A Dirge-class Raider is a Necron starship that is the smaller and rarer of the two Escort-sized Necron warships so far encountered and formally identified by the Imperium of Man; the other being the Jackal-class Raider. Whether its lack of numbers in a Necron fleet is universally the case or simply a matter of chance is unknown. Dirge-class Raiders, although never formally identified at the time, are now believed to account for many of the vessels occasionally sighted by Imperial Explorators even before the Yuctan Incident and the first known Necron harvest of an entire world's population as part of their biomedical experiments surrounding the attainment of "apotheosis," the quest to return their consciousnesses to organic forms. In 692.M41 an impenetrable layer of unidentified metal was found several hundred metres beneath the surface of Angelis, later to be revealed to be some form of alien spacecraft when the vessel rose entirely out of the sand and departed without trace. In the light of later events, it would seem probable that this "Angelis Boat," as it was dubbed by the Explorator team researching it, was in fact a Dirge-class Raider.
As with all known Necron vessels, Dirge-class Raiders possess an unknown form of drive technology that allows the ship to undertake interstellar travel without the need to enter the Warp. The Raider's drive technology eliminates the spacecraft's inertia, allowing it travel at extreme speeds and with extreme acceleration, whilst also giving the spacecraft an agility that few other ships can match. In truth, however, Dirge-class vessels, like all Necron spacecraft, primarily rely upon the use of Dolmen Gates to serve as portals into the Webway, which allows them to cross the vastness of space without resorting to the use of the Warp since the undying Necrons possess no psykers.
Dirge-class Raiders are composed entirely out of Necrodermis, a unique living metal which comprises the undying mechanical bodies of every Necron warrior, vehicle and starship. The material’s regenerative properties and hardy nature means that Raiders are immune to the detrimental effects posed by celestial phenomena such as solar flares, radiation, gas clouds and nebulae, and are also able to repair their armour at a rapid pace during an engagement. However, standard Necron combat protocol dictates that a clean disengagement is preferable to a fight to the end, and Dirge-class vessels will do this by "fading out," where the vessel in question dematerialises into an unknown extradimensional space; taking it out of the battle. The standard armament of a Dirge-class Raider includes:
- Lightning Arc Batteries – Lightning Arcs use stored solar energy and, when activated, release it as a forest of living energy tendrils which envelop targets and probe for weaknesses. Lightning Arcs act as the main weapon batteries for Necron ships, but are different from the equivalents used by the other starfaring species of the galaxy in that the arcs they fire are able to split up and guide themselves to their own targets, providing a mass-strike ability like no other known ship-based weapon. A Lightning Arc battery is usually able to cover all angles of approach except for the rear.
- Battlefleet Gothic Armada, pp. 73-74, 78