The Tau Tiger Shark AX-1-0 is a new, experimental variant of the standard Tiger Shark fighter-bomber. The Tiger Shark AX-1-0 is a dedicated ground attack aircraft that carries ferocious firepower, and was developed in response to encounters with the Imperium of Man's Titans and super-heavy tanks. In field tests during the Taros Campaign, the AX-1-0 proved extremely effective at serving as a Titan-buster for the Tau military forces. However, the aircraft is a large and comparatively cumbersome aircraft, and so is always deployed with a fighter escort for its own protection. This is partly due to the AX-1-0's potent weaponry making it a priority target for enemy pilots and anti-aircraft crews.
The Tiger Shark AX-1-0 is a variant of the standard Tiger Shark that replaces its twin-linked Ion Cannons and Drone deployment rack with devastating twin-linked Heavy Railguns. The AX-1-0 variant still retains the twin-linked Missile Pods and ability to launch Seeker Missiles.
It is believed that the AX-1-0 was developed to serve as a response to the threat posed by the largest classes of Imperial Titans. Until the Taros Campaign, the Tau had few weapons capable of stopping the Imperium's greatest war engines, but the Air Caste and the Earth Caste secretly developed the AX-1-0 using the standard Tiger Shark chassis and first fielded it on Taros. During the Imperial breakthrough on Taros at the Iracunda Isthmus, a single Tiger Shark AX-1-0 came in low towards the Imperial force and fired off a salvo of Missiles that overloaded the Void Shield generators of the Warhound-class Titan Advensis Primaris. Shots from the AX-1-0's Heavy Railguns penetrated the centre of the Titan's hull, causing the critically damaged war machine to stagger and fall. Shocked Imperial commanders had thought their mighty combat walkers impervious to all but a Manta's firepower. However, the Tau suddenly possessed a new tactical weapon capable of destroying Titans. The wreckage of the Advensis Primaris in the sands of Taros, its High Princeps Jernay slain by the Titan's agonised screams of pain through its Mind Impulse Unit, was dire proof of the Tau's new Titan-hunting capability. The remaining three Titans present at Taros withdrew rather than face another strafing run from the AX-1-0, especially since their mission to assist the 114th Cadian Shock Troopers in moving to the north had been successfully completed.
Since its first success, the AX-1-0 has seen service with other Tau Air Cadres supporting the Third Sphere Expansion. As yet, the Tiger Shark AX-1-0 has not been encountered in large numbers by the armed forces of the Imperium, and have only been used in special missions against specific hard targets that other Tau weaponry is ill-suited to engaging; such as enemy command and communication bunkers, hardened weapon positions, missile silos, and super heavy vehicles. At least eight of these aircraft were identified during the Tau's raid on Typha IV, the largest deployment of this potent Titan-buster as yet.
The Tiger Shark AX-1-0 is armed with twin-linked Heavy Railguns, as well as twin-linked Missile Pods built into the aircraft's chassis. A Drone intelligence-controlled Burst Cannon is also mounted on each wing to provide extra firepower. The AX-1-0 is also armed with a Networked Marker Light and can be upgraded to launch a payload of up to six Seeker Missiles. Tiger Shark AX-1-0s are also equipped with a Targeting Array to improve accuracy.
The Tiger Shark AX-1-0 was developed by the Tau Air and Earth Castes as a direct response to the Imperium's massive Titan war engines. Since it is a relatively new weapon system that has yet to be fielded in large numbers, it can only be surmised from the deployment of the prototype at Taros that the use of Seeker Missiles to weaken a super-heavy tank or Titan before a finishing blow from the aircraft's Heavy Railguns is delivered is the main tactic the AX-1-0 will use in the future when providing heavy air support to Tau ground forces. However, because the aircraft can be armed with a Seeker Missile array, the aircraft can also provide long-range artillery support to forward Tau Pathfinder Teams carrying out reconnaissance missions. The use of the aircraft's Networked Marker Light system also allows the AX-1-0 to designate its own Seeker Missile targets.
The Tiger Shark AX-1-0 can also be equipped with any of the following Tau vehicle support systems:
- Automated Repair System - Automated Repair Systems consist of dispensers which release tiny maintenance Drones which swarm over damaged weapon and drive systems, repairing them in the midst of battle.
- Advanced Targeting System - An Advanced Targeting System assists the vehicle's gunner by identifying targets of particular value or danger, and plotting fire plans to counter them.
- Blacksun Filter - Blacksun Filters allow the vehicle's gunners to accurately see and target enemies in low-light conditions.
- Decoy Launchers - Decoy Launchers are a form of defensive measure that is mounted near the engines. They are capable of firing clouds of reflective strips and sophisticated electronic decoys, which are combined with flare and chaff launchers to protect the vehicle's thruster arrays from enemy missiles.
- Disruption Pod - Disruption Pods display distorting holographic images in the visual and electromagnetic spectra to make the vehicle harder to target.
- Point Defence Targeting Relay - Designed to provide superior covering fire for nearby Fire Caste units, a Point Defence Targeting Relay automatically targets and engages enemies that try to assault the vehicle or nearby friendly units.
- Sensor Spines - Sensor Spines feed data to an advanced ground-following flight control system. This allows the vehicle to avoid hazardous terrain that could otherwise damage the vehicle's drive systems.
- Titan-Killer Cadre – As the Tau Empire expands across the stars, it quickly adapted its war machines and tactics to counter those of its new enemies. The Tiger Shark AX-1-0 was created to destroy the Titans of the Imperium of Man, a weapon for which the Tau had no equal before. When deployed in elite Titan-Killer Cadres, and trained to target the weak spots of their chosen prey, these new aircraft seek out the most powerful of the enemy's vehicles and destroy them in the name of the Greater Good. A Tau Titan-Killer Cadre will usually consist of 2 or more Tiger Shark AX-1-0s.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus Technical Specifications
|Serial Number:||85673-908461||Main Armament:||Twin-linked Heavy Railguns, Wing-Mounted Missile Pods|
|Designation:||Ground Attack Aircraft|
|Vehicle Codename:||Tiger Shark AX-1-0||Secondary Armament:|
|Vehicle Type:||Atmospheric Aircraft|
|Crew:||2: Pilot and Co-pilot||Traverse:||0°|
|Weight:||26 tonnes (empty)||Elevation:||+0° to -0°|
|Length:||13.2 metres||Ammunition:||12 Missiles, 8000 Rounds|
|Width:||21 metres||Armour Type:||Nano-Crystalline Alloy, Composition Unknown to the Adeptus Mechanicus|
|Max Recorded Speed:||2100 kilometres per hour at 5000 feet; cruising speed 1400 kilometres per hour|
|Summary:||Frontline Combat Aircraft; rearmed AX-1-0 variant replaces Ion Cannons and payload with twin-linked Heavy Railguns|
- Aeronautica Imperialis, pp. 106-109
- Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pg. 60
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse, pg. 78
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pg. 80
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2013), pp. 124, 128
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 121, 198-201
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign (Second Edition), pp. 185-187