A Gun Drone (Kor’vesa in the Tau Lexicon) is a type of Tau Drone (small, disc-shaped, semi-sentient machines) employed extensively alongside Tau units in battle. Gun Drones consist of an advanced processor unit, which individually has only a basic intelligence (approximately that of a small animal such as a pterasquirrel), and moves about by way of a small anti-gravitic generator and a smaller and much modified version of a Tau Jetpack. This allows the Gun Drone to hover over the ground and skim over most obstacles. Gun Drones are most commonly armed with twin-linked Pulse Carbines, a formidable weapon at short range, and are used by the Tau Fire Caste in combat alongside Fire Warriors as a form of fire support. They are also ideal for many military applications that involve dangerous or tedious duties.
In battle, Gun Drones will commonly serve under a Tau officer who commands it through the use of an electronic device known as a Drone Controller, and will provide support to their master and act as a form of robotic bodyguard. Whilst normally a single Gun Drone will require regular orders from its master, Gun Drones can also be networked into deadly squadrons that can operate independently for long periods of time without the need for close supervision. Operating in such a capacity significantly increases the intelligence and processing speed of all the Drones in the squadron through the networking of processing, targeting, and sensor systems, making the whole far more deadly than the sum of its parts. Notably, Gun Drones are always programmed for self-preservation, and will flee rather than face certain destruction. However, the need to protect their Tau masters overrides this programming and they will sacrifice themselves in these circumstances by blocking enemy fire or getting in the way of close combat opponents.
Despite their basic intelligence, the Tau do not treat their Drones as expendable forces, but as another useful weapon in their armoury. Most Tau units are accompanied by at least several Drones to assist in mundane tasks. Gun Drones aiding Tau squads will often provide additional firepower that can pin an enemy down due to the flashbang effect of the Photon Grenades fired by the underslung grenade launcher of their twin-linked Pulse Carbines. Gun Drones will also provide protection for their squads, by way sacrificing themselves to block enemy fire or close combat opponents. All Gun Drones that are attached to a Tau squad are controlled by a Drone Controller, whether it is in the form of a support system for a Tau Battlesuit, or a hard-wired piece of wargear for Tau infantry. A Drone Controller is an electronic device which acts as a hub of digital communications between the Drone's operator and up to two Drones that accompany the user. It allows a user to communicate his will to any Drone directly under his control. Most of the time, the controller operates at a default level that simply keeps the Drone obeying its basic programming, but the owner can also use it to issue simple orders outside the Drone’s normal parameters.
For Fire Warrior teams, supporting Gun Drones are usually carried by their Devilfish transport in specially designed compartments (the Drone's small jet engines would not be able to keep up with a fast moving Devilfish). Once the Fire Warriors disembark, the Gun Drones will automatically detach themselves to act as additional fire support, move ahead as forward scouts for the team, or guard a flank. Hammerheads, Skyrays, and Piranhas can also carry two Gun Drones each in specially designed recesses.
Gun Drone squadrons, however, are often used for acting in support of other Tau units by pinning enemy troops in place while the main body of the Tau Hunter Cadre takes further shots at the advancing enemy. Their fast speed and mobility also allows them to rapidly move into unexpected positions, making them ideal for flanking manoeuvres. Gun Drone squadrons consisting of four to eight Drones will often be deployed from the transport aircraft that carried the main Hunter Cadre, such as Orcas and Mantas. Tiger Sharks can also carry up to fourteen Gun Drones which are deployed in flight from its Drone racks. These form a single squadron and can descend from high altitudes due to their anti-gravitic motors. Gun Drones are also commonly used in a defensive role in, such as in Drone perimeter defence teams. In these formations, Gun Drones will be programmed to hold the line no matter the cost.
Gun Drones possess the ability to burrow underground by using a rapid spinning motion, where they can hide until an opportune moment presents itself to launch an ambush upon an unsuspecting passing enemy unit. Gun Drones also possess the ability to self-destruct before they are destroyed, and the resulting explosion can inflict severe damage to the enemy.
Gun Drones attached to a Tau Stealthsuit Team are always upgraded with a stealth field generator, which allows them to operate without compromising the Stealthsuit Team's own ability to remain undetected.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus Technical SpecificationsEdit
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pp. 18, 25, 28
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition), pp. 29, 31, 35, 38
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse, pp. 79, 83
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pp. 81, 86
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 162, 165-167, 170, 172, 177, 183-184, 186, 198, 201, 207, 211, 284
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 367
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pg. 12
- Dawn of War - Dark Crusade (PC Game)