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Unlike the other hull designs resulting from the Kor'or'vesh initiative of the Tau Empire, the Il'Porrui (Emissary)-class Cruiser, also known as the Il'Porrui (Emissary)-class Envoy Ship, was primarily intended as a diplomatic vessel. As a result, the vessel provides a necessary mix of firepower and manoeuvrability to make it a suitable conveyance to transport Water Caste dignitaries, Tau Commanders and Ethereals in relative safety. By design, it is also capable of seeing off all but the most powerful adversaries of a similar class it may encounter.
As the first capital ship to be produced under the Kor'or'vesh fleet project, there are significant numbers of these vessels currently operating throughout Tau space in a variety of tasks. As befits its nature, it is the vessel with which the Tau perform long range exploration and “first contact” missions. It is often sent to rove far beyond Tau space on diplomatic assignments to the Tau Empire's neighbours, or in accompaniment of merchant transports as a protector ship. While the Il'Porrui may not be a front-line combat vessel, it is well suited to the fires of war, and during the latter stages of the Taros Campaign, a squadron of these vessels successfully boarded an Imperial battleship.
Il'porrui-class Cruisers of the most common configuration are, as standard, armed and equipped with a set of port and starboard Railgun batteries, port and starboard Gravitic Hooks each capable of transporting a single Kir'la (Warden)-class Gunship with the parent vessel, a prow-mounted Deflector Shield, a prow launch bay capable of holding up to two squadrons of Barracudas and Mantas, two defensive turrets mounted around their hulls, and standard Tau ship gravitic shielding.
The Bor'kan configuration of the Il'Porrui is a variant configuration of the ship class that sacrifices its prow launch bay in order to mount a Gravitic Launcher. The Sa'cea configuration is similar to the Bor'kan configuration, but further exchanges its port and starboard Gravitic Hooks in favour of port and starboard Ion Cannon batteries.
- Battlefleet Gothic 2010 Compendium, pp. 163-164
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign pg. 215