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The Imperial Navy is one of the armed forces employed by the Imperium.

While the Imperial Guard is responsible for the Imperium's ground forces, The Imperial Navy is responsible for the fleets of warships that soar between the stars and planets in the Imperium as well as engaging threats both inside and outside the Imperium's borders.

The Imperial Navy is split into an infinite amount of war fleets. These fleets generally have the task of safeguarding the sector after which they are named, for example Battlefleet Gothic will be protecting the Gothic Sector. The total number of ships they possess are astronomical, with almost 300 trillions in Port Maw alone. .

The fleets are usually made three distinct types of ships: battleships, cruisers and escorts though several reports have it that far more powerful variants of moon or planet sized drednoughts, warbastions, and star forts exist in huge secret fleet reserves or at notable fleets like Battlefleet Terra or exterminatus fleets.

Battleships are huge ships, with enormous amounts of weapons and shields, and are usually the command position for the Admiral of the Fleet. Although very powerful, battleships are slow and ponderous. These form the heart of most Imperial Battle Fleets.

The main firepower of a fleet will be in its complement of cruisers. Though not as powerful as a battleship, cruisers are faster and can hit hard when working in teams. There are several different types of cruiser, including those that are specialized towards destroying heavily armoured targets, and those that have large fighter bays along their sides.

Escort ships are the smallest type of ship in the Imperial Navy star fleets and comprise the numerical majority of the Imperial Navy. They can usually be seen traveling in squadrons of 3 to 6, larger squadrons are rare. The main task of the escort ships is to strike hard and fast at specific points of the enemy armadas and to support the larger capital ships by protecting their flanks or providing additional firepower.

Aircraft Edit

The Imperial Navy is also responsible for providing air support to Imperial Guard ground forces. In this aspect, the Imperial Navy can deploy a number of different aircraft.

The Lightning is a small and maneuverable one-man fighter with two centerline turbines, deployed as an interceptor or as a tank destroyer.

The Thunderbolt is a larger, heavier one-man fighter powered by two turbines at the base of the wings, deployed as a ground-attack and air superiority fighter.

The Marauder is a massive bomber with a crew of eight, it is armed with a small selection of air-to-air weapons for defense and a large payload of bombs for ground attack.

The Marauder Destroyer is a variant of the Marauder developed for fighting Orks on Armageddon; it sacrifices the older vehicle's heavy bomb payload for a massive arsenal of air-to-ground missiles and autocannons.

The Vulture is a flying gun platform, a two-man VTOL aircraft designed for ground attacks at low altitudes.

The Valkyrie is a larger low-altitude transport made for rapid insertions and evacuations, with enough weapons to clear a landing zone or hold off enemies while troops board.

Spacecraft Edit

Battleship Edit

Battleships are huge ships, with colossal amounts of weapons and shields, and usually serve as the flagship for the Admiral of the Fleet, though this is not always necessarily the case. Although very powerful, battleships are very slow, hard to maneuver and cannot react quickly to enemies that rapidly change course. The two most often used classes are the Emperor (which can carry an immense amount of attack craft in addition to its normal, incredibly powerful weaponry) and the Retribution (which is noted for its powerful broadside firepower and its very large amount of torpedo tubes). There are other rarer Battleships, such as the older Apocalypse and Oberon classes. Other Segmentae battlefleets may rely on yet other classes, but the Emperor and more recent Retribution are by far the most common in the Imperial Navy. Imperial battleships are considered by most sources to have crews of between 25,000 to a million, including large numbers of Imperial Navy armsmen to defend against enemy boarding assaults. Battleships can be up to 8 kilometers from prow to stern a
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An Oberon class battleship with all guns blazing

nd displace billions of tons. Because they represent such a vast expenditure of resources and require a fairly advanced technical base, these are typically constructed only in the largest shipyards above the major Adeptus Mechanicus forge worlds. These vessels are precious assets and are carefully husbanded, usually employed in only larger fleet formations and screened by dedicated escort squadrons.

Grand Cruiser Edit

Grand cruisers are significantly smaller than battleships, yet distinctly larger than cruisers. These vessels are usually very old in design and do not incorporate many of the features that are typical in current Imperial Navy vessels, like the armoured prow, and are not entirely compatible with current navy tactical doctrine. Due to this, many are retired from active duty, but are still used by reserve fleets. The Avenger, with its powerful broadside firepower, is one such example. There are also some modernized versions of grand cruisers in service, but since these are much larger and more heavily-armed than their predecessors, they are more often classed as battleships. These kinds of vessels are usually purpose-built or modified from battlecruiser hulls and are not commonly encountered in the Imperial Navy.

Cruiser Edit

Cruisers make up the majority of a fleet. Though not as powerful as a battleship, cruisers are much faster and can still deliver a deadly blow. There are multiple classes of cruiser, most based on the same general hull design but incorporating different combinations of broadside batteries, lance turrets and starfighter hangars. Examples include the all-round, ubiquitous Lunar-class, the Gothic with its powerful lances and the Dictator attack craft carrier. Cruisers can carry a crew complement of anywhere between 1000 and 100,000 and (including Imperial Navy armsmen and military police squads), depending on sources. While cruisers are still particularly complex, it is not uncommon for them to be constructed on smaller forge worlds or any civilized world that has a shipyard suitable for constructing vessels of their size. Of particular note was the Lunar cruiser Lord Daros, constructed in orbit above the feral world of Unloth in eleven years by relying on the forced labor of most of that planet’s population for materials.

A note on Imperial ship classes – while naval warships can be defined along a fairly limited number of classes based on weapon configurations approved by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the form these vessels takes varies widely throughout the Imperium. For example, a Lunar cruiser constructed above Cypra Mundi in Segmentum Obscuras may bear little resemblance to a Lunar cruiser constructed above Kar Durniash in Ultima Segmentum and even less so to a Lunar constructed among the vast shipyards of Mars. Nonetheless, they will all have roughly the same operating characteristics and weapon configuration, and thus can be easily serviced by any orbital facility throughout Imperial space.

Note there are also classes of battlecruisers. Although based on a hull-design that is similar to the regular cruisers, these ships are generally somewhat larger and more heavily armed, incorporating more advanced power distribution systems capable of supporting battleship-grade weaponry in a cruiser hull. A notable example is the Mars-class battlecruiser, with its fighter bays, broadside batteries, dorsal lance turrets and an immense, prow-mounted Nova Cannon capable of attacking targets at extremely long range.

A subset of the cruiser category are the light cruisers. These ships fall in size between cruisers and escorts, mixing the firepower and durability of the former with the speed and manoeuvrability of the latter. The Dauntless is a very common light cruiser class in the Imperial Navy. Extremely self-sufficient, it is fast and has enough firepower to be a threat to both escorts and capital ships. There are o
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A Dauntless class light cruiser. Only marginally larger than an escort, but it's lance batteries pack a punch

ther classes in common use in the Imperial Navy, most notably the Endeavour class, which serves in varied forms and hull types throughout the Imperium. Light cruisers are a fairly common ship class, for they are relatively simple to construct for being a capital ship, and they are uniquely suited for reconnaissance patrols and for making a presence where their speed and maneuverability are an advantage, and where having a larger number of smaller hulls allows the Navy to monitor a wider area of space.

Ironclad Edit

Ironclads, much like their contemporary counterparts, are vast 15 kilometre vessels which lack the void shielding of their counterparts in favour of dozens of meters adamantium plate armour. These ships, built before the advent of void-sheild technology, have since been phased out of production, for the main part, to be replaced by more modern designs. However, those remaining in service have been recommissioned for a variety of purposes; various pattern ironclads may be retrofitted with gargantuan, ship-, station- and even planet-killer cannon running the entire length of the ship's keel, linked directly to the stern fusion reactors; others may simply be braced and reinforced for the purpose of ramming into - and through - enemy vessels. These ships are rare in the Imperial Navy, due to their archaic design and the lack of facilities still capable of repairing, let alone producing them.

Escort ship Edit

Escort ships are the smallest type of ship in the Imperial Navy fleets, found in two distinct sub-classes. The larger of the two are frigates, which are better armed and more heavily armoured. Destroyers are generally smaller, but they are by far the fastest and most maneuverable interstellar warships employed by the Imperial Navy. They are usually organised in squadrons of 2 to 6 vessels and will always operate as a group. The main task of the escort ships is to serve as a screen for capital ships against enemy torpedoes and attack crafts so that they can get into position more quickly and safely. They are also employed behind the gun line to finish off enemy cruisers that have been damaged so that the larger vessels can concentrate on the most important threats in an enemy formation. Most escort classes specialise in a certain role, such as the Cobra-class torpedo boat destroyers or the Firestorm-class frigate with its armour-piercing prow-mounted Lance. Escort ships are normally not more than 1.5 kilometres in length, with destroyers generally being only 750 metres from prow to stern.

Imperial Shipyards Edit

The Imperial Navy is made up of billions of different ship designs, although they are squeezed into three categories. Each category has a number of ship designs that verge on the line between the categories.

Sources Edit

  • Aeronautica Imperialis
  • Battlefleet Gothic Annual (2002)
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada (2003)
  • Battlefleet Gothic Revised (2010)
  • Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG)
  • Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG)
  • Rogue Trader: Epoch Koronus (RPG)
  • Rogue Trader: Hostile Acquisition (RPG)
  • Rogue Trader: Lure of the Expanse (RPG)
  • Battlefleet Gothic Magazine
  • Battlefleet Gothic (Comic), "Battlefleet Gothic," Art by Colin MacNeil
  • Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook (Blue Book), pp. 92-103, 158-159
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 116-117
  • Warpstorm (Rulebook), "Incident at Stranivar" (Short Story)
  • White Dwarf 242 (UK), "Wolf Pack" (Short Story)
  • Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 180-181
  • Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), p. 124
  • White Dwarf 231 (US), "Battlefleet Gothic Preview," pp. 29-35
  • White Dwarf 225 (US), "Chambers of the Horned Rat: Spaceship Battles (BFG Development)," "Cardstock Ships: Inserts," pp. 40-48
  • White Dwarf 146 (US), "Space Fleet: Tyranid Hive Fleets," pp. 10-27
  • White Dwarf 141 (US), "Space Fleet: Spaceships, Flagships & Scenario System," pp. 50-72
  • White Dwarf 140 (US), "Space Fleet: Additional Background, Rules, Data Cards & Counters," pp. 46-75
  • White Dwarf 139 (US), "Space Fleet: Rules Expansion," pp. 8-36
  • Double Eagle (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Eye of Terror (Novel) by Barrington J. Bayley:
  • Execution Hour (Novel) by Gordon Rennie
  • First and Only (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Relentless (Novel) by Richard Williams
  • Shadow Point (Novel) by Gordon Rennie

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