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Warhammer 40K: The Necron Fleet – Chariots of the Gods

6 Minute Read
Jun 13 2024

Today Admirals we examine the fleets of the Necrons; terrifying, silent and deathly as the grave.

The Necron fleet is made up of a few incredibly powerful, technologically advanced, and highly maneuverable ships. They have the ability to strike at will and often a smaller vessel can defeat a greater one with ease due to the advanced technology it carries.

Fleet Overview

All Necron ships are made of living metal and as such are immune to natural phenomena such as solar flares and gas giants. It is also excellent at repairing the vessels. They use an Inertialess Drive, allowing them to move without entering the warp. The engines are very effective and allow the ships to attain incredible speeds, able to cross interstellar space.

The first major encounter between Imperial and Necron fleets was in the Yuctan System (Yuctan Incident), close to the eastern fringes. It was a small settlement but had a Navy Depot. The depot was being used by a small Imperial squadron consisting of the Dauntless Class Light Cruiser Farsight and 6 other smaller Escort ships. Squadron Farsight was refueling and rearming on Yuktan before heading back out on patrol. They recieved a distress message from a colony on the outlying planet of Merida. Only one Imperial vessel survived (Cobra Class Destroyer ON37452) and the Necrons suffered no losses. By the time a full Imperial fleet was assembled, the Necrons were gone.

Cobra Destroyer ON37452 – a fortunate sole survivor

Since then, there have been 27 further encounters with Imperial ships, as well as some between Necrons and Eldar, Orks or Chaos. The only proven way to defeat them is with superior numbers. When fleets of equal numbers engage, the Necrons’ superior spacecraft gives them an enormous advantage, and they are almost always victorious over whatever foe was unfortunate enough to face them. Their encounters are spread across the galaxy with no apparent plan or objective, except taking with them every man, woman, and child without a trace.

Vessel Classes

Cairn Class Tomb Ship

Cairn Class Tomb Ships are the largest and most powerful class of Necron warships.


At fifteen kilometers wide, these are the largest vessels in the Necron Fleet. They are the most powerful and heavily armed of Necron ships and are easily strong enough to destroy an Imperial Battleship. Though they are powerful, luckily for other races they are also rare and have only been encountered seven times. They are heavily equipped with an array of devastating weaponry, such as the Sepulchre, Lightning Arcs, Energy Drain generators, and Particle Whips.

They are always part of a fleet and have never been seen without three escorts of Scythe Class Harvest Ships. They are all of the same design, indicating a well-planned and tested ship, brought to the fruition of its design. Though there are no known variants to the Imperials, there is a rumor that a Necron ship that dwarfed an Ork Space Hulk may have engaged an Ork fleet, although this may be typical Orkish exaggeration.

Scythe Class Harvest Ships

Scythe Class Harvest Ships Necron Battlecruiser-class starships.


They appear to be more common than the larger Cairn Class Tomb Ships and have so far been part of every encounter with Imperial ships. There are only two classes of Harvest ship, the Reaper and Harvester with the primary difference being the addition of a Sepulchre weapons system on the former. The standard armament of both vessels include Lightning Arc and Particle Whip arrays.

The ships appear lightly built compared to Imperial vessels, but this is misleading as they are particularly difficult to destroy. There are only three known instances of the disabling of a Harvest ship, and in each case the firepower of several capital ships was required. They are, with their armament, the equal of all but the largest of the Imperial vessels.

Shroud Class Light Cruisers

Shroud Class Light Cruisers are a class of Necron Light Cruisers.

The Shroud Class Cruiser is equipped with a heavy compliment of Lightning Arc Turrets. They were first recorded in 992.M41 during a battle with Battlefleet Pacificus. In the following six years three more incidents ended with the Shroud-class Light Cruisers retreating from battle. It is believed that the ship class or crew was under evaluation.

In 998.M41, five Shroud-class Light Cruisers assaulted the Adeptus Mechanicus facility on Mars. Several managed to land on the soil of Mars itself and although they were all destroyed in the end, their hulks were never found. Since the Mars incident, six additional encounters have seen the Shroud acting as the forward eyes and ears of the Necron fleet. They excel in this role because no ship that is capable of catching them has the firepower to engage it. The fact that five of these light ships easily infiltrated the Mechanicus’s homeworld, reinforces the danger the Necrons pose to the Imperium.


Khopesh Class Light Cruiser

The Khopesh Class Light Cruiser is part of the Necron Fleet. They are very fast-moving vehicles, like much of the lighter Necron fleet.

Acting as a reserve force, fighting with the Scythe Class Harvest Ships, they are more heavily armed than the Shroud Class Light Cruiser, and very effective when used in conjunction with the Shroud, taking more damage before allowing the Shrouds to get in closer. Khopesh class vessels wield Lightning Arc and Particle Whip batteries.

The only evidence of their existence was during a battle in the Agrippina Sector during the Thirteenth Black Crusade.

Cartouche Class Light Cruiser

The Cartouche Class Light Cruiser is a Light Cruiser-class vessel of the Necron fleet.

Bearing strong resemblance to the Shroud Class, the primary difference between the two ships is that the Cartouche is equipped with both Particle Whip and Lightning Arc arrays while the Shroud is equipped with solely the latter.


Dirge Class Raider

The Dirge Class Raider is a class of Necron Escort class starship.

The Dirge is the smallest vessel in the Necron fleet, and the smaller of the two known escort classes (the other being the Jackal Class Raider). It appears to be somewhat rarer, although this may be due to the relative scarcity of encounters with Necron fleets. For armament, the Dirge Class Raider is equipped with Lightning Arc batteries.

They are believed to be the ships encountered before the Yuctan Incident and the first known Necron harvest. In 692.M41 a layer of impenetrable metal was encountered under the ground of Angelis which turned out to be a ship that rose out of the sands and left rapidly. It was likely that the “Angelis Boat” was the first reported Dirge Class Raider.

Jackal Class Raider

Jackal Class Raiders are Necron Frigate-class starships.

Jackals are the equivalent to Imperial escort vessels, and have been encountered several times. Only on two occasions have these ships been seen working on their own, instead they are usually found tailing the Cairn Class Tomb Ships and Scythe Class Harvest Ships. It is the larger of the two escorts (the second being the Dirge Class Raider) encountered as part of the Necron Fleet. For armament, Jackals wield Lightning Arc batteries.


Learn More of the Necrons


Author: Larry Vela
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