The TX78 Sky Ray Missile Defense Gunship serves the Tau Empire as a perimeter and air defense vehicle. Based on the Devilfish chassis, it is armed with deadly seeker missiles for the application of precise firepower. They are rarely encountered in large numbers, usually with a single Sky Ray per Hunter Cadre, although more may be stationed to defend important targets.
During the Damocles Crusade, Imperial aircraft had proved deadly to Tau ground forces and airfields. In response to the Tau military's lack of a dedicated anti-aircraft unit, the Earth caste developed the Skybeam. These early vehicles had to find and lock onto their own targets, but eventually they were integrated into the broader Markerlight network, increasing their deadly potential. During the Taros campaign, Imperial Navy pilots despised the Sky Ray and nicknamed it the "Stinger". Confirmed kills from Sky Rays became a much celebrated achievement among these pilots.
Since then, the Sky Ray has been used by the Tau in other military operations, including the invasion of Pavonis.
The Sky Ray carries six seeker missiles mounted in a 360° rotating turret. It also comes equipped with a pair of linked markerlights and a target lock assist system, allowing the Sky Ray to aim and fire its own seeker missiles at two separate targets simultaneously. Secondary armament consists of either a pair of independently aiming Burst Cannons, a pair of Gun Drones, or a Smart Missile System. These weapons are aimed and fired by the Sky Ray's dedicated weapons operator.
The Sky Ray is protected by the same nanocrystalline alloy used in the armor of other Tau vehicles, the composition of which is still unknown. The metal, while light and malleable, is strong and corrosion-resistant, offering good protection while reducing weight, improving the vehicle's speed and flight characteristics. However, the Sky Ray is not as heavily armored as the Hammerhead Gunship, which combined with the limited ammunition meant that most Tau commanders avoided using it in protracted ground combat.
In addition to its standard weapons, control, and communications systems, the Sky Ray comes equipped with retractable landing skids and can be further modified with additional upgrades, although it lacks the space to mount additional seeker missiles.
This multi-part plastic kit contains 88 components and a sheet of T'au transfers with which to build either a Sky Ray Missile Defense Gunship or a Hammerhead Gundship.