The XV8 Crisis Battlesuit is the mainstay general combat Tau Battlesuit utilised by the warriors of the Fire Caste of the Tau Empire. It mounts a vast array of fearsome ranged weaponry as well as a complement of technologically advanced support systems on a comparatively small and agile frame that offers the Tau pilot within exceptional protection. Of all the weapons systems employed by the Tau, the XV8 Crisis Battlesuit is easily the most distinctive and recognisable due to its reputation as an efficient and lethal weapon of war. The XV8 Crisis Battlesuit strikes a perfect balance between offensive capability, armoured protection, speed, manoeuvrability and utility. It is a towering Tau Battlesuit, easily twice the size of the Fire Warrior who wears it. A wonder of Earth Caste engineering, only the Tau could master the secrets of producing the dense nanocrystalline alloy that forms the thick protective armour of the XV8. When it comes to deflecting and withstanding damage, the XV8's armour is comparable to the ceramite used by the Imperium of Man's Space Marines, but weighs substantially less. Agile for its size, the XV8 is extremely manoeuvrable as it mounts a Jetpack with repulsor jet engines -- another unique Earth Caste invention that combines the functionality of a jet with antigravitic technology. These powerful thrusters allow the XV8 to vault battlefield obstacles and to make bounding leaps to gain advantageous firing positions, or to avoid incoming shots. By firing off the jets to slow descent, it is possible for a warrior in a XV8 Crisis Battlesuit to make a combat drop -- arriving to the battlefield suddenly by leaping from an airborne Orca or Manta transport aircraft. While its protective armour and mobility are highly valued by the Tau, it is the ability of the XV8 Battlesuit to carry multiple weapons and support systems that makes them so incredibly dangerous and versatile. Designed to compensate for the recoil of light weapons fire, the XV8's weapon loadout can be easily altered to reflect mission requirements or the pilot's own personal preference. Additional upgrades, from Multi-Tracker fire-control systems, to Homing Beacons or Shield Generators, further enhance the fighting abilities of this impressive Battlesuit.
The XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Team is the most widely deployed of any Tau Battlesuit formation, for they are the very epitome of Tau warfare -- mobile, flexible and absolutely bristling with firepower. A XV8 Crisis Battlesuit squad is an elite force and often forms the cutting edge of a Hunter Cadre’s attacks; they can be used as a powerful reserve held by the Tau Commander, to counter-attack against advancing foes or to deliver the final hammer blow that is unleashed to break the opposition once and for all. Trained to operate either alone or, more commonly, in teams of two or three warriors, XV8 Crisis Teams can be equipped to handle a variety of battlefield roles and can operate to maximum effectiveness in many different environments with simple system load-out changes. For instance, tocombat vast numbers, a Crisis Team might employ many Burst Cannons, as its high rate of fire is ideal for scything down lightly armoured infantry. Against more powerful or heavily armoured foes, the ceramite-melting blasts fired from Plasma Rifles are preferable, while the close-ranged Fusion Blaster is unrivalled for tank-hunting teams. Different Tau Septs have their own preferred weapon and support system fits in accordance with their proscribed tactics. For example, the Crisis Teams from Vior'la have a predilection for what is called the Sun Forge configuration -- three XV8 Crisis Battlesuits operating together in a formation known as a ta 'ro 'cha - "three minds as one" in the Tau Lexicon. XV8 Crisis Battlesuits are versatile and formidable weapons that the enemies of the Tau Empire have learned to respect, and these weapon systems are a prevalent sight in the military forces of the Tau Empire.