The Deathstorm Launcher was an automated missile launcher system used by the Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras of the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. This weapon system was used solely by the Legions' Deathstorm Drop Pods, which were first conceived and prototyped during these times by the Raven Guard Legion which hoped to augment the firepower of its precision-orbital assaults.
The Raven Guard's preference for such surgical-strike tactics would, upon occasion, leave them at a disadvantage in the case of both protracted engagements and in assaulting very heavily fortified targets where heavy units such as Legion tanks and artillery could not be used. The Raven Guard's solution spoke much to their own nature and preferred tactics -- a weapon that would strike with merciless swiftness and expend its force in a lethal fury that left little need for prolonged endurance.
The Deathstorm Launcher could be armed with different types of warheads for its missiles, including:
- Frag Missiles - Frag Missiles are designed to explode on impact with any surface, raking the immediate area with lethal shrapnel composed of aerodynamic metallic shards. Though Frag Missiles are primarily intended to be used as anti-infantry weapons, they can also be deployed effectively against light vehicles. Frag Missiles are often ineffective against heavily armoured infantry.
- Krak Missiles - Krak Missiles are primarily intended to serve as anti-vehicle weapons, and contain a high-strength shaped charge with a relatively small blast radius, but causes massive damage to anything it hits with minimal collateral damage. Krak Missiles are also very effective against heavily armoured infantry, bunkers and other armoured or fortified static targets where their concentrated explosives will often punch holes straight through armour. However, a Krak Missile's small blast radius makes them impractical for use against most infantry and moving targets.
- The Horus Heresy: Book Two - Massacre (Forge World Series), pg. 201
- The Horus Heresy: Legiones Astartes - Crusade Army List, pg. 49
- The Horus Heresy: Legiones Astartes - Age of Darkness Army List, pg. 61