Complimenting much larger Stormbirds and Thunderhawks, the Storm Eagle is a formidable gunship in service of the Adeptus Astartes. Let’s see why!
Via our good friends at Lexicanum
The Storm Eagle dates back to the Great Crusade, designed to be a smaller attack craft to compliment the larger Stormbirds and Thunderhawks. The legendary mobility of the Adeptus Astartes has won planet-spanning conflicts with a single strike; providing the precise application of deadly force at the point where it proved most decisive. A Chapter‘s fleet of attack craft is the keystone that makes this possible, and it is the iconic Thunderhawks and Drop Pods that are at the forefront. Craft such as the Storm Eagle Assault Gunship follow close behind to lend their weapons to the devastating assault.
A formidable gunship, the Storm Eagle mounts fearsome firepower for a vehicle of its size and is capable of transporting twenty Space Marines directly into the thick of an assault. The exact provenance of the Storm Eagle is unknown, but it bears clear similarities to the Stormravens employed by the Blood Angels and Grey Knights. Certain sources place the principal manufacture of the Storm Eagle upon Tigrus and Anvilus IX, both primary-grade Forge Worlds that suffered catastrophic damage during the Horus Heresy.
In recent decades the number of Storm Eagles in active service has begun to increase, especially amongst those Chapters known to have favorable relations with the Adeptus Mechanicus. But despite its increase in production, the Storm Eagle has yet to be deployed as widely as the Storm Raven. Chaos Space Marine warbands are also known to still employ the Storm Eagle, though these date back to the Great Crusade and have often since become Daemonically corrupted. The Storm Eagle generally has the following weapon systems: A hull-mounted set of either twin-linked heavy bolters, twin-linked multi-meltas or a typhoon missile launcher; A hull-mounted Vengeance launcher; A pair of twin-linked lascannon or a set of four hellstrike missiles.
There were several variants to the Storm Eagle. None more known than the Fire Raptor.
The Fire Raptor is a Space Marine attack gunship based upon the Storm Eagle design. Known to have its origins long in the Imperium‘s past, the Fire Raptor is configured to to maximize ammunition storage in order to feed its numerous weapons systems. This is accomplished by sacrificing the Storm Eagle’s transport capacity. As a result the Fire Raptor carries a range of formidable weapons, most notably twin Avenger Bolt Cannons. Additional armament includes waist-mounted ball turrets capable of engaging targets independently of one another and wing-mounted Hellstrike Missiles.
Like the Storm Eagle on which it is based, the Fire Raptor was once utilized by the Legiones Astartes during the era of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, but it has largely vanished from Imperial arsenals for the last several thousand years. However it is now being fielded in increasing numbers as of 41st Millennia, suggesting that some yet unidentified Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World or Space Marine Chapter Forge has come into possession of a complete Fire Raptor STC. A small number of old Fire Raptors, some dating back to the Great Crusade itself, exist in the armories of a small number of Chapters where they are treated as precious relics.
There are a lot of various Chapters in M41 that have in their possession a number of old Fire Raptors preserved from the time of Great Crusade. The Charnel Guard for example is in possession of a big fleet of Fire Raptors. Other chapters, like Minotaurs and Star Phantoms, have reportedly massed 3-4 of the gunships into a formations of one Fire Raptor and three Storm Eagles thus devastating a route through even the heaviest resistance of enemy troops for following Space Marine forces to attack. Chaos Space Marine warbands are also known to still employ Fire Raptors. These vehicles date back to the Great Crusade and are often Daemonically corrupted.