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A Thunderhawk Transporter in flight

The Thunderhawk Transporter is a logistical variant of the standard Thunderhawk gunship used by the Adeptus Astartes to carry Space Marine vehicles into combat zones. The Thunderhawk Transporter, while lacking the firepower of the standard Thunderhawk, is no less important to an Astartes Chapter.

A Thunderhawk Transporter about to deploy two Rhinos to the battlefield

The Thunderhawk Transporter can quickly load up to two Rhino sized vehicles of any type, or a single Land Raider sized vehicle, also of any type, from an orbiting Strike Cruiser or Battle Barge and bring those vehicles down safely to a planetary surface. The aircraft can also transport infantry, as long as they are inside of the vehicles before they are picked up.

The Thunderhawk Transporter's armament and battlefield role are not the only differences from the standard Thunderhawk gunship. The Transporter variant is equipped with four powerful RX-92-00 combined rocket/air-breathing turbofan engines mounted on its four wings, whereas the standard Thunderhawk only has three, with one mounted on the aircraft's rear fuselage.

An ancient pict-capture of several Traitor Sons of Horus Thunderhawk Transporters unloading tanks during the Istvaan III Atrocity

The biggest difference between the two variants is the complete removal of the standard Thunderhawk aircraft's cargo bay, so that the vehicles to be carried can be safely pulled up under the aircraft for transport. The vehicles are held in place by four robotic arms with large magnetic clamps on their ends. These arms magnetically grip the vehicles and pull them up under the aircraft's main fuselage, where they are protected from the worst of both enemy fire and the heat generated from entering or exiting a planet's atmosphere.

The four sets of arms are mounted on a rail system that allows them to be placed in the best possible place to safely and securely pick up a vehicle. When not in use the magnetic arms fold up and retract so as not to be damaged. The Thunderhawk Transporter's powerful engines and magnetic arms allow the aircraft to swoop in and drop off its precious cargo and then quickly resume flight.

Other than vehicles, the Thunderhawk Transporter is also capable of ferrying large supply pods which can carry ammunition, fuel, or other important supplies for Space Marine forces operating planetside. During planetary assaults undertaken by the Space Marines these aircraft fly non-stop missions from orbit to the surface, ferrying vehicles and supplies to the forces on the ground from the Astartes' naval assets.


Two Thunderhawk Transporters in flight

The Thunderhawk Transporter is a logistics vehicle, and is armed only with weapons required for self-defence purposes. The Thunderhawk Transporter forgoes many of the standard Thunderhawk gunship's weapons due to their weight and power consumption, which the Transporter needs to efficiently carry its cargoes. The aircraft is only armed with four sets of twin-linked Heavy Bolters. Two sets are present on the end of each of its rear-most wings and two sets are located on the aircraft's forward wings. These weapons help keep the Transporter safe as it loads or unloads its cargo.

The aircraft can also be equipped with up to six Hellstrike Missiles, giving it the ability to clear its landing zone of enemy armour. The Transporter can also be outfitted with an armoured cockpit to protect its crew, illumination flares that allow it to light up its landing area in when in darkness or when it is obscured, and a chaff or flare launcher that can be used as a countermeasure against enemy aircraft and enemy heat-seeking ordnance.

During the later decades of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia, the Thunderhawk Transporter could also be outfitted with a Flare Shield. Flare Shields were similar to Imperial Void Shield technology, but were effective on a smaller scale. It is unknown if this technology is still in use in parts of the Imperium or if it has been lost over the millennia like so much of the archeotech from that era.

Like the Thunderhawk gunship, the Thunderhawk Transporter is also equipped with a powerful Machine Spirit that governs over the aircraft's many electronic systems.

Unit Composition

  • 1 Thunderhawk Transporter (41st Millennium Only)
  • 1 Legion Thunderhawk Transporter (31st Millennium Only)


A standard Thunderhawk Transporter is armed and equipped with:

  • 4 twin-linked Heavy Bolters
  • Hellstrike Battery (Hellstrike Missiles)
  • Armoured Ceramite Plating
  • Machine Spirit (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Void-hardened Hull - Once the Thunderhawk went into mass production to replace the lost stockpiles of the larger multi-role Stormbird, it was quickly realised that a more heavily-conscructed version was required for the rigours of prolonged void operations. Thunderhawks and Thunderhawk Transporters outfitted with Void-hardened Hulls have increased protection from enemy fire, particularly around their flanks.

Horus Heresy Wargear

During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras the Thunderhawk Transporters of the Legiones Astartes featured different weapon loadout options than those of the 41st Millennium.

A standard Legion Thunderhawk Transporter is armed and equipped with:

A Legion Thunderhawk Transporter may take the following additional weaponry:

A Legion Thunderhawk Transporter may take the following vehicle equipment:

  • Chaff Launcher
  • Illum Flares
  • Armoured Cockpit
  • Flare Shield
  • Ramjet Diffraction Grid
  • Void-hardened Hull - - Once the Thunderhawk went into mass production to replace the lost stockpiles of the larger multi-role Stormbird, it was quickly realised that a more heavily-constructed version was required for the rigours of prolonged void operations. Thunderhawks and Thunderhawk Transporters outfitted with Void-hardened Hulls have increased protection from enemy fire, particularly around their flanks.

Known Users of the Thunderhawk Transporter

Notable Users

  • Angels of Absolution – The Angels of Absolution Chapter deployed several Thunderhawk Transporters to Vraks Prime during the Siege of Vraks.
  • Avenging Sons - The Avenging Sons Chapter deployed 3 Thunderhawk Transporters during the Taros Campaign against the Tau.
  • Dark Angels – The Dark Angels Chapter deployed 22 Thunderhawk Transporters during the Siege of Vraks against the Traitor Forces of Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan.
  • Mantis Warriors – The Mantis Warriors Chapter deployed several Thunderhawk Transporters during the Badab War.
  • Minotaurs – The Minotaurs Chapter deployed 4 Thunderhawk Transporters during the Badab War.
  • Raptors – The Raptors Chapter deployed 12 Thunderhawk Transporters during the Taros Campaign against the Tau, and several during the Badab War against the Secessionist forces.
  • Raven Guard – The Raven Guard Chapter deployed several Thunderhawks during the Imperial raid on the Ork-held world of Kastorel-Novem.
  • Red Scorpions – The Red Scorpions Chapter deployed 3 Thunderhawk Transporters to the planet Beta Anphelion IV to combat escaped Tyranids, and they also deployed several during the Siege of Vraks and the Badab War.
  • Salamanders – The Salamanders Chapter deployed 4 Thunderhawk Transporters during the Badab War.

Notable Thunderhawk Transporters

  • Maledictor Audax - The Maledictor Audax is a Thunderhawk Transporter of the Mantis Warriors Chapter that participated in many of the battles of the Badab War.

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications

Thunderhawk Transporter
Type Orbital Transporter Operational Ceiling N/A
Vehicle Name Thunderhawk Transporter Max Speed 2,000 kilometres per hour (approx.)
World of Origin Mars Range 28,000 kilometres in atmosphere
Known Patterns I - XI Main Armament 4 wing-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters
Crew 1 Pilot, 1 Co-pilot Secondary Armament N/A
Powerplant 4 x RX-92-00 Combination Rocket / Air-Breathing Afterburning Turbofans Main Ammunition 2,200 Rounds
Weight 105.0 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition N/A
Length 28.8 Metres Armour
Wingspan 26.65 Metres Superstructure 45 millimetres
Height 8.6 Metres Hull 45 millimetres
Vehicle Designation: 5463-028-7108-TH 011 Transport Capacity

2 Rhino type vehicles, 1 Land Raider type vehicle or 1 Spartan Assault Tank type vehicle

Also See


  • Imperial Armour Index: Forces of the Adeptus Astartes (8th Edition), pg. 39
  • Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 154-172
  • Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 44, 54, 122, 247-250
  • Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pg. 123
  • Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 63, 147
  • Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pg. 128
  • Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pg. 95
  • Imperial Armour Volume Eight - The Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 13, 81
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 26, 27, 72, 165-167
  • The Horus Heresy: Book One - Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 8, 15, 227, 234, 240
  • The Horus Heresy: Legiones Astartes - Age of Darkness Army List pg. 88
  • Imperial Armour Aeronautica, p. 36
  • Imperial Armour Apocalypse, p. 28
  • Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), p. 23
  • Imperial Armour Update 2006, p. 12


Space Marine Forces
Chapter Command Chapter MasterMaster of the KeepMaster of SanctityChief LibrarianMaster of the ApothecarionMaster of the ForgeMaster of the WatchMaster of the FleetMaster of the ArsenalMaster of the MarchesMaster of the RitesMaster of RelicsChief VictuallerLord ExecutionerMaster of RecruitsMaster of ReconnaissanceMaster of the SignalChapter AncientPrimaris AncientChapter ChampionHonour Guard
Company Command Command SquadReclusiam Command SquadCaptainPrimaris CaptainLieutenantPrimaris LieutenantCompany AncientCompany Champion
Specialists Librarian (EpistolaryCodicierLexicaniumPrimaris LibrarianVanguard Librarian) • Chaplain (ReclusiarchPrimaris Chaplain) • Apothecary (Primaris ApothecaryHelix Adept) • Techmarine
Veteran Squads Veteran Marines (Sternguard VeteranVanguard Veteran) • Terminator SquadTerminator Assault Squad
Battleline Squads Tactical SquadIntercessor SquadInfiltrator Squad
Close Support Squads Assault SquadInceptor SquadReiver SquadIncursor SquadSuppressor SquadBike SquadCenturion Assault Squad
Fire Support Squads Aggressor SquadDevastator SquadHellblaster SquadEliminator SquadCenturion Devastator Squad
Neophyte Squads Scout SquadScout Bike Squad
Light Vehicles Assault BikeAttack BikeScout BikeLand Speeder (Land Speeder StormLand Speeder TempestLand Speeder TornadoLand Speeder TyphoonLand Speeder VengeanceLand Speeder ProteusDarkshroud)
Combat Walkers Dreadnought (Castraferrum DreadnoughtSiege DreadnoughtHellfire DreadnoughtIronclad DreadnoughtVenerable DreadnoughtMortis DreadnoughtChaplain DreadnoughtLibrarian DreadnoughtFurioso DreadnoughtDeath Company DreadnoughtRedemptor DreadnoughtWulfen DreadnoughtDoomglaive Dreadnought) • Nemesis DreadknightInvictor Tactical Warsuit
Armoured Personnel Carriers RhinoRazorbackDamocles Command RhinoRhino PrimarisRhino AdvancerImpulsor
Main Battle Tanks Predator Destructor (Predator AnnihilatorBaal Predator) • Land Raider (Land Raider PhobosLand Raider CrusaderLand Raider RedeemerLand Raider AchillesLand Raider PrometheusLand Raider Terminus UltraLand Raider AresLand Raider ExcelsiorLand Raider Wrath of MjalnarLand Raider Angel InfernusLand Raider Solemnus AggressorLand Raider Anvilarum) • Deimos Vindicator Laser DestroyerRepulsorRepulsor ExecutionerAstraeus
Artillery WhirlwindVindicatorStalkerHunterWhirlwind HyperiosLand Raider HeliosThunderfire Cannon
Aircraft StormtalonThunderhawkThunderhawk TransporterShadowhawkStormravenStorm EagleFire RaptorStormhawk InterceptorCaestus Assault RamDark TalonNephilim JetfighterStormfangStormwolfCorvus BlackstarOverlordDrop Pod
Rare or Retired Vehicles Contemptor Pattern DreadnoughtDeredeo Pattern DreadnoughtCerberus Heavy Tank DestroyerLeviathan DreadnoughtJavelin Attack SpeederJetbikeDeimos PredatorDeimos RhinoSabre Tank HunterLand Raider ProteusMark IIb Land Raider PhobosSicaran Battle TankSicaran VenatorSicaran Punisher Assault TankSicaran Arcus Strike TankSicaran Omega Tank DestroyerSpartan Assault TankTyphon Heavy Siege TankFellbladeFalchionMastodonDeimos Whirlwind ScorpiusXiphon Pattern InterceptorStormbirdKharybdis Assault Claw