The Land Raider Helios is a variant of the standard Land Raider super-heavy tank used by the Adeptus Astartes. The Helios variant of the Land Raider came about when the need arose to provide a fast-moving Space Marine heavy assault force with close-in armoured bombardment capable of operating in the close confines of a built-up area. Many missile tanks are comparatively light armoured and therefore less able to operate alongside heavier vehicles. The Helios solves this problem by mounting a Whirlwind Missile Launcher, a weapon usually found on the Whirlwind artillery tank, onto the hull of a standard Land Raider, providing Space Marine forces with close range bombardment capability, even in the most hotly contested war zones. The mounting of the Whirlwind Missile Launcher upon the Land Raider chassis provides a much larger amount of room to store extra ammunition and greater armour to protect the tank from enemy fire. The Land Raider Helios can also be equipped with a Hyperios Missile Launcher, which is an anti-air variant of the Whirlwind Missile Launcher. Due to the sophisticated targeting technology used by the weapon, the Land Raider's hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters are replaced with targeting sensors to assist in aiming and target acquisition.
The Helios was first developed by the Red Scorpions, a Chapter renowned for its especially puritanical beliefs and abiding mistrust of many other Imperial fighting forces, especially those who utilise Abhumans or Psykers. It is a highly independent Chapter that rarely allies itself with others, except those Adeptus Astartes Chapters it rates as loyal and pure. In 857.M38 the Red Scorpions Chapter was engaged in the legendary Siege of Helios. The leading edge of WAAAGH! Grimgut had overwhelmed the manufactoria of the world of Helios and the Red Scorpions swore to repel them at any cost. The task was beyond the Imperial Guard, for the Orks, showing typically low cunning, had set loose an infestation of Bomb Squigs which boiled forth from the sewers and destroyed any vehicles attempting to press the city's streets.
The answer to the need for swift armoured support for any Space Marine force seeking to engage the Orks came when the Archmagos of Hive Manufactory 33 Delta Thule, an ordnance foundry which had long supplied Missile Launchers to the Red Scorpions, received what he later claimed was a vision granted to him by the Machine God. By fitting the foundry's weapons systems to the Red Scorpions Land Raiders, the attack force would be able to mount its own artillery support on vehicles all but immune to even the most concentrated effort to overwhelm them and the hive, and all of Helios, would be delivered. Within twenty-four solar hours, every one of the dozen Land Raiders deployed to Helios had been converted to what would later become known as the "Helios" Pattern Land Raider. A Whirlwind Missile Launcher was mounted atop each war machine's hull and a dedicated targeting unit set in its forward weapons point in place of its Heavy Bolters. A payload of missiles was also mounted within the vehicle's hull, leading to a reduction in its passenger capacity that was considered a worthwhile trade-off, given the vehicle's superior survivability compared to Whirlwind missile tanks and other lighter platforms.
In the resulting battle, the dozen Helios Pattern Land Raiders led the Red Scorpions strike force deep into the Ork-held hive. As predicted, tides of Bomb Squigs erupted from the sewers to break against the vehicles. Once the resulting explosions had cleared, the Land Raiders were charred black and splattered in steaming Squig blood but otherwise intact, while the entire wave of Orkoid creatures had obliterated itself to no effect whatsoever. The route into the hive was finally open and the doom of the Orks of WAAAGH! Grimgut was at hand. The lifting of the Siege of Helios saw the pattern named after it become a standard part of the Red Scorpions Chapter armoury. In recognition of the deliverance of the hive, the master of Manufactory 33 Delta Thule ceded the pattern's sanctified specifications to the Red Scorpions, who have themselves disseminated it to the small number of Chapters it has close relations with.
Since that time, the Helios remains an uncommon Land Raider variant, only deployed when a Chapter is in need of extra artillery support that its Whirlwinds cannot provide due to extenuating or unusual battlefield conditions. Quite aside from enemy fire, the vehicles has proved useful in traversing especially dangerous terrain subject to threats a Whirlwind's armour would not be able to withstand. Such war zones include those set within carnivorous jungles, magma seas and fractal crystal forests. In later years, a further refinement of the pattern would be developed at Helios. Rather than mounting a standard Whirlwind Missile Launcher, the Hyperios variant mounts an anti-aircraft version. This variant is fielded by those few Chapters with access to it when conditions make the deployment of Stalker, Hunter or Whirlwind Hyperios anti-air units undesirable because such vehicles would be vulnerable to enemy infiltrators.
The main difference between the Helios and more common patterns of Land Raider is the Whirlwind Missile Launcher mount and the extra ammunition stowage space required for any spare missiles, reducing the vehicle's transport capacity to just six Power Armoured Space Marines. The positioning of the launcher and its targeting unit also precludes the use of a pintle-mounted weapon and this means, without the standard Heavy Bolters as well, that the Helios suffers from the lack of anti-infantry or point defence weaponry. Wise strike force commanders remedy this by assigning Land Raider Crusaders or Redeemers to fight alongside the rare and valuable Helios.
The Land Raider Helios remains an uncommon variant of the Land Raider, and is usually only deployed when a Chapter is in need of extra artillery support that their Whirlwinds cannot provide. However, the Land Raider Helios is one of the most useful vehicles in the Armouries of the Adeptus Astartes, as it is able to provide long-range fire support, act as an anti-air platform, an assault transport, and engaging enemy armour with its Lascannons. The Land Raider Helios' main armament and weapon is its sponson-mounted, twin-linked Lascannons. These weapons are able to provide the vehicle with extensive protection while it fires its missiles. The Helios is also capable of transporting Astartes infantry, although its capacity is only half that of a standard Land Raider with room enough for six Space Marines in standard Power Armour or three Terminators. The Land Raider Helios is capable of equipping a Hyperios Missile Launcher to engage enemy aircraft. The vehicle can also be equipped with a Dozer Blade, Extra Armour Plating, a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter, an improved Vox communications systems, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, a Searchlight, and Smoke Launchers.
Known Users and Deployments of the Land Raider Helios
- Red Scorpions - The Red Scorpions Space Marine Chapter designed the Land Raider Helios and were the first to use it during battle. The Red Scorpions have used the Helios extensively during the original Siege of Helios that gave the vehicle its name, the Siege of Vraks, and the Badab War.
- Blood Angels - The Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter used the Land Raider Helios during the Anchernar Invasion.
- Dark Angels - The Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter has used the Land Raider Helios during the Piscina Campaign.
- Emperor's Warbringers - The Emperor's Warbringers Space Marine Chapter has made extensive use of the Land Raider Helios in many of its campaigns.
- Fire Hawks - The Fire Hawks Space Marine Chapter has used the Land Raider Helios during the Badab War against the followers of the Tyrant of Badab.
- Novamarines - The Novamarines Space Marine Chapter used the Land Raider Helios during the Badab War.
- Salamanders - The Salamanders used the Land Raider Helios during the Badab War against the Secessionist forces.
- Space Wolves - The Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter have used the Land Raider Helios during the Centius Prime Invasion against the Orks, and during the defence of the Imperial Mining World of Betalis III against the Eldar of Craftworld Mymeara.
Known Land Raider Helios
- Death Cry - Death Cry is a Land Raider Helios of the Fire Hawks Space Marine Chapter.
- Might of Skaros - Might of Skaros is a Land Raider Helios of the Novamarines Space Marine Chapter.
- Widowmaker - Widomaker is a Land Raider Helios of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Land Raider Helios||Main Armament:||2 sponson-mounted Twin-linked Lascannons|
|Forge World of Origin:||Helios||Secondary Armament:||1 dorsal-mounted Whirlwind Missile Launcher|
|Known Patterns:||III - IX||Traverse:||180 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Commander, 1 Driver||Elevation:||-37 to 42 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Adaptable Thermic Combustion with Auxilliary Reactor||Main Ammunition:||Unlimited|
|Weight:||73.0 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||24 Missiles|
|Height:||6.7 metres||Superstructure:||95 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||0.45 metres||Hull:||95 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||55 kilometres per hour||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||48 kilometres per hour||Vehicle Designation:||0120-766-0724-PR 137|
|Transport Capacity:||6 Space Marines, or 3 Terminator Marines||Firing Ports:||N/A|
|Access Points:||2 Side Doors, 1 Front ramp||Turret:||N/A|
- Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pg. 32
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pg. 32
- Imperial Armour Update 2003, pg. 10
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 105-110
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 34-35, 46-47
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pg. 73
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 73, 123
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 14, 26, 154, 195,
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 58