The Hunter, also known as the Whirlwind Hunter, is a variant of the standard Space Marine Whirlwind Artillery Tank and serves as the Space Marines' primary surface-to-air combat unit. Armed with a potent Skyspear Missile Launcher, the Hunter has proven its worth in countless war zones, scouring the skies of enemy bombers and fighter craft.
The Hunter is the primary surface-to-air combat vehicle of the Adeptus Astartes and is the first known dedicated anti-aircraft platform fielded by the Astartes. Prior to the discovery of the Standard Template Construct (STC) data for the Hunter, many Space Marine Chapters had attempted to retrofit the Whirlwind in various ways, with mostly negative results.
The vehicle's design is based on STC data which is much older than the much more recent Whirlwind Hyperios anti-air tank. Though the Whirlwind Hyperios is a stable pattern of anti-air combat vehicle and is becoming widely adopted by many Chapters, there are still many Chapters that have continued to use the Hunter on the battlefield, including during the recent Third War for Armageddon, where the Hunter was used in great numbers by Astartes Chapters like the Black Templars who participated in that conflict.
The Hunter also features improved front and side armour over the standard Whirlwind, and is outfitted with hydraulic stabilisers that anchor the vehicle to the ground so that when it fires its anti-aircraft artillery it suffers no recoil.
Space Marine battle tanks are not permanently attached to any one company. Instead they form a vehicle pool, and individual tanks are available for deployment to Space Marine commanders as required.
Upon its creation, a Space Marine battle tank is assigned a name that reflects its role as a protector of the Chapter's brethren. From that point onwards, the vehicle is as much a part of the Chapter as the Space Marines themselves, and over the years its many deeds and victories will be celebrated as greatly as the Chapter's flesh and blood heroes.
The Skyspear Missile Launcher fires pre-blessed savant warheads, each a relic in its own right, housing the entombed remains of a distinguished Chapter Serf.
Against the dogged pursuit of a savant warhead and its entombed pilot, there is little chance of escape, while the vehicle's servo-loaders maintain a steady rate of fire.
The Hunter can also be outfitted with a Dozer Blade, Extra Armour Plating, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, improved communications equipment, a Pintle-mounted Storm Bolter, a Searchlight, and Smoke Launchers.
- 1-3 Hunter Anti-Air Tanks
A standard Hunter is armed and equipped with:
A Hunter may take one of the following pintle-mounted weapons:
Hunters may also have a variety of vehicle equipment such as:
The following is a list of known formations used by the Hunter:
- Anti-Air Defence Force - The Anti-Air Defence Force provides an Astartes strike force a formidable amount of anti-air protection. This formation is made up of both Hunter and Stalker anti-air tanks. The formation can include any number Hunters but must include at least two Stalker tanks.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Whirlwind Hunter||Main Armament:||Turret-mounted Skyspear Missile Launcher|
|Forge World of Origin:||Unknown||Secondary Armament:||N/A|
|Known Patterns:||Unknown||Traverse:||360 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Driver, 1 Gunner||Elevation:||0 to 55 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Quad MkII Adaptable Thermic Combustor Reactor||Main Ammunition:||Unknown|
|Weight:||33 Tonnes (Approx.)||Secondary Ammunition:||N/A|
|Length:||6.6 metres (Approx.)||Armour:|
|Width:||4.5 metres (Approx.)|
|Height:||5.0 metres (Approx.)||Superstructure:||Unknown|
|Ground Clearance:||0.44 metres (Approx.)||Hull:||Unknown|
|Max Speed On-Road:||Unknown||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||Unknown||Vehicle Designation:||Unknown|
|Transport Capacity:||N/A||Firing Ports:||N/A|
The Hunter originally appeared in Warhammer Epic 40,000 and was equipped with a Hunter Missile Launcher instead of the Skyspear Missile Launcher.
The Hunter Missiles fired by the Hunter Missile Launcher were faster and more accurate than those used by Whirlwinds armed with standard anti-air missiles, and made use of unfolding fins to help guide them to the target.
The vehicle itself also had a longer operational range. The Hunter Missiles were guided by a large scanning array that featured an algorithmic precognitive targeter located opposite the vehicle's cylindrical missile feed.
These Hunters featured one large launch tube fed by a single rotary system, but some Techmarines have modified their charges with paired launch units and a central sensor suite for improve efficiency. This version of the Hunter is no longer considered canon or available for use by Space Marine Chapters.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 88-89, 175
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Battle Tanks", "Hunters"
- Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition) (Revised Codex), pp. 85, 153
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 100-101, 121, 176
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 59, 117
- White Dwarf (September 2013), "Space Marine Hunter"
- Games Workshop - Whirlwind Hunter / Stalker
- Warhammer Epic 40,000 (Rulebook), pg. 81
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 58
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Stalkers and Hunters (Digital Edition)
- Engines of War (Novel) by Steve Lyons