- "We ride upon the wings of the storm. What hope of escape can our foes possibly have?"
- — Sergeant Spiccare, Blood Angels 1st Company
The Stormraven gunship is a highly versatile multi-role aircraft found in the armoury of the Adeptus Astartes. The Stormraven can act simultaneously as an armoured transport, orbital dropship, and strike aircraft. This aircraft is smaller than the larger and more common Thunderhawk gunship that has been used by the Adeptus Astartes since the Great Crusade, and thanks to its array of vectored thrusters the Stormraven is also much more agile while in flight. The Stormraven's impressive speed and maneuverability, when used in conjunction with the superhumanly precise skills and reaction times of its Space Marine crew, allows the aircraft to effortlessly evade enemy interceptor fire and manoeuvre at full thrust through the cluttered spires of a hive city or through the mega-fauna of a jungle-covered Death World. The Stormraven is capable of carrying up to twelve Power Armoured Space Marines in its armoured troop hold, and is even capable of carrying up to six Assault Marines, although their Jump Packs take up half of the interior room. The aircraft can also transport an Astartes Dreadnought by way of external grapples. Many times if a Stormraven is destroyed while in-transit, the Dreadnought is capable of surviving and later being recovered by the Chapter's Techmarines. The Stormraven is capable of transporting six Terminators.
The Stormraven Gunship is a relatively recent introduction to the armouries of the Adeptus Astartes. Indeed, as befits a bureaucracy as labyrinthine and cliquish as that of the Imperium of Man, there are no official records to explain the vehicle's emergence. Certainly, the Stormraven began service and proved its worth within the Grey Knights and Blood Angels Chapters, and some records suggest that it was not meant to see broader use until the Adeptus Mechanicus were fully satisfied with its performance. However, in such dire times as the late 41st Millennium, when the fate of humanity itself rests on a knife's edge, the Adeptus Astartes need every weapon they can find; sanctioned or not, and many Space Marine Chapters now field a handful of the aircraft alongside their more traditional strike vehicles.
The role of a Space Marine strike force's Stormraven Gunships varies greatly from battle zone to battle zone and, to an extent, in response to the personality of the strike force's commander. Whilst most Space Marine Chapters utilise their Stormravens in concert with their other transport vehicles, there are a handful who have come to use them as the primary means of deploying Battle-Brothers to an objective, combining, as they do, the swift orbital descent of the Drop Pod with the battlefield versatility of a Rhino or Razorback. Twelve Power-Armoured Space Marines can be accommodated within the Stormraven's adamantium belly, ready to charge out of the gunship once the assault ramp clangs down, or to make an aerial descent via Grav-Chutes should a landing not be possible.
Furthermore, the Stormraven can also carry a mighty Dreadnought in its rear cargo grapples -- it is the smallest Space Marine aircraft able to do so. Yet to use the Stormraven as a transport alone is to overlook its formidable array of weapons. Whilst the precise load-out varies greatly from gunship to gunship, the Stormraven's firepower is easily the equal of a Chapter's most potent land-based fighting vehicles, and more than capable of wreaking untold destruction upon a deserving foe.
The origins of the Stormraven are unknown to the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, although it is whispered that its Standard Template Construct (STC) data file was found by a Techmarine of the Blood Angels Chapter in the early 41st Millennium, located in a long-forgotten Mechanicum archive on Mars. There also exists equal evidence of the Stormraven having been in the service of the Grey Knights Chapter of the Inquisition's Ordo Malleus even earlier than that. While the Imperium's cliquish and labyrinthine bureaucracy has no official records explaining the emergence of the Stormraven, there does exist records that show that the Stormraven was first used by the Grey Knights and Blood Angels Chapters, and was not supposed to enter broader use until it had proved its worth within these Chapters and satisfied the Adeptus Mechanicus with its performance. However, in such dire times as those of the late 41st Millennium, the Adeptus Astartes need every weapon they can find, sanctioned or not, and many Space Marine Chapters now field several Stormravens alongside their other aircraft.
The Stormraven is unusually heavily armed and armoured for an aircraft of its size, its firepower easily matching or exceeding even the most potent Imperial main battle tanks. The Stormraven has many times been referenced to as a flying Land Raider. The Stormraven is armed with a set of hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters, a Servitor-controlled, dorsal turret-mounted set of twin-linked Assault Cannons, and wing hardpoints capable of carrying up to four anti-armour Stormstrike Missiles . The aircraft can further enhance its firepower by being outfitted with side sponson-mounted Hurricane Bolters if its pilot are willing to block the aircraft's flank access points. The Stormraven can replace its hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters with either a set of twin-linked Multi-Meltas or a single Typhoon Missile Launcher. The craft's dorsal turret-mounted weapons can be replaced with either a set of twin-linked Plasma Cannons or a pair of twin-linked Lascannons. Stormravens belonging to the Blood Angels Chapter replace their Stormstrike Missiles with their own Bloodstrike Missiles, and similarly the Grey Knights replace them with with their own Mindstrike Missiles. All Stormraven gunships are equipped with armoured ceramite plating and can be further upgraded with a searchlight, extra armour plating, and a locator beacon. The Stormravens employed by the Grey Knights Chapter all make use of the unique system of Aegis armour plating which enhances the craft's protection against the psychic assaults of daemons and other Warp entities by inscribing protective litanies and sacred unguents of the Imperial Creed directly into the aircraft's surface. Grey Knight Stormravens may be further enhanced with Warp Stabilisation Fields, Truesilver Armour plating, a Teleport Homer, and their Heavy Bolters may be loaded with Psybolt Ammunition.
- Extermination Force - As a formation unique to the secretive Grey Knights, an Extermination Force focuses on swiftly eliminating important targets within a daemon horde. A single Nemesis Dreadknight forms the unit's vanguard, and is outfitted with a modified armament that has been subtly altered to fire specifically crafted tracker rounds. When these tracker rounds impact, their shrapnel laces the victim with a fine layer of psychic spoor. Once marked, a squadron of up to five Stormraven gunships armed with Psybolt ammunition will descend upon the foe and destroy it with overwhelming firepower.
- Storm Wing Squadron - A recent development in Space Marine tactics involves the use of Storm Wing Squadrons. Comprised of a Stormraven Gunship and two Stormtalon escorts, these squadrons have proven exceptional in countless shock assaults. The superb manoeuvrability of the Stormraven twinned with its capacious transport bay is a potent combination –- so potent, in fact, that it is considered too valuable an asset to be used lightly. Despite the variety of heavy armaments it boasts, the most deadly of the Storm Wing Squadron's weapons is the cargo it carries. Within the cabled belly of the Stormraven is a squad of elite Battle-Brothers waiting for their chance to charge forth to mete out vengeance to the enemies of the Imperium. Because of the front-heavy design of the Stormtalon and the assault ramps that serve as its jaws, as soon as the aircraft settles upon its landing gear and its prow yawns wide, the unit inside can hurl themselves straight into combat, potentially changing the tide of battle within a few seconds of their arrival. So effective is the sudden onslaught of a Storm Wing Squadron that Traitors, heretics and xenos warriors alike have learnt to fear them, cowering at the triple silhouette and roaring afterburners of their approach.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
The Adeptus Mechanicus has not yet publicly released the technical specifications for this aircraft.
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 38, 94
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pp. 37, 72-73, 93
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 97, 178
- Dataslate: Storm Talon Squadrons (Digital Edition)
- Death From the Skies (6th Edition), pp. 56, 68
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 41, 176
- Stormraven Gunship, Games Workshop