Combat Armour is a form of Tau standard-issue infantry armour worn by all Fire Warriors in battle, and is similar in design and construction to Imperial Carapace Armour. Combat Armour is constructed in two layers. The outer face is a hard, ultra-dense nano-crystalline metal veneer bonded to an inner layer of high performance, thermo-set, molecular polyethene. The outer layer material is known as Fio'tak in the Tau Lexicon, and is commonly used as a form of armour across nearly all types of Tau units due to its lightweight nature and impact-resistant structure. The inner layer of Combat Armour acts as an energy-absorbent padding for energy dispersal, and helps prevent blunt trauma effects from high velocity impacts. The highly advanced materials used in Combat Armour's construction are very resilient to penetration and lightweight compared to more conventional Imperial materials such as plasteel.
Usually worn underneath the hard carapace armour plates of Combat Armour is a set of one-piece overalls constructed of a composite nanocular thread; a microscopic, super-dense mess of fibres that helps prevent projectile punctures and slashing penetrations, whilst remaining flexible. The material the fatigues are constructed from is also chemically threaded to retard flames and the effects of most irritant gases or chemicals. The fatigues are hard-wearing and suitable for most combat environments, and are issued in a variety of colours.
The distinctive domed Tau helmet of a Combat Armour set includes many systems, ranging from communication equipment, night vision sensors, targeting and ranger-finder information, visual relay systems, and access to the main command network. The helmet is configured to allow for simple upgrades to be fitted such as Blacksun Filters and Target Locks, and the vision slots are pre-configured to see Marker Light beams.
Standard Fire Warrior Combat Armour usually also features an elongated and thickened left shoulder plate, which acts as an additional protective shield when the Fire Warrior is kneeling to fire a weapon more accurately and exposing his left shoulder to retaliatory fire.
- Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition), pg. 70
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pg. 80
- Rogue Trader: Tau Character Guide (RPG), pg. 27