and XV104 Riptide Battlesuits, additional nano-layers of the material are added to upgrade the armour's thickness so that the protection it offers is even comparable to that of Tactical Dreadnought Armour. The techniques employed in the fabrication of Fio'tak are currently unknown to the Imperium of Man as the Adeptus Mechanicus is officially forbidden from investigating dangerous alien technology by order of the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos.
- Flechette Discharger - A Flechette Discharger is a vehicle support system that consists of powerful clusters of reactive charges attached to the prow of the vehicle. If an enemy moves into close proximity of the vehicle, the dischargers automatically fire off clouds of high velocity flechettes which often prove to be lethal against the would-be attacker.
- Flechette Dispersal Pods are a variant of the vehicle mounted Flechette Discharger, and are equipped on XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuits. Flechette Dispersal Pods differ in that they can be triggered to fire at nearby enemies by the Battlesuit pilot, even if they are not actively assaulting the XV109 .
- Gravity Wave Projector - A Gravity Wave Projector is a piece of technology developed during the Third Sphere Expansion, and is only ever found carried by Grav-Inhibitor Drones that have been deployed as part of Pathfinder reconnaissance teams A Gravity Wave Projector is a defensive measure that can emit a high-powered graviton wave which repulses nearby enemies, slowing their advance to a crawl or halting them in their tracks altogether. This allows Pathfinder Teams to move out of the way of an enemy assault and take the time to react to the assault in the most efficient manner.
- Homing Beacon - A Homing Beacon is a multi-spectrum Tau homing device that, when placed and activated, allows a Hunter Cadre’s Tau Battlesuit reinforcements to deploy with pinpoint precision in the immediate area. Homing Beacons are usually only issued to XV25 Stealthsuit pilots with the rank of Shas’vre, Ethereals, and Recon Drones.
- Icefire Warhead - An Icefire Warhead is an electromagnetic pulse weapon that can be incorporated into specialised missiles fired from orbiting Tau starships. Icefire Warheads are used to aid large-scale planetary assaults, and are fired directly onto battlefields. Once they have detonated amidst the enemy, the Icefire Warhead will disable all surrounding technologies with crippling electromagnetic pulses, sometimes resulting in catrostrophic consequences for the affected technology or vehicles. These warheads continue to emit their electromagnetic pulse outwards for a significant amount of time after they have detonated.
- Iridium Armour - Iridium Armour is a Tau Battlesuit wargear upgrade that fits a Battlesuit with additional protection in the form of iridium armour plates across its surface. Iridium Armour significantly increases the resilience of the Battlesuit's external armour to the point where it can shrug off all but the heaviest firepower. This enhanced protection comes at the cost of a decrease in manoeuvrability due to the armour's increased weight impeding the function of the Battlesuit's Jetpack. Iridium Armour is an upgrade only available to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas'vre or higher, and its rarity means that its distribution is usually limited to only one per Hunter Cadre. However, further refinements of the upgrade's technologies resulted in the development of the XV89 Crisis Battlesuit variant that was specifically designed to be fitted with Iridium Armour. However, inherent weight problems in its design caused production to slow, and eventually the prototype XV8-02 Crisis "Iridium" Battlesuit was developed. With this new variant of the XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, Iridium Armour is no longer an available Battlesuit upgrade.
- Jetpack - A Jetpack is a man-portable powered flight device that enables the user to hover and rapidly move through the air. Jetpacks grant great mobility and manoeuvrability to their bearers. Jetpacks offer a more controlled flight than Jump Packs, and are designed to provide stable firing platforms rather than a rapid means of entering close combat.
- Marker Beacon - A Marker Beacon is a vehicle system that consists of enhanced optical processors and long-range communicators. With a Marker Beacon, a vehicle can accurately guide the deployment of Battlesuit-equipped warriors dropping into battle from transports far overhead. Devilfish assigned to Pathfinder scout teams are sometimes fitted with Marker Beacon systems, whilst all Tetras have one as standard gear.
- Mor'tonium - Mor'tonium is a highly-radioactive alloy discovered and manufactured by the Tau primarily to power their Ion Weapons. A fairly recent discovery, Mor'tonium rapidly decays upon exposure to air and releases extremely large numbers of ion particles in the process. Tau Ion Weapons can use this property to overcharge their shots which makes them far more powerful, simply by exposing their power source to the atmosphere.
- Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite - A Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite is an advanced prototype sensor system available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas’vre or higher that can scan all known electromagnetic spectral bands to locate stealth-cloaked enemies. The system then relays this information back to the targeting computers of the squad members. A Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite is a signature Battlesuit support system that represents the pinnacle of Tau sensor technology. With the information provided by this sensor suite, the user’s squad can then direct their firepower to bypass virtually all forms of cover and more effectively strike at their enemies. However, the current rarity of this signature system within the Fire Caste means that its distribution is usually limited to only one per Hunter Cadre.
- Multi-Tracker - A Multi-Tracker is a sophisticated fire control system mounted in a sensor node. Infantry and Battlesuit versions of the Multi-Tracker aid the user by coordinating the firing of multiple weapon systems simultaneously, thus allowing the bearer to make full use of their wide armament and become more formidable opponents in a wide variety of battle conditions. Vehicle-mounted versions of a Multi-Tracker allow the vehicle's weapons to be fired more effectively and with more accuracy when on the move. All Battlesuits are equipped with a Multi-Tracker system as standard, whilst certain Fire Caste infantry may also be found with hard-wired versions of the system. Tau skimmer vehicles can also be upgraded with Multi-Trackers as additional support systems.
- MV52 Shield Generator - An MV52 Shield Generator is an experimental variant of the standard Shield Generator currently fitted only on specialised MV52 Shield Drones. It is able to project the most potent energy shields of any type of Tau Shield Generator. During the Battle of Mu’gulath Bay, an MV52 Shield Drone was easily able to shrug off a single Battle Cannon shell that would have otherwise found its mark.
- Commander Longknife's Variant Shield Generator – Commander Longknife carries an experimental variant of a Shield Generator, which possesses a larger ablative shield and improved protective qualities against enemies in close combat.
- Neuroweb System Jammer - Developed in the Tau’s quest to seek mastery over not only their own technology, but also over that of the other starfaring races, a Neuroweb System Jammer is a device capable of broadcasting a jamming field that interferes with enemy weapon systems, causing critical, and sometimes explosive malfunctions. A Neuroweb System Jammer is a Tau Battlesuit signature Support System available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas’vre or higher. However, the rarity of this system means that its distribution is usually limited to only one per Hunter Cadre.
- Onager Gauntlet - An Onager Gauntlet, also known as a Fist of Dal’ryu, is an experimental Tau Battlesuit close combat weapon intended to destroy enemy armour. An Onager Gauntlet takes on the appearance of giant gauntlets, each shimmering with an immense payload of potential energy, intended to allow XV8 Crisis Battlesuits to remain effective against the armoured companies of the Imperial Guard in extended operations where ammunition reserves could run low. An Onager Gauntlet is a Tau Battlesuit signature Support System available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank Shas’vre or higher. Armed with the Onager Gauntlet, a Battlesuit could punch a hole through the side of an Imperial main battle tank and rip out its power core with ease. Of the twelve original Onager Gauntlets utilised during the Battle of Blackthunder Mesa, only one was recovered from Commander Bravestorm’s critically damaged Battlesuit, which was surrounded by the smoking wrecks of over a dozen Imperial armoured vehicles. Onager Gauntlets were first developed and utilised during the Damocles Gulf Crusade via a personal commission to the Earth Caste from Commander Farsight. During the Tau Empire’s Third Sphere Expansion, Onager Gauntlets became more widely available to the forces of the Tau Fire Caste. However, the rarity of this weapon means that its distribution is usually limited to only one set per Hunter Cadre.
- Photon Caster - A Photon Caster is a defensive technology that all XV9 Hazard Battlesuits have mounted upon their forward knee armour. Operating in a similar fashion to Photon Grenades, Photon Casters are designed to be used in the situation that enemy forces advance too close to the Battlesuit, and repel attackers with a dazzling pulse of multi-spectrum light and a deafening sonic burst. This will often blind and disorient attackers, confusing them and slowing their charge so that the Battlesuit is able to respond with further volleys of lethal firepower.
- Point Defence Targeting Relay - A Point Defence Targeting Relay is a vehicle support system that aids a Tau skimmer’s forward cupola-mounted secondary weapon systems. During battle, a Point Defence Relay will automatically target and engage enemies that try to assault the vehicle and/or nearby friendly troops, thus providing superior covering fire for nearby Fire Caste units.
- Positional Relay - A Positional Relay is a sophisticated device that actively records detailed battlefield data before relaying it in a tight-band, encrypted burst to Tau assets in orbit, allowing them to better coordinate forces operating in strategic reserve. The Positional Relay is a Tau Battlesuit Support System available to most forms of Battlesuit. Whilst the Positional Relay system is now a commonly available Support System for use, when first introduced, it was special-issue and entrusted only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas’vre or higher. The previous rarity of the system also meant that its distribution was limited to only one per Hunter Cadre, although this has since changed.
- Pulse Accelerator - A Pulse Accelerator is a device that emits a powerful induction field, which can accelerate the charges of nearby Pulse Weapons, thus increasing their effective range. This allows Pathfinder Teams to engage enemies more effectively from a longer range with their Pulse Carbines. The Pulse Accelerator was developed during the Third Sphere Expansion, and is only ever found carried by Pulse Accelerator Drones that have been deployed as part of Pathfinder reconnaissance teams.
- Puretide Engram Neurochip - A Puretide Engram Neurochip consists of a Tau bio-chip that has been surgically implanted into the brain of a Fire Caste Tau Commander, and allows the bearer to access much of the wisdom of Commander Puretide himself. He or she is able to draw upon a great reservoir of tactical acumen when needed through the data contained on the chip. Puretide Engram Neurochips were developed from prototype versions knows as Swords of Puretide, and are a result of a project that originated with the Tau's unwillingness to lose Commander Puretide's tactical and strategic brilliance when he succumbed to old age, as he was undoubtedly the most gifted Tau Commander of all time. Upon his death, Puretide's mind was scanned and his accumulated memories committed to a massive hologram program on his birth world of Dal'yth. Slivers of his genius were then copied and crafted into bio-chips that would one day become Puretide Engram Neurochips. The Puretide Engram Neurochip is considered a Tau Battlesuit signature Support System available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas’vre or higher.
- Recon Armour - Recon Armour is a form of Tau infantry armour that is a variant of the Combat Armour worn by all Fire Warriors in battle. Recon Armour lacks several of the reinforced layers and armoured plates of Combat Armour, trading a degree of protection for greater freedom of movement. Recon Armour is most commonly utilised by Tau Pathfinders as it is more suited to their role as forward scouts. Recon Armour is constructed in two layers. The outer face is a hard, ultra-dense nano-crystalline metal veneer bonded to an inner layer of high performance, thermo-set, molecular polyethene. The outer layer material is known as Fio'tak in the Tau Lexicon, and is commonly used as a form of armour across nearly all Tau units due to its lightweight nature and impact-resistant structure. The inner layer of Recon Armour acts as an energy-absorbent padding for energy dispersal, and helps prevent blunt trauma effects from high-velocity impacts. The highly advanced materials used in Recon Armour's construction are very resilient to penetration and lightweight compared to more conventional Imperial materials such as plasteel. Additionally, the nanocular-thread fatigues worn beneath Recon Armour by a Fire Warrior are interwoven with sound-absorbing fibres to aid in avoiding detection. The techniques used in the fabrication of Recon Armour are unknown to the Imperium as the Adeptus Mechanicus is forbidden from investigating dangerous alien technology by the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos.
- Repulsor Impact Field - A Repulsor Impact Field is a device capable of unleashing a shockwave of force that can slam into the foe with devastating results. The technologies used in the Repulsor Impact Field were the result of decades of Tau attempts to reverse-engineer tractor beam technology recovered from Ork wrecks. Whilst the Earth Caste’s attempts to decipher its workings have largely proven futile -- in no small part due to the complete lack of logical, uniform construction employed by Greenskins -- the sum total of Tau ingenuity has so far managed to produce a few functioning Repulsor Impact Field systems. Field-testing has proven them to be devastating weapons capable of emitting shock waves of gravitic energy that smash into assaulting foes with immense lethal force. The Repulsor Impact Field is a Tau Battlesuit signature Support System available only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas’vre or higher.
- Ravelin Shield Generator - The Ravelin Shield Generator provides similar defensive properties to an XV104's Riptide Shield Generator, except the Ravelin provides better protection against close-ranged firepower and close-combat attacks.
- Riptide Shield Generator - A Riptide Shield Generator is an especially large Shield Generator that has been fitted into an XV104 Riptide Battlesuit's ablative shield. Whilst it provides a lesser degree of protection than a normal Shield Generator, it can harness the energy from a Riptide's Dark Matter Nova Reactor to supercharge itself, making the shield near-impervious to enemy attacks.
- Seismic Fibrillator Node - A Seismic Fibrillator Node is a potent disc-shaped device which, when activated, emits resonant frequencies of such power that they cause localised seismic tremors. When the device is used correctly, these tremors can be greatly magnified and last for an extended period of time. Developed by the Earth Caste scientist O'Vesa at the personal request of Commander Farsight, Seismic Fibrillator Nodes were used to defend the Farsight Enclaves against the assault of WAAAGH! Grog. Upon the watery world of Salash'hei, Seismic Fibrillator Nodes placed on the ocean floor to awake the wrath of the world’s oceanic vents caused tsunamis of such immense size that an entire Ork navy was wiped out. Seismic Fibrillator Nodes were also used during the defence of Lub'grahl when a clutch of them where dropped into B'oghal, the Great Abyss. Before the hour was out, every one of the delicate rock spires that covered the world collapsed, burying all of the invading Ork hordes under forty metres of rock.
- Sensor Spines - Sensor Spines are a Tau vehicle support system that consists of several highly-sensitive antennae mounted on the prow of the vehicle. These Sensor Spines aid the vehicle by feeding data to an advanced ground-following flight control system, thus plotting safe courses through treacherous terrain and avoiding traps or mines that might lie hidden out of sight.
- Shield Generator - A Shield Generator is a Tau defensive technology that projects a cohesive energy field around its bearer, protecting him from assaults that might otherwise slay him outright. Shield Generators are employed at varying scales, from infantry-portable versions to the shields that protect Tau starships.
- Stimulant Injector - A Stimulant Injector system consists of an advanced life support system fitted within a Tau Battlesuit, and is able to flood the pilot's metabolic systems with life-sustaining stimulants and analgesic drugs should be become wounded so that he may continue to fight on at full effectiveness. A Stimulant Injector is a Tau Battlesuit Support System available to most forms of Tau Battlesuit. Whilst Stimulant Injector systems are now a commonly available Support System for use, when first introduced they was special-issue and entrusted only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas'vre or higher. The previous rarity of the system also meant that its distribution was limited to only one per Hunter Cadre, although this has since changed.
- Structural Analyser - The Structural Analyser is a unique, prototype Tau signature support system only used by the Pathfinder known as Darkstrider. This device, worn over the eye, utilises a newly-developed form of sensor located in the backpack of Darkstrider's armour that scans for the critical weak points in enemy armour, before feeding this information back into the targeting computers of Darkstrider and the Pathfinder Team he leads.
- Sunburst Bombardment - A Sunburst Bombardment is a Tau military tactic that can be performed by orbiting Tau starships to aid friendly ground forces engaged in a difficult combat against a world's defenders. Sunburst Bombardments are often used to aid large-scale planetary assaults during the intial planetstrike. When the command is given, the skies over the target world flash with blinding white as the Tau launch a massive onslaught of Lumina Flares at the foe, saturating and confusing any automated defensive Auspexes or tracking stations with the light. The shadow-haunted battlefield is illuminated starkly, each enemy stronghold now a glimmering beacon for the Tau forces' concentrated fire.
- Sword of Puretide - A Sword of Puretide is a prototype Tau neurochip that served as the predecessor of what would become the Puretide Engram Neurochip. Developed during the midst of the Damocles Gulf Crusade by the Earth Caste at the request of the Ethereals, these experimental neurochip prototypes contained the recorded military strategies of the great Tau military leader Commander Puretide. During the war, these "Swords of Puretide", as they came to be known, were surgically implanted into the minds of many Cadre Fireblades and Tau Commanders, allowing them to function as great military leaders that thought alike and could adapt to nearly any situation. Implanted commanders enjoyed great success when facing off against rank and file Imperial troops, but suffered when the Imperium brought forth its psykers to battle. Once implanted with a Sword of Puretide neurochip, a commander could not draw upon any of their own previous strategic knowledge. This caused many to falter badly in the face of the psyker threat, with the confusion costing hundreds of lives as the minds of the Tau leaders struggled to respond. After the war, all of the Puretide engrams were forcibly removed from the minds of those who had been implanted with them. These invasive procedures left those who were operated on as drooling and pliant simpletons, a sad loss to the Tau Empire, but such was the painful cost of victory in the eyes of the Water Caste. A notable exception to this was Commander Shas'vastos, a close friend of Commander Farsight’s, who was hidden away before his scheduled engram removal; thus becoming the sole survivor of the Sword of Puretide program. Whilst the prototype neurochip suffered rapid degeneration quickly thereafter, the commander was secreted away in stasis until the Farsight Enclaves Earth Caste scientist O'Vesa found a cure many decades later by recalibrating the neurochip and allowing the warrior to be safely awoken.
- Talisman of Arthas Moloch - A Talisman of Arthas Moloch is a form of rare artefact found on the Dead World of Arthas Moloch by the forces of Commander Farsight. These hexagrammatic talismans were discovered hanging upon great robed statues during the Tau forces' combat against Chaos Daemons on that world. A Talisman of Arthas Moloch possesses strange properties that cause Warp-spawned creatures and psychic powers to falter before it. Whilst the Farsight Enclaves now possess several of these talismans and use them in battle, neither Commander Farsight nor his advisors have the faintest idea of how they work.
- Target Lock - A Target Lock is a sophisticated target acquisition system. Infantry and Battlesuit versions of the Target Lock aid the user by identifying potential targets and plotting fire plans to counter them, thus allowing the bearer to target a different enemy unit from that engaged by the rest of his squad. A vehicle-mounted version of the Target Lock performs a similar role, except it allows different vehicle gunners within the same vehicle to more effectively engage multiple targets simultaneously. A Target Lock is a form of Tau Battlesuit Support System, though certain Fire Caste infantry and Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas'vre or higher may also be found with hard-wired versions of the system. This is particularly true for those who are equipped with Marker Lights so that they may designate priority targets whilst their squad provides covering fire. Tau skimmer vehicles can also be upgraded with a Target Lock as an additional support system.
- Targeting Array - A Targeting Array is a sophisticated computerised target acquisition system that assists the aim of the user by adjusting for the target’s range and speed, improving overall weapon accuracy. Primarily deployed as a Tau vehicle support system to assist the aim of the vehicle's gunners, a new application of Targeting Array technology has allowed it to be used as a Tau Battlesuit Support System.
- Unified Targeting Matrix - A Unified Targeting Matrix is a Tau Battlesuit Support System used to coordinate special formations of XV88 Broadside Battlesuits known as Broadside Destructor Phalanxes. Only issued to the formation's attached Tau Commander with the rank of Shas'el, a Unified Targeting Matrix allows for the combined fire of the formation’s Heavy Rail Rifles to demolish even the most heavily armoured target with ease.
- Vectored Retro-Thrusters - Vectored Retro-Thrusters provide enhanced manoeuvrability to Tau Battlesuits outfitted with a Jetpack. Vectored Retro-Thrusters are a Battlesuit Support System available to most forms of Tau Battlesuit, with the exception of those that do not possess a Jetpack such as the XV88 Broadside Battlesuit, and those such as the XV104 Riptide Battlesuit which cannot use the system due to their immense bulk. Battlesuits equipped with Vectored Retro-Thrusters possess additional thruster nozzles for their Jetpack, granting them a high degree of manoeuvrability that is useful in escaping enemies which have engaged them in close combat. Whilst Vectored Retro-Thrusters are now a commonly available Support System for use, when first introduced, they was special-issue and entrusted only to Battlesuit pilots of the rank of Shas'vre or higher. The previous rarity of the system also meant that its distribution was limited to only one per Hunter Cadre, although this has since changed.
- Vectored Thruster Array - A Vectored Thruster Array is a new application of Vectored Retro-Thruster technology to the larger XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit that augments the chassis' own Jetpack to further increase the manoeuvrability of the Battlesuit, allowing it to make huge bounds across battlefields in order to reach its target, leap high into the atmosphere so as to redeploy elsewhere, or boost out of close combat with assaulting foes.
- Velocity Tracker - A Velocity Tracker is an advanced sensor suite that consists of sophisticated motion detecting and heat-seeking sensor systems designed to track the movements of airborne targets such as enemy aircraft. With a Velocity Tracker system, the bearer can accurately bring his weapons to bear on otherwise hard-to-hit, high-flying targets before blowing them out of the sky. A Velocity Tracker is a Support System available to most forms of Tau Battlesuit, although certain Tau skimmers such as the Skyray also make use of vehicle-mounted versions.
- Apocalypse (4th Edition), pg. 158
- Apocalypse (6th Edition), pp. 181-182
- Apocalypse Reload, pg. 68
- Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, pp. 96, 98
- Battlefleet Gothic: 2010 Compendium, pg. 159
- Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 19, pg. 9
- Chapter Approved 2004, pg. 46
- Codex: Tau Empire (3rd Edition), pp. 16-20, 25-26, 27, 30-31
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition), pp. 16, 25-31, 35-38, 39-41, 46
- Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition), pp. 28, 33, 36-38, 40-49, 50-51, 54, 59, 63, 65-70, 72-73, 100, 102-103
- Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls (RPG), pp. 123-124, 142, 365
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 366
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pp. 5-6, 10, 12, 26-27, 193
- Deathwatch: Tempest Rising (RPG), pg. 139
- Farsight Enclaves - A Codex: Tau Empire Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 113-118, 120-121, 129-130, 169-170, 187-188, 193-194, 218, 230, 245, 250-251, 304-305, 307-309, 320
- Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pp. 58-64
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pp. 77-82, 84
- Imperial Armour - Apocalypse 2, pg. 58-60
- Imperial Armour Volume Three -- The Taros Campaign, pp. 68, 80-81, 141, 158-159, 162, 166, 170, 172-175, 177-178, 187, 190-191, 194-195, 198, 201, 207-208, 211, 282-284, 287
- Planetstrike, pg. 45
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 121
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Rail Rifles (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 62
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear, pg. 26, 46, 49
- Forge World Website
- Shas'O R'myr Experimental Rules
- Forge World – XV107 R'varna Battlesuit Experimental Rules Datasheet
- Forge World – XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit Experimental Rules Datasheet
- Fire Warrior (Novel), by Simon Spurrier
- 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"