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Battlesuit size comparison[8d]
Battlesuit Shas'vre Pilot[17]

Battlesuits (termed Her'ex'vre in the T'au Lexicon, meaning "Mantle of the Hero") are bipedal mobile armored platforms used by the Tau. They incorporate many weapons, advanced armour, and a variety of systems, allowing them to fulfill many specific roles within the Tau military.[1][2a][12]


Battlesuits are a type of advanced power armour, with the larger models likened by Imperial observers to fast-moving (and infinitely more graceful) Dreadnoughts.[3] 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).[3]. Battlesuits vary in role, from battlefield infiltration to fire support. Most are designed to be worn by a single Fire Warrior and are packed with advanced weaponry and devices, including 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.[1]

Modern Battlesuits are equipped with dense nanocrystalline alloy armor with liquid metal coatings, which while providing superior durability and protection to internal systems is also light enough to avoid unnecessary encumbrance. Damage to armor and internals can be transmitted to the pilot's nervous system as sympathetic pain via the inner cocoon, though only ever at level sufficient to inform pilots and never intense enough to distract.[16][18]

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] Anti-tampering systems are present to to prevent their use by unauthorized pilots, enemy or otherwise; 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.[5]

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 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]

Battlesuit Classification

Every piece of Tau wargear has a unique identification code detailing its size, design and battlefield role. Battlesuits are given the classification XV followed by a numerical code to denote their mass class (size) and their evolution in the design process. The XV88 Broadside Battlesuit, for example, is a mass class 8 suit, and the eighth variation of the XV8 Crisis Battlesuit. The much larger XV104 Riptide is in the tenth mass class, while the 4 in its classification indicates that it is in the final stages of field testing.[15] Battlesuits can also have a sub-designation of the standard suit, indicating a small alteration on the generic version of the suit, but without a specific battlefield role. For example, the XV8-05 "Enforcer" armour is an enhanced version of the Crisis suit, as opposed to an XV85, which would indicate a mass class 8 stealth suit.

Pilot Battlesuit

Main article: XV02 Pilot Battlesuit
A pilot battlesuit.

The XV02 Pilot Battlesuit is an small battlesuit intended to be worn by Tau vehicle pilots. Currently it is in trials, with Longstrike as a test subject.[7] Note that this suit is actually consider mass-class 0 battlesuit, as shown by the "02" designation. The "2" shows that it has entered field testing stages

Stealth Battlesuit

Main article: Stealth Battlesuit
XV15 Stealthsuit

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. Unlike other battlesuits, whose pattern derive from the mass-class, Stealthsuits are identified by the secondary number of "5" which denotes a stealth variantion of the mass-class standard pattern (such as the Ghostkeel).

Known existing patterns consist of the XV15, XV22, XV25, and XV95.

  • XV15; a Mass-Class 1 stealthsuit that adds additional armour plating to the Fire Warrior armour, as well as servos and support for the weapon systems it carries, not unlike Space Marine Terminator Armour
  • XV22; an experimental stealthsuit worn by Commander Shadowsun. The XV22 is a much more advanced system than the XV25 in current use. Currently in field testing stage
  • XV25; The most common version of the stealthsuit in use by the Tau Empire. The Earth Caste hoped to introduce the XV22 en masse to replace the XV15, however the Kappa Mortis Incident forced them to instead bring the easier-to-produce XV25 into full-scale production. Thanks to their larger frame and augmented muscles, XV25s can replace their Burst Cannon for a Fusion Gun, and may also take an additional Battlesuit Support System.
  • XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit The largest stealthsuit in operation, they are considered the pinnicle of Tau stealth technology

Vanguard Void Battlesuit

The XV-46 Vanguard Void Battlesuit are fairly bulky battlesuits but not as large as the Crisis and Broadside Battlesuits. Their primary 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.[9]

Crisis Battlesuit

Main article: Crisis Battlesuit
XV8 Crisis Battlesuit
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit

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.[4] 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. The XV8 series comes in many variants.

  • XV81 Crisis Battlesuit; A variant of the Crisis Suit built for Tau Commanders, the XV81 features a back mounted Smart Missile System. The "1" suggests this is a prototype or concept version.
  • XV84; Another variant built for Tau Commanders, the XV84 features a spine mounted Markerlight and Target Lock. The "4" designation suggests this variant is in final field testing stages.
  • XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit; based on the Enforcer armour (below) featuring aerodynamic fins along the armour to help streamline the suit and increase mobility. Given to commanders
  • XV88 Broadside Battlesuit ; 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. Comes equipped with a Heavy Rail Rifle and or fists armed with High Yield Missile Pods. Can also equip a variety of secondary weapons such as Plasma Rifles or Seeker Missiles
  • XV89 ; Is another Commander variant featuring somewhat heavier armour and more rounded design.
  • XV8-05 Enforcer Battlesuit Another commander variant, this one seemingly a straight evolution of the XV8. It features no unique features as per the above variants, but is taller and has more advanced systems making it ideal for commanders.
  • XV8-02 Iridium Battlesuit After the death of Commander Pridestar to a sniper's bullet and the subsequent Tau defeat during the Klodate Worlds Suppression, the Earth Caste developed an experimental iridium alloy and produced only enough for a small series of Battlesuits. While it offers Tau Commanders and their Bodyguards optimal protection, it is a luxury that few can afford, though Commander Dawnstar of the Dal'yth Sept is known to call upon them.

Hazard Close Support Armour

XV9 Hazard Battlesuit.

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.

Known existing patterns;

Riptide Battlesuit

Main article: XV104 Riptide
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit.

The XV104 Riptide is one of the largest types of Tau Battlesuit, standing twice as tall as the XV8 series. They are both agile and heavily armed.[7]

R'varna Battlesuit

Main article: XV107 R'varna
XV107 R'varna Battlesuit

The XV107 R'varna is a new experimental Battlesuit that was developed from the XV104 Riptide.[10]

Y'vahra Battlesuit

Main article: XV109 Y'vahra
XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit

Rushed into deployment after the success of the R'varna battlesuit, the XV109 Y'vahra is a Class 10 battlesuit designed for devastating shock assault.[11]

Ballistic Suits

Ballistic Suits are a specialized variant of Tau Battlesuits. These suits are massive vehicles akin to walking tanks, designed to deliver heavy firepower. Ballistic Suits are not very manuverable, as they are too large to be equipped with jet packs. This excludes them from the type of highly mobile fluid warfare the Tau are known for. Instead, they are used to take down heavy enemy engines such as Super-Heavy Tanks and Titans. Ballistic Suits are also deployed against enemies that greatly outnumber standard Tau Hunter Cadres.[14]

Stormsurge Ballistic Suit

Main article: KV128 Stormsurge
KV128 Stormsurge

Designed to hunt enemy Titans, the KV128 is a large less-maneuverable artillery Ballistic Suit designed to deliver enormous amounts of firepower.[14]

Ta'unar Supremacy Armour

KX139 Ta'unar Supremacy Armour

The KX139 is the heaviest class of Tau battlesuit, intended for defensive purposes against massive enemies such as Imperial Knights and Tyranid beasts.[13]


Battlesuits use a wide variety of advanced Tau equipment and support systems.

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