The Barracuda is the Tau Empire's air superiority fighter, roughly equivalent to the Imperial Navy's Lightning Fighter. In the lore, the Barracuda is supposed to be slower than the Lightning and Thunderbolt, while being more maneuverable (than the latter, at least). However, in the rules, all three are exactly as fast as each other and the Lightning and the Barracuda are equally agile and armored. The Imperial and Tau vehicles do differ in one major respect: Imperial flyers have armored cockpits, while Tau cockpits also function as escape pods. Truly, the
cowardice basic rationality and actual fucking concern for soldiers' lives cowardice AND weakness of the alien knows no bounds.
- The Barracuda is getting a new model, as of May '16. Look into the new model before you purchase china-forge or older painted models. A face-lift, in addition to increased customization, makes for a very exciting next few months for the interceptor. Here is a link.
- As of July 23, the new Barracuda (now labeled the AX-5-2) has been released. On top of the aforementioned facelift and increased customization options, Forge World has realized that people that fork over a unicorn's soul for their models also generally want to get the most out of the kit, and the new Barracuda model is designed specifically with magnetization in mind, complete with detailed instructions.
The Barracuda's primary air-to-air weapon is a heavy ion cannon as long as the fuselage. This is supported by a pair of auto-targeting burst cannons in the wingtips, and supplemented with missile pods in the wings for ground attack. It can also take up to four seeker missiles to lend additional anti-armor support to markerlight-equipped ground forces. Kinda like a Lightning’s long autocannon, missiles, and lascannons, even their arrangement. Once it eliminates all flying targets, Barracuda can start bombarding ground-pounders with overcharged ion cannon blasts and hails of missile and pulse fire, vaporizing everything that isn't AV13-14 or Sv2+. Tau usually avoid using it as a dedicated strafing runner though because of it's limited survivability compared to their regular bombers like Tiger Shark or Sun Shark.
The new Barracuda AX-5-2 update also adds the ability to replace the ion cannon with either a short range heavy burst cannon, or a short range railgun. All of these weapons lack the alternate fire and range of their traditional counterparts, Riptide and Hammerheads respectively, but are otherwise identical. The Barracuda may also replace its auto-targeting long-barreled burst cannon with auto-targeting cyclic ion blasters. On top of the new firepower, the AX-5-2 also gets an invulnerable save against glancing and a weaker save against penetrating hits, as well as being able to boost its Jink save by +1.
Barracudas also serve as interceptors of the Tau space fleet, and have been proven quite capable of going toe-to-hoof with the likes of Fury. The fact that Mantas rarely need interceptor escort to fight off enemy interceptors means Tau may focus their Barracuda wings on defense against enemy ordinance, and if you know anything about Battlefleet Gothic, the one who wins the ordinance game while fleets are closing usually wins a battle.
See the shiny text wall up there? Its trash, we're not gonna listen to it. (Unless you want to keep playing the 7th edition rules)
Barracudas are back, and sexy as ever. Not solid choices mind you, but still not horrible if you find you wanna zip around the sky instead of sit in a static gunline. They have good movement, with a 3+ BS and save at T7, meaning that they're hardier than your Citadel flyers like the Sunshark. They also get the bog standard hard to hit -1 for being a plane, and has an invuln save of 5+.
The biggest downside is these things are massive point sinks if you want them to be dedicated to anything besides Infantry Hunting. Due to how -1 to hit rules work this edition, this basically rules out using the Ion Weapons. While this saves you points, it also means that your main weapon is a less dakka Railgun, and if you are in a T'au army that means its sacrificing volume of fire, which is also a direct downside. Don't forget the built in Missile pods which can plink wounds off tanks, vehicles, and heavy infantry, but I digress.
You won't see them often for the above reasons, but they are still viable. They can take four seeker missiles if you really need them and have the points. Couple that with heavy markerlight support, they skyrocket in their usefulness, being able to quite possibly dish out concerning levels of firepower when shooting at something with 5 markerlights.
Are they good for tournaments? No. Take Sunsharks. Are they strong for more "casual" games? Yes.
Battlefleet Gothic Armada 1 & 2
Barracudas in Battlefleet Gothic Armada 1 & 2 shares with the Ork's Fighta-Bommers as being one of the slowest fighters in the game. However, unlike the Orks, Barracudas lack the special ship damage capabilities, making Barracudas ironically, one of the worst fighters in the game, which is hilarious when given the high reputation of Barracudas in the fluff. Might as well just use the Demiurg's Automated Fighting Drones which are just better.
|Forces of the Tau|
|Command:||Cadre Fireblade - Ethereal - Ethereal Guard - Tau Commander|
|Troops:||Drone Squadron - Fire Warrior Team - Pathfinder Team - Stealthsuit Team|
|Auxiliaries:||Gue'vesa - Kroot (Great Knarloc - Kroot Carnivore Squad - Kroot Hound |
Krootox - Lesser Knarloc - Shaper) - Nicassar - Vespid Stingwing
|Battlesuits:||Battlesuits (XV02 Pilot Battlesuit - XV15 Stealthsuit - XV22 Command Suit |
XV25 Stealthsuit - XV46 Vanguard Void Suit - XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit - XV9 Hazard Battlesuit - XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit - XV107 R'varna Battlesuit - XV109 Y'Vahra Battlesuit
KV128 Stormsurge Ballistic Suit - KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour)
|Vehicles:||Devilfish - Hammerhead - Hover Chair - Piranha - Sky Ray - Tetra - Swordfish|
|Flyers:||Barracuda - Razorshark - Remora - Sun Shark - Tiger Shark|
|Kor'Vattra:||Manta - Orca - Automated Fighting Drone |
Automated Barge Drone - Automated Bombing Drone