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An Arvus Lighter delivering supplies to Anphelion Base

The Arvus Lighter is a small, general purpose cargo shuttle that is widely used by the Imperium of Man for many tasks, both in space and on the surface of planets. The Arvus is commonly used by both Imperial Navy warships and Imperial merchant vessels, including Rogue Traders. The Arvus is just one of many types of small, void-capable shuttles used by the Imperium. The Arvus is piloted by a single pilot, and is not equipped with any weapon systems, in fact, the Arvus possesses only the most basic navigation equipment, external sensors, and proximity alarms. The Arvus has a powerful engine that allows it to carry heavy cargo to and from a planet's surface.

An Arvus that was shot down by an Eldar Nightwing on the planet Betalis III

The Arvus is mostly used as a cargo shuttle, ferrying supplies and sometimes personnel from ship-to-ship and from high orbit to the surface of planets. The Arvus can also be used to transport cargo and personnel already on the planet to different locations on the surface if the terrain is too treacherous. The shuttle can be modified to carry special types of cargo, such as replacing the cargo bay with a fuel tanker or expanding it to carry larger loads. The Arvus can transport up to 12 people in its cargo hold, but any Imperial official of importance will most likely make use of the Aquila Lander instead, as the Arvus is designed as a workhorse and not a luxury craft. The Arvus is not a combat vehicle and was never intended to engage an enemy, although if times are desperate enough the Arvus can be used as a makeshift assault boat for boarding actions during void combat, or as a transport ship during ground engagements. This was however not always the case, as numerous accounts testify that during the Great Crusade-era an armed variant of the Arvus has seen use extensive use in support of Solar Auxilia Cohorts. The Arvus has been called the Trojan utility vehicle of the Imperial Navy, as the two vehicles sharing similar roles and uses with their respective arms of the Imperial military forces. The Arvus has earned several nicknames such as the "Hog", "Little Pig", and the "Onager", the last stemming from the belief that the Arvus' Machine Spirit is particularly truculent and stubborn.

Known Users of the Arvus Lighter

  • The Imperium of Man - The Imperium uses the Arvus shuttle for many different tasks all across the galaxy, from the cargo holds of Imperial Navy warships, Mining Worlds, and even Holy Terra itself.
  • The Lost and the Damned - Due to the wide usage of Arvus Lighters across the galaxy by the Imperium, many have been used by Traitors and Heretics for their own cargo transport needs.
  • Adeptus Mechanicus - The Arvus Lighter was used to deliver supplies to the main Adeptus Mechanicus base on Beta Anphelion IV from orbit. This base was engaged in classified research concerning Tyranid bio-forms that was ultimately deemed forbidden by the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos. After being delivered to the main base the supplies would be flown via an Arvus shuttle to the other Imperial installations scattered across the world due to the hazardous terrain surrounding the bases.
  • Betalis III - The Arvus was regularly used to transfer supplies across the ice wastes to the Imperial mining colonies on Betalis III.


The Arvus Lighter is not a combat spacecraft, but it has been pressed into combat on several occasions. When the Arvus is needed for a combat role it can be equipped with an improvised forward-firing twin-linked Multi-Lasers, twin-linked Autocannons, or 2 twin-linked Heavy Stubbers. It can also be outfitted with 2 Hellstrike Missiles. Arvus Lighters in service of the Solar Auxilia during the Great Crusade have also been known to have been armed with twin-linked Lascannons. The Arvus can receive the following upgrades, including an ejector seat, an armoured cockpit, a flare or chaff launcher, an illumination flare launcher, or a searchlight.

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications

Arvus Lighter
Type General Purpose Cargo Shuttle - Small Operational Ceiling N/A
Vehicle Name Arvus Max Speed 1600 kph
Forge World of Origin Bakka Range 22,000 kilometres in atmosphere
Known Patterns IV - XXVII Main Armament N/A
Crew 1 Pilot Secondary Armament N/A
Powerplant 2 RX-60-22 Rocket Engines Main Ammunition N/A
Weight 15.0 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition N/A
Length 8.52 Meters Armour
Wingspan 8.2 Meters Superstructure 15 millimetres
Height 3.68 Meters Hull 15 millimetres
Transport Capacity 12 Humans or 6 Ogryns Access Ports 1, Rear Ramp


  • Aeronautica Imperialis (Rulebook), pg. 24
  • Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 113-115
  • Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 17
  • Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pg. 19
  • Imperial Armour Apocalypse (Second Edition), pg. 40
  • The Horus Heresy Book Four: Conquest by Alan Bligh, pg. 271

Also See