Battlesuits are used by the Tau and are one of their most advanced pieces of technology. They incorporate many weapons systems and armour comparable to a Space Marine's and can easily lay down a withering hail of fire to destroy both infantry and vehicles. These Battlesuits have specific roles and abilities within the Tau army.[2a] Among the Tau, they are known as "Her'ex'vre", which translates as "Mantle of the Hero".
The first Battlesuits were used by the Tau during the First Sphere of Expansion, where they were then known as the T-Series, helping capture Tash'var in 576.M39[8b]. The fossil-fuel powered T-Series was quickly replaced by the V-Series, which used Fission Reactors. However radiation poisoning for pilots was still problematic and it was not until later that they became standard in Tau Cadres. The current X-series of Battlesuits are far more advanced than their predecessors, and are considered the elite tip of the spear of the Tau Empire.[8a] Only Fire Warriors who have served as standard troopers (or Shas'la) then passed the Trial by Fire can go on to become Battlesuit pilots.[8c]
Battlesuits are a type of advanced power armour, with the larger models likened by Imperial observers to fast-moving (and infinitely more graceful) Dreadnoughts. They vary in size, from no bigger than a Fire Warrior in standard armour, to being twice as tall as a Space Marine (with the new XV104 Riptide having surpassed even this).. Battlesuits vary in role, from battlefield infiltration to fire support. Battlesuits are designed to be worn by a single Fire Warrior and are packed with advanced weaponry and devices. These include multi-spectrum sensors and scanners useful for detecting hidden enemies and recoil absorption technology which, while not providing the same stability as Terminator Armour, allows for accurate shooting of light weaponry while moving. They also incorporate anti-tampering systems to prevent their use by enemy forces; during the mission to assassinate Commander Brightsword, an Imperial saboteur attempted to pilot a Crisis battlesuit, but upon entering the suit's cockpit was fried to a charred corpse.
Standard nomenclature has these battlesuits categorized by two numbers - the first number denoting which mass class it belongs to, the second its role. For example, in the XV22 Stealth Battlesuit, the first '2' denotes it as a lighter-weight suit, while the second '2' means it is still undergoing field-testing.[2b]
The XV8 Crisis Battlesuit is the standard battlesuit worn by those Fire Warriors who have proven themselves in battle and earned the rank of Shas'ui. Besides the standard battlesuit systems the Crisis suit also incorporates a Jetpack for greater maneuverability and flexibility on the battlefield, while three hard-points allow for a mix of weaponry and wargear.
Stealth Battlesuits, also called Stealthsuits, employ a holographic disruption field to make them hard to spot and target.Like the larger XV8 Battlesuit, the Steath Battlesuits incorporate a Jetpack in their design. Known existing patterns consist of the XV15, XV22, and XV25.
The XV88 Broadside Battlesuit is based on the same chassis as the Crisis Battlesuit. However it exchanges the Jetpack for heavier weapons and armor for the specific role of destroying enemy armour units.
Hazard Close Support Armour
The XV9 'Hazard' Close Support Armour is a new design with the aim of providing a powerful counter-attack to Tau forces as well as a stable weapon platform for the battlefield.
The XV104 Riptide is the largest type of Tau Battlesuit, standing twice as tall as the XV8 series. They are both agile and heavily armed.
Vanguard Void Battlesuit
The XV-46 Vanguard Void Battlesuit are fairly bulky battlesuits but not as large as the Crisis and Broadside Battlesuits. Their primery function is the exploration of derelict starships. There is a more advanced and heavily protected variant of this battlesuit used by Shas'el ranked Tau or higher called XV-46-4 Vanguard Commander Variant Void Battlesuit.
Battlesuits use a wide variety of advanced Tau equipment and support systems.
- 1: Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- 2: Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition)
- 3: For the Emperor (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell, Chapter Six
- 4: Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pg. 171
- 5: Kill Team (Novel) - Last Chancers (Novel Series) by Gavin Thorpe, Ch. Seven, Pg. 508
- 6: The Art of Warhammer 40,000, pg. 243
- 7: Games Workshop
- 8: Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition)
- 9: Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls, pgs. 123-124
- 10: Forge World
- 11: Forge World
- 12: Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos, page 12