Cyclonic Torpedoes are a category of Torpedo utilized by the Imperium for orbital bombardment of a planet once Exterminatus has been invoked. A wide variety of weapons fit the definition of cyclonic torpedoes, and employ varying means of scouring the world's surface, from nucleonic fire to raw plasma. Whatever their method of destruction, the effect of cyclonic torpedoes is the same: the complete destruction of all life on the planet, its atmosphere burned away in a storm of fire and its oceans boiled to vapour, leaving it a barren rock.
The only factions within the Imperium known to have these weapons are the Inquisition and the Adeptus Astartes. Sources conflict on to what extent the Space Marines have the authority to declare Exterminatus without the assent of an Inquisitor, but agree that Inquisitors have the authority on their own recognizance.[Needs Citation]
Two Stage Torpedoes
Two-stage torpedoes are a more exotic version of the cyclonic torpedo. Though the warhead is still the same, the delivery system is radically different. Instead of exploding on impact, this device will burrow though a planet's surface with thermal warheads, and detonate at the core. This will destabilize a planet, and will shatter that world in many cases. They are used against worlds that are devoid of atmosphere or biological life, such as Necron Tomb worlds. In one attested appearance only two such torpedoes existed within a sector.
- 1: Tactica Imperialis, pg. 66
- 2: Nightbringer (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Chapter Sixteen, pg. 280
- 3: Dying Flame - Last Stand of the Firebrands, White Dwarf 287 (UK), pg. 68