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Torpedo is the name used for any long range missile carried by a space ship or used in a space battle.[1]

Imperial Navy Warship firing a salvo of Torpedoes


Some are used in local planetary defence networks[2c] while others can be launched from the planet surface, although they are required to traverse the planet's atmosphere.[2d] Anti-ship torpedoes are up to 200 feet in length and are powered by a plasma reactor, which makes up part of the warhead as well as the method of propulsion. Standard torpedoes move in a straight line and have limited sensing and targeting abilities, turning to intercept if they come within a few thousand kilometres of their target, although often they will still miss.[1]

Torpedoes are highly effective weapons in space combat. They are so small and fast that only defence turrets and fighters can catch and destroy them easily before they impact, although using weapons batteries, lances and Nova cannons can prove effective if the captain is desperate enough.[1]


Practically every race uses torpedoes, and they are often different from the "standard" torpedo familiar to Imperial Admirals.


The Imperial Navy's standard Torpedoes are armed with powerful plasma warheads[8], but also has several varieties of "special torpedoes" available in limited quantities:[6]

  • Short Burn Torpedoes have more powerful engines but have limited fuel.[6]
  • Guided Torpedoes are remotely guided to their target, but are vulnerable to jamming and interference.[6]
  • Seeking Torpedoes home in on enemy targets, but are prone to premature detonation.[6]
  • Barrage Bombs are designed for planetary bombardment.[6]
  • Deadfall torpedoes can be left as traps in the void of space. When an enemy warship nears them, the torpedoes activate their rockets and spear towards their target, in order to explode against its hull.[11]
  • Melta Torpedoes punch through their target's hull and start internal fires.[6]
  • Cyclonic Torpedoes are planet-shattering weapons designed for Exterminatus.[9]
  • Vortex Torpedoes implode, creating a warp rift that rips its target to pieces.[6]
  • Virus Torpedoes are designed for destroying organic matter aboard a ship, but leave the vessel intact.[7]
  • Psyk-Out Torpedoes contain the remains of multiple Pariahs and devastate the powers of the Warp within their radius.[12]
  • Magna-Torpedoes are forbidden planet-breaking weapons known to have been used by the Dark Angels during the Great Crusade.[13]


Ork Torpedo Launcher[14]
  • Ork torpedoes are highly unreliable, so there is no telling just how strong a volley will be until it is launched. As such, the Orks prefer to use looted torpedoes instead.[2b]


Eldar Torpedo Launcher[14]
  • Eldar torpedoes carry sophisticated scrambling systems and targeting sensors. These make them highly accurate and difficult to shoot down.[2a] While most commonly equipped with Neutron Warheads[2a] the Eldar also use a specialized variant of Torpedo known as the Sonic Torpedo, which is a gigantic Sonic Weapon.[10]


Tau Torpedo Launcher[14]
  • Rather than single large torpedoes, the Tau use volleys of smaller Drone-controlled missiles fired from Railgun-like Gravitic Launchers. The Drone AIs in these weapons allow them to track targets much more effectively than other races' torpedoes.[4]


Tyranid Bio-Torpedoes[14]

Dark Eldar

  • "Normal" Dark Eldar torpedoes are just as sophisticated as those of their Eldar cousins.[3]
  • The Dark Eldar also use Leech Torpedoes that drain the target ship's engine power.[3]


These are torpedoes used in one form or another by multiple races:[1]

  • Boarding Torpedoes pierce an enemy ship's hull to deliver a squad of raiders to attack the target ship from within.[1]