A Seeker Missile is a Tau weapon system that consists of a single high strength missile which strikes a target that has been designated using a Marker Light. Seeker Missiles are commonly used in place of artillery as Tau battle doctrine dictates that all forces should always remain mobile. The Tau Fire Caste generally does not rely on static defensive positions unless absolutely necessary.
Recent advancements in Tau fire control systems have allowed deployment platforms to fire their Seeker Missiles without need of a Marker Light. However, these "dumb-fired" Seeker Missiles are not able to make use of their advanced seeker arrays and obstacle avoidance algorithms and rely only on their basic Drone-intelligence-based homing systems for guidance instead. Due to this, the Seeker Missile is far less accurate when fired this way, and does not benefit from the additional targeting data needed to allow it to strike with its full potential.
Each Seeker Missile incorporates a seeker array. This is a collection of diodes built into the missile's warhead that is sensitive to the energy beams emitted by a Marker Light. For a missile to "see" its target, a separate Tau operator, either in a Tetra or on the ground, has to lock-on to the designated target with a high-intensity energy beam that is emitted by the Marker Light. The Marker Light then releases a unique pulse signal that a Seeker Missile's targeting array picks up. The Marker Light operator also provides the missile's central control system the specific pulse pattern being used by the Marker Light via a high intensity flash download. The missile's targeting array processes the information received before feeding the data into its inertial guidance system. Once this is complete, its engines ignite and the missile launches.
Once in the air, the missile's guidance system focuses only on the Marker Light with the correct signal, ignoring all other pulse patterns. Guidance systems steer the missile by adjusting the flight fins mounted on the sides so that the Markerlight continually paints the warhead's diode array. This ensures that the missile is always heading straight for the target. When this constant targeting information is combined with the exceptionally high speed of the missile's processing and guidance systems, a Seeker Missile will prove extremely accurate over even long distances.
Seeker Missiles are designed to engage singular targets, forgoing a large blast radius for more destructive power. This makes them suitable for taking on enemy armoured vehicles from unexpected directions before a full Hunter Cadre arrives to deal with the situation. Seeker Missiles are also used to great effectiveness against even the fastest and most agile enemy aircraft, for the missile's homing systems all but ensure a direct hit. Tau units such as Tetras and Pathfinders are commonly used to designate Seeker Missile targets using Marker Lights; however, Fire Warrior Shas'Ui and any other Tau unit armed with a Marker Light can also do so. Seeker Missiles are commonly mounted on Tau skimmercraft based on the Devilfish APC chassis, which can mount two. The Sky Ray, however, is a dedicated platform specifically tasked with launching Seeker Missiles. Seeker Missiles can also be mounted on a Piranha light skimmer, and this allows the missiles to be launched from an unexpected direction due to the forward placement on the Piranha. Seeker Missiles are also commonly mounted on Tau aircraft such as the Tiger Shark AX-1-0, Manta, DX-6 Remora Drone Stealth Fighter, Razorshark and Sun Shark, to add to their already large armament. Recent upgrades to the XV88 Broadside Battlesuit have also allowed it to mount a single Seeker Missile as part of its armament. Stingray and Scorpionfish missile gunships carry a number of modified Seeker Missiles, known as Submunition Missiles, which are fitted with a number of Smart Missiles submunitions in its warhead. The Scorpionfish is able to launch both Submunition and Seeker Missiles from its variable munitions launcher.
It is important to note that the pilot of a vehicle or Tau Battlesuit carrying Seeker Missiles has no control over when or what the missiles are launched at. Instead, Marker Lights are required to paint the target while the vehicle merely acts as an ordinance delivery platform.
- Destroyer Missile - Each sleek Destroyer Missile incorporates an Artificial Intelligence (AI) targeting processor far more advanced than anything used in Seeker Missiles. Drawing on extensive real-time data, a Destroyer Missile can identify its target's primary weak spot. It then uses self-guiding micro rockets to adjust its trajectory in flight once fired and ensure a direct hit upon that location with millimetric precision, tearing the target apart in a spectacular explosion. Currently Destroyer Missiles are only deployed on KV128 Stormsurge Ballistic Suits.
- Codex: Tau Empire (7th Edition), pg. 116
- Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition), pp. 66, 68, 102-103
- Epic Armageddon – Tau Army List Version 4.4, pg. 11
- Imperial Armour Volume Three -- The Taros Campaign, pg. 178
- White Dwarf Weekly 88 (AUS), pg. 7