A Jetbike is a fast and highly maneuverable vehicle that is powered by advanced anti-gravitic technology that allows it to hover above any surface while being propelled by powerful jet or rocket engines. These sleek vehicles can be used to carry a passenger into the air above the maelstrom of battle or to carry out missions like reconnaissance or hit-and-run attacks that require a high degree of speed and mobility.
There were several different patterns of Jetbike used by the Imperium of Man over the centuries, and the most common patterns are usually armed with some type of anti-personnel weapon such as a Heavy Bolter or a set of twin-linked Bolters that are synchronised to fire simultaneously. These weapons can lay down a withering hail of fire against lightly armoured targets.
Jetbikes are a nearly extinct form of archeotech that dates back to the earliest days of the Imperium of Man. During the Horus Heresy, many Space Marine Legions as well as other Imperial military forces, such as the Legio Custodes and the Sisters of Silence, also fielded Jetbikes. These gravity-impellor assisted, jet engine-propelled hovercraft were more akin to compact aircraft than ground-based Assault Bikes and were able to maintain great speeds for extended periods of low-altitude flight.
Their lift-strength was sufficient not only to carry a heavily armoured Space Marine and his wargear aloft, but also to transport a variety of heavy weapons mounts and stocks of ammunition, giving the Astartes and other Imperial personnel who used them extremely potent firepower as well as excellent maneuverability. The Jetbike patterns in service with the Legiones Astartes were modifications of designs which considerably predated the Imperium and given the materials required to make and maintain them (such as the iridium-calicite alloys needed to fabricate the hyper-efficient anti-gravitic suspensor/repulsor plates required for flight), demand for them by the Legions always outstripped the supply provided by the Mechanicum.
The last known Jetbike pattern that was built by the Imperium was the Mark XIV Bullock Pattern Jetbike, which was equipped with an integrated auto-drive as well as other additional specialised capabilities such as auto-targeters linked to the vehicle's weapons, an Auspex, and an extensive suite of sensors capable of differentiating between biological lifeforms and inorganic energy emissions. Imperial Jetbikes were capable of both in-flight and hover modes. In combat, Imperial Jetbikes could be deployed by aerial-drop separation, a technique where a jetbike would be dropped from a Stormbird while the aircraft was still in the sky. These formidable and sleek craft allowed their riders to soar at great speed across the battlefield, held aloft by archaic anti-gravitic technology lost to the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the 41st Millennium.
In the present of the late 41st Millennium, Jetbikes are rarely, if ever, utilised by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes and their use is now entirely unknown to the units of the Imperial Guard. Those few Chapters that are fortunate enough to maintain some examples of this bygone technology are privileged to ride to war on ancient machines painstakingly maintained since the days of the Great Crusade. Armed with ferocious twin-linked Bolters or a Plasma Cannon, the Imperial Jetbike is feared by the Space Marines' foes. One of the last known examples of an Imperial Jetbike is maintained by the elite Ravenwing (2nd Company) of the Dark Angels Chapter, which possesses a single Venerable Jetbike which is utilised by its Grand Master Sammael. Sammael is able to launch lightning fast assaults and ride down the enemies of the Chapter from astride his ancient steed.
The Jetbike, like many Imperial vehicles, has several different known patterns and variants that were used during the period in Imperial history when the use of the Jetbike was more common. This list includes all of the the known patterns and variants of Imperial Jetbikes:
- Bullock Pattern Jetbike - The Bullock Pattern Jetbike, also known as the Mark XIV Bullock Pattern Jetbike, was the last known pattern of Jetbike produced by the Imperium of Man before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. The Bullock Pattern first saw use shortly before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, and many of the Bullock Pattern Jetbikes that had been produced at the time were in the possession of the White Scars Legion. It is known that during the White Scars' campaign of extermination against the remnants of the Ork empire of Overlord Urrlak Urruk, who had been conquered by the Emperor of Mankind and Horus during the Ullanor Crusade, the V Legion had no less than 500 Bullock Pattern Jetbikes in its possession. The Bullock Pattern Jetbike was armed with a single spinal-mounted Heavy Bolter, although it is highly probable that the Bullock Pattern Jetbike could also be armed with different weapons, much like other Jetbike patterns.
- Gyrfalcon Pattern Jetbike - One of a number of customised Jetbike designs utilised by the Legio Custodes Agamatus Jetbike Squadrons, the heavy duty, plasma motor-boosted Gyrfalcon Pattern Jetbike served as the Custodes' steeds in battle. The increased power of the design supported not only the heavily armoured Custodian Guard, but also allowed it to mount a powerful Iliastus Pattern Bolt Cannon as its on-board armament. The Gyrfalcon was more powerful even than the Scimitar Pattern associated with the Legiones Astartes, a heavy-design more akin to an armoured one-man speeder than a true Jetbike. In addition, its augmented grav-repellor system combined with a plasma-thrust motor provided tremendous temporary bursts of speed. The Agamatus Squadrons of the Legio Custodes exploited these war machines to operate as both a rapid response and suppression unit in the field.
- Dawneagle Pattern Jetbike - The Dawneagle Jetbike is an incredible vehicle, a Great Crusade-era relic wrought in auramite and adamantium. These bikes are almost as large as light fighter craft and -- while they are still grav-skimmers -- can deliver a near supersonic turn of speed. Their hulls are phenomenally durable, allowing their riders to slam through walls and enemy warriors without being unseated, and they react pugnaciously to the slightest touch of the controls, able to jink effortlessly through incoming fire. When armed with Hurricane Bolters, the Dawneagle can plough bloody furrows through enemy hordes. However, it is when equipped with Salvo Launchers that Vertus Praetors truly come into their own as lightning-fast tank hunters. They scream across the battlefield, rapidly outflanking and encircling the heaviest enemy vehicles before annihilating them with strafing runs of Melta Missiles. Even enemy aircraft are not safe, for by combining their fire the Vertus Praetors of the Adeptus Custodes who are the exclusive users of the Dawneagle are able to weave airborne webs of flakk blasts into which hurtling enemy aircraft slam with terminal results.
- Scimitar Pattern Jetbike - The Scimitar Pattern Jetbike was a relatively common pattern of Imperial Jetbike that was used by the Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade and later in the Horus Heresy. The Scimitar Pattern Jetbike was armed with a single spinal-mounted Heavy Bolter, but was also able to be armed with a Multi-Melta, a Plasma Cannon, or a Volkite Culverin. These Jetbikes were usually organised into fearsome Sky Hunter Squadrons by the Legions and used as powerful fast strike units. These squadrons were so effective that they were used in some capacity by almost all the Space Marine Legions. Due to the Jetbike's extreme speed and mobility and its ability to carry heavy weaponry, it was not uncommon for these squadrons to range far ahead of the main strength of a Space Marine force, striking targets of opportunity at will.
- Jetbike Chariots - Jetbike Chariots were a variant of the Jetbike that featured a platform on the rear of the Jetbike where an Astartes could stand. The Astartes on the back could make use of his weapons while the Jetbike's driver focused on piloting the craft. The platform was surrounded on three sides by armoured plate, giving the passenger some degree of protection from enemy fire. It is unknown if Jetbike Chariots can be armed with mounted heavy weaponry. The only known users of the Jetbike Chariot was the Blood Angels Legion, although other Legions may have made use of them. The pattern of Jetbike used by the Jetbike Chariot is unknown, although it was armed with a set of twin-linked Bolters.
- Sojutsu Pattern Voidbike - The Sojutsu Pattern Voidbike is an early prototype Imperial Jetbike that predates the more common Scimitar Jetbike in common use with the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. During initial trials its thrusters were capable of providing sufficient thrust to grant the bike limited periods of true flight, and even some manoeuvrability in deep space, and it was classed by the Logisticae Imperialis as an ultralight fighter craft instead of a Jetbike. The Sojutsu Voidbike was the favoured mount of the White Scars Legion's Primarch Jaghatai Khan.
- Unknown Jetbike Patterns - There are many different patterns of the Imperial Jetbike, and many of these patterns remain a mystery to Imperial scholars and Adeptus Mechanicus Magi. The Jetbike was widely used by the Imperium of Man during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, and found users amongst the Space Marine Legions, the Legio Custodes, the Sisters of Silence the Mechanicum of Mars and even in small numbers by the Imperial Army, so many different patterns and sizes of Jetbikes are thought to exist. There are several unnamed patterns of the Jetbike known to the Imperium, which include the following:
- A pattern of Jetbike is known to have been used by the Praetorian Jetbike Squadrons of the Legio Custodes during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. These Jetbikes were smaller than all other known Jetbike patterns, and this pattern was known to have been armed with a set of twin-linked Bolters.
- A pattern of Jetbike known to have been used by the World Eaters Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. This pattern of Jetbike was seemingly unarmed and may have been used as a reconnaissance vehicle instead of a combat vehicle.
- A pattern of Jetbike that may have been called the Paragon Pattern known to have been used by the Emperor's Children Legion, the Death Guard Legion, and the Legio Custodes that featured a large golden eagle with its wings spread mounted on the front of the Jetbike and was also armed with a set of twin-linked Bolters. This pattern of Imperial Jetbike appears to be smaller than the Bullock and Scimitar Patterns, and may represent a Jetbike pattern similar to the Astartes Assault Bike, whereas the patterns of Jetbike armed with heavy weapons are similar to the Astartes Attack Bike.
- Corvex - Corvex is the Jetbike currently used by Grand Master Sammael of the Dark Angels Chapter, and represents one of the last known examples of a functioning Jetbike in the Imperium of the late 41st Millennium. This pattern of Jetbike features in-built Storm Bolters and an under-slung Plasma Cannon, although it is believed that the in-built weapons may not be standard. There existed an Imperial Jetbike pattern similar to Sammael's that featured under-slung weaponry but did not possess the in-built weapons. This particular Jetbike is believed to be an unknown variant of the Mark XIV Bullock Pattern Jetbike, the last Jetbike Pattern manufactured by the Imperium before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. Corvex has been thought lost or destroyed many times and it is unknown whether it is a unique Jetbike or if the Dark Angels have maintained a cache of this particular pattern of Jetbikes or even if the Dark Angels have a long-lost Standard Template Construct (STC) and are capable of building new Jetbikes of this pattern. However, as the Dark Angels do not share their many secrets with the rest of the Imperium, the answer may never be known.
Although the Imperium of Man has lost the technology and ability to produce Jetbikes there are others that make use of their other Jetbikes, most notably the Eldar and their Dark Eldar kin. Examples of these Xenos Jetbikes are as follows:
The Eldar are the undisputed masters of anti-gravitic technology in the Milky Way Galaxy, and their Jetbikes are a swift moving force that is justifiably feared by any who have faced them. Eldar Jetbikes are ideal for carrying out raids on unsuspecting enemies, allowing their riders to strike without warning from behind dense terrain before using their superior speed and handling to escape. Each of these deadly vehicles are armed with Shuriken Catapults that are synchronised to fire simultaneously, or a single deadly Shuriken Cannon. Eldar Guardians and the Shining Spears Aspect Warriors most commonly make use of Eldar Jetbikes.
Dark Eldar Jetbikes
Reavers are those Dark Eldar fascinated by bringing death to others at high speeds. They ride to war upon the most streamlined and pared-down of all Eldar skycraft, the Reaver Jetbike. These sleek vehicles are highly customised and extremely variable in their configurations, with the frontal canopy, rear canards and keel blades all shaped into different, but equally lethal, forms. It is unknown if these differing formations actually aid a Reaver Jetbike's combat performance and maneuverability or are simply aesthetic choices made by the individual Reaver. The standard primary armament for a Reaver Jetbike is a Splinter Rifle mounted on the hull, which can be upgraded to a Shredder, Blaster or Heat Lance. Some Dark Eldar, particularly the more successful Reavers, add Cluster Caltrops and a Grav-Talon which are intended to destroy pursuers in the air or on the ground and are equally adept at slamming opponents into the walls of a toroid arena in the High City of Commorragh or onto the dusty surface of a planet. A Reaver Jetbike is equipped with Turbo Boosters that are always engaged by the rider before he attempts to use his craft's Bladevanes to slash apart opponents on the ground.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
The technical specifications for the ancient patterns of the Imperial Jetbike have not been released by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Citadel Catalogue (2004-2005), pg. 149
- Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition), pg. 41, 67
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 45
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 58-59, 82, 93
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Sammael - Grand Master of the Ravenwing (Datasheet)"
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 42, 78
- Codex: Dark Eldar (7th Edition), pp. 15-16, 20, 43, 48, 52, 57, 60, 68, 90, 92, 98, 123, 179-180, 227-228
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pp. 29, 91
- Codex: Dark Eldar (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Eldar (7th Edition) (Ebook), pp. 35-36, 115-118, 127, 135-137, 227, 379, 381
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 38, 41, 43
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 37, 40, 60
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 13
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 31
- Codex: Harlequins (7th Edition) (Ebook), pp. 12, 34, 48-49, 64, 94-96, 151-152, 184-185
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pp. 10, 15, 148, 181, 192, 243, 254, 282, 321
- Rouge Trader Vehicle Manual (1st Edition), pg. 21
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 212-213, 237
- The Horus Heresy - Book Seven: Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 272
- The Horus Heresy - Book Eight: Malevolence (Forge World Series) by Neil Wylie and Anuj Malhotra, pg. 227
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 45
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (4th Edition), pg. 54
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium: Sammael, pp. 27-29
- White Dwarf 96 (US), "Chapter Approved: Imperial Jetbikes," by Rick Priestley, pp. 51-56
- White Dwarf Weekly #54 (07 Feb. 2015), "Skyweavers," pp. 4-10
- Ravenwing (Novel) by Gavin Thorpe
- Brotherhood of the Storm (Novella) by Chris Wraight, pp. 16, 18-20, 22, 24-26, 28, 51, 53-55, 58-60, 86-87
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 382, 391
- Forge World Webstore -Legion Scimitar Pattern Jetbike
- Forge World Webstore - Legion Scimitar Pattern Jetbike Squadron
- Forge World Webstor - Legio Custodes Gyrfalcon Pattern Jetbike
- Forge World Webstor - Legio Custodes Full-Strength Agamatus Jetbike Squadron
- Brotherhood of the Storm Web Page (Bullock Pattern Schematic)