The Corvus Blackstar is an air-to-ground attack aircraft and dropship used exclusively by the forces of the Deathwatch. The Corvus Blackstar is a sleek and deadly aircraft, much prized by Watch Fortresses across the galaxy. Like a knife slipping in between the ribs of a colossus, the Blackstar penetrates the outer defences of any alien host to strike directly at its heart. Though small enough to slip through the sensor grids of most xenos strongholds, its weapon systems are highly advanced, allowing the Blackstar to have a devastating impact for a craft of its size.
The war hangars of the Deathwatch are replete with every kind of aircraft the Adeptus Astartes have ever sanctioned. However, such is the Corvus Blackstar's quality that it is used almost exclusively in Kill-team missions that involve air-to-ground engagement. Primarily it fulfils the role of transport, combining the hurtling speed of the Drop Pod with the manoeuvrability of a Stormtalon gunship and the offensive capability of a far larger aircraft. Propelled by vectored engines mounted on the wing and behind the airframe, the Blackstar is nimble enough to dart through winding canyons, the elegant star-spires of a Craftworld, or even the guts of a Tyranid Hive Ship in order to bring a surgical strike to the enemy's heart. Once in position it changes from fighter craft to hover vehicle with a twist of the engines, its front-mounted doors yawning open with a hiss of pistons so that the Deathwatch operatives inside can leap out and charge directly into the fight.
The pilot of each Blackstar is a Veteran Techmarine who has earned the right to pilot it over long and arduous years of schooling. The pilot uses the same machine each time; so intense is this training that the Techmarine's indomitable will and that of the aircraft's Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence) become interlinked. This allows the pilot to pull off aerial manoeuvres so spectacular he can leave all but the pilots of the unnaturally skilled Eldar floundering in his wake.
The Corvus Blackstar's first priority is often to secure aerial supremacy. To ensure its Kill-team reaches the fray intact, the Blackstar will plummet through low orbit to fall upon the aircraft or winged bioforms of the enemy like a raptor diving into a flock of prey. Once on the tail of its victims, it will shoot down the enemy aircraft it judges to be the greatest threat. While many Blackstars mount twin-linked Assault Cannons , some bear a prow-mounted Lascannon array, able to channel the penetrative power of the Godhammer Pattern cannons to destroy heavily armoured targets. Many of these craft carry a Blackstar Rocket Launcher under their wings, equipped with a profusion of missiles. These allow the pilot to choose Dracos air-to-ground warheads that turn swathes of xenos-infested ground into flesh-melting conflagrations, or Corvid Rockets whose spiteful Machine Spirits seek and destroy enemy aircraft so that their master might rule the skies alone.
At a single thought-impulse from the Techmarine pilot, these prow and wing-mounted weapons can be calibrated for strafing runs. In such circumstances, auxiliary grenade launchers mounted at the rear enable the aircraft to rain down a hail of explosive projectiles -- either Infernus Grenades that detonate in clouds of burning Promethium, or Frag Grenade charges that hurl deadly shrapnel over a wide area. A full squadron of Blackstars can clear a beachhead amongst a Tyranid swarm in a matter of moments before their passengers descend to deliver the killing blow.
The Blackstar has advanced systems to ensure its survival from the inevitable reprisal. Its robust construction can shrug off even a direct hit from enemy flak, and when fitted with an Infernum Halo-Launcher it becomes extremely difficult to land a telling blow. Should an enemy missile, drone warhead or similar explosive device close in on the Blackstar, high-calibre Auspicator arrays will detect its aura of hostility, and send a wide spread of decoys, interceptors and flares to thwart the incoming munitions. It appears as if the Blackstar spreads wings of smoke and fire behind it, a sight known to the Chapter's warriors as the Wings of the Sky Angel. Many a primitive culture, saved from the predations of the alien, has seen the Blackstar that brought their deliverance as a mechanical seraph and worshipped it for generations afterwards.
On the strategic scale as well as the tactical, the Deathwatch are noted for their use of advanced technologies. They strike with clockwork precision, whether their assault numbers a single Kill-team or several Watch Companies working together. The Watch Captains ensure each team reaches its target at the critical moment, their fine-tuned war plan a series of overlapping attacks from which there can be no salvation. The Corvus Blackstars soar from the clouds, disembarkation doors wide to allow the Deathwatch within to drop directly into combat.
The Corvus Blackstar burns through the skies with a scream of engines, guns spitting death as it strafes the xenos below. Though it bears similarities to other Imperial aircraft, it is far more advanced in form and function, and the heavy weapons it shares with its sister machines are optimised for alien-hunting. As the Corvus arrows towards its mission-critical target, its heavy weapons tear the foul aircraft and bioforms of the enemy from the skies. Any incoming fire sent its way is baffled with Infernum Halo-Launchers that fan out to blur the Blackstar's outline and detonate missiles well before impact. Once in position, it swoops down with impressive agility, the twin hatches on either side of its nose-cone slamming open to allow the Deathwatch team within to charge directly into the fray.
- Corvus Dropship Wing - A formation used by the Deathwatch comprising 3 Corvus Blackstars. Squadrons of Corvus Blackstars cut through the bruised skies of the Deathwatch insertion zone, their ominous shadows presaging a violent death for the alien warriors below. Upon entering combat the Blackstars hunt down the enemy's aerial assets, their fighter craft or winged bio-terrors. Their Augur arrays scry the incoming targets and share their vulnerabilities via data-hymnal broadcast. When their nose-mounted Lascannons and Assault Cannons open fire, every shot is calibrated to cause maximum destruction, striking the heart, the cockpit or the ammunition supply of the enemy to send their remains spiralling down to the ravaged warscape below. With the skies clear, the Blackstars glide into their designated drop-zone to disgorge the Kill-teams inside, clinching the Deathwatch's control over the battle.
- 1 Deathwatch Corvus Blackstar
A standard Deathwatch Corvus Blackstar is armed and equipped with:
- Twin-linked Assault Cannon
- Blackstar Cluster Launcher- The Corvus Blackstar has two rear-mounted Grenade Launchers, allowing the pilot to sow a hailstorm of munitions in his wake as he strafes his primary targets. The launcher is capable of firing either crater-chewing Frag Grenade clusters or a matrix of Infernus Grenades that leave burning Promethium in the Blackstar's wake.
- 2 Stormstrike Missile Launchers
- Ceramite Plating
- Machine Spirit (Artificial Intelligence)
A Deathwatch Corvus Blackstar may replace its two wing-mounted Stormstrike Missile Launchers with the following:
- 2 Blackstar Rocket Launchers - The pugnacious silhouette of the Corvus Blackstar heralds a barrage of missiles, each selected the moment before firing to maximise the destruction it wreaks. Whether air-to-air missiles guided to blast enemy aircraft from the skies or warheads designed to turn a strafing run into a violent visitation of hellfire, these munitions are delivered with pinpoint accuracy and perfect timing.
A Deathwatch Corvus Blackstar may take the following additional weaponry:
A Deathwatch Corvus Blackstar may take the following additional vehicle equipment:
- Smoke Launchers
- Extra Armour Plating
- Locator Beacon
- Infernum Halo-launcher - When a Corvus Blackstar comes under attack from enemy flak, missiles or their biological equivalents, the pilot will deploy a complex spread of sanctified flares and decoys from its Infernum Halo-Launcher. These fan out around the Blackstar like the white-feathered wings of an angel from Terran myth, baffling and intercepting incoming xenos munitions.
- Auspex Array - The Corvus Blackstar bears arrays of sensor equipment that contain Vigilus-class Machine Spirits. Acting much as the Auspexes borne by those Space Marines that hunt the alien across the battlefields of the Imperium, these arrays use wide spectrum strafe readers to detect the presence of hostile life forms and war engines.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
The technical specifications of the Corvus Blackstar are not publicly available in Imperial records.
- Warhammer 40,000 Index: Imperium 1 (8th Edition), pg. 177
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Deathwatch (7th Edition), pp. 4, 44-45, 55, 67, 87, 99, 104, 108
- Games Workshop Online Store - Corvus Blackstar