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Warhammer 40K: Cadillac of the Skies – the Imperial Thunderbolt

3 Minute Read
Sep 10 2020

Today pilots, we learn of the rugged workhorse fighter of the Imperial Navy – the Thunderbolt.

The Thunderbolt heavy fighter is the workhorse of the Imperial Navy. A rugged and reliable design, with good firepower and maneuverability, the Thunderbolt has been in service for centuries and remains well-liked by its crews.

Tactical Role

The Thunderbolt primarily serves as an air superiority fighter, given the task of hunting down enemy bombers or engaging enemy fighters in order to establish air superiority over the battlefield. However one of the chief advantages of the design is its versatility, allowing it to fulfill other types of missions. Thunderbolt fighters frequently serve as high altitude escort fighters for flights of Marauder Bombers. They can also be adapted to serve as low level fighter-bombers, night fighters and reconnaissance aircraft. Typically, Imperial Navy Thunderbolt Wings operate thirty aircraft.

Aircraft Design

The Thunderbolt is a tough aircraft to destroy, built around an armoured superstructure and cockpit. Twin F122v afterburning turbofans gives the Thunderbolt a good top speed in atmospheric flight, while a rocket booster engine allows it to operate in the vacuum of space and for fast take-offs when mounted on ground-based hydraulic ramps. The Thunderbolt should not be confused with a true “star-fighter” like the Fury Interceptor though, as its space capabilities are used primarily when deploying from an orbiting spacecraft into the atmosphere or likewise returning.

Sample ace personal livery.

Quad nose-mounted Autocannons serve as the primary dogfighting and anti-infantry weapons, while a pair of twin-linkedLascannons are normally used to engage enemy ground vehicles. Four pylons, two mounted underneath each wing, allow the fighter to carry up to four extra fuel tanks, Bombs, Hellstrike Missiles or, more rarely, air-to-air missiles. It can also mount additional equipment.


Technical Specifications
Type Multi-role Heavy Fighter Operational Ceiling 39,000m, with jet engines
Vehicle Name Thunderbolt Max Speed 2200kph
Forge World of Origin Cypra-Mundi Range 12,000km in atmosphere
Known Patterns I-XXI Main Armament 2x nose-mounted Lascannons
4x nose-mounted Autocannons
Crew Pilot Secondary Armament 4x Hellstrike Missiles or 4x bombs
Powerplant 2x F122v Afterburning Turbofans Main Ammunition 30 shots from battery packs
Weight 14 tonnes empty Secondary Ammunition 400 rounds
Length 14.2m Armour
Wingspan 16.06m Superstructure 45mm
Height 3.5m with landing gear down Hull 45mm


Thunderbolt Fury

The Thunderbolt Fury is one of the most common variants of the standard Thunderbolt fighter. This variant replaces the fighters Autocannons with a pair of twin-linked Avenger Bolt Cannons. The combination of mass-reactive Bolt shells and the high rate of fire makes for a dogfighting aircraft of punishing repute. Many squadrons see a Fury or two amongst their ranks, though few consist of Furies alone as they are known to eat through ammunition at an astonishing rate.

Learn More of Imperial Aircraft



~ More aircraft of the Imperium in the days ahead pilots. Dismissed.

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