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Strike Cruiser

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Strike Cruiser

A Strike Cruiser of the Adeptus Astartes

Space Marine Strike Cruiser

A Strike Cruiser of the Ultramarines Chapter

Blood Ravens Strike Cruiser

A Strike Cruiser and Escort vessels of the Blood Ravens Chapter

Ultramarines Strike Cruiser

A Strike Cruiser of the Ultramarines' unusually large Chapter Fleet

Grey Knights Strike Cruiser

A Strike Cruiser of the Grey Knights Chapter

A Strike Cruiser is the second major type of starship usually deployed by the Chapter fleets of the Adeptus Astartes. While a Space Marine Chapter only rarely will deploy the might of a powerful and usually quite ancient Battle Barge, Adeptus Astartes Strike Cruisers are a more common sight, though anything to do with the Space Marines is still a rare event in the galaxy. Often the arrival of a Space Marine Strike Cruiser is enough in itself to quell the defiance of a star system rebelling against the Emperor. The Astartes are quick to act if the surrender of the Emperor's foes is not rapid and immediate. Strike Cruisers are fast, lightly-armed starships which mass slightly less than the Imperial Navy's Dauntless-class Light Cruisers. Their primary function is to provide rapid response, as they are usually the first Imperial defenders to arrive at a threatened Imperial world. Strike Cruisers are capable of carrying one full company of Space Marines as well as all of their needed armoured support vehicles and have been known to deploy their full contingent of Astartes within only twenty minutes of their arrival in orbit of a target planet.

Like Battle Barges, Strike Cruisers do not represent a single class of Imperial starship or a specific, standardised configuration of weapons systems and other capabilities, but actually represent a large range of different Space Marine starships in the Light Cruiser tonnage class that are used for the same basic tasks. Firstly, Strike Cruisers must be fast, with a substantial troop transport capacity and multiple means for delivering troops to a planetary surface rapidly, whether that be through the use of teleporters, Drop Pods, or launch bays equipped with Thunderhawks. Within the demands of these basic operational parameters, Strike Cruisers can actually take a wide array of different physical forms.

The Grey Knights, perhaps the most elite and secretive of the Space Marine Chapters, maintain their base on Saturn's moon of Titan within the Solar System itself, close to Mars and the primary shipyards of the Adeptus Mechanicus, so their Strike Cruisers are highly advanced vessels, utilising the most advanced weapons, armour, Void Shields and other systems available in the Imperium, even by the already high technological standards of the Space Marines. Other Astartes Chapters also possess widely differing forms of Strike Cruiser, each shaped by the Chapter's long centuries of tradition and varying tactical doctrines. The Strike Cruisers pictured here simply represent several possibilities for this wide array of physical differences.

Vanguard Cruiser

Fleet-based Chapters also make use of a vessel called a Vanguard Cruiser that is a refit variant of the standard Strike Cruiser intended to undertake long-range, long-duration operations independent of support from the rest of the Chapter, often serving as reconnaissance or exploratory vessels for the Chapter fleet or as Heavy Escorts. Vanguard Cruisers are less capable of undertaking planetary assaults like normal Strike Cruisers because their weapons profile has been optimised for ship-to-ship combat, planetary exploration, reconnaissance and boarding operations.

Notable Strike Cruisers

Sources

  • Ultramarines (Novel Series)
  • Battlefleet Gothic: To Cleanse the Stars by Andy Chambers and Matt Keefe
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (PC Game)
  • Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War II Chaos Rising (PC Game)
  • Grey Knights (Novel Series)
  • Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Cover of Darkness" by Mitchel Scanlon
  • Horus Heresy Novel Series
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
  • Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition)
  • Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition)
  • Codex: Dark Angels (5th Edition)
  • Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition)

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