I'm curious how an orbital drop would function for a drop troops regiment. Specifically, in the case of a planetary invasion how would things play out. Mostly what confuses me is how the troopers air support (i.e. Valkyries and variants) get planetside. I can imagine that a drop ship could carry a company to a "reasonable" altitude and that they could then do a HALO jump off the rear ramp. They could even push there drop sentinels out of the craft and make sure to have some light armor support that way. How do Valkyries and potentially and Tauros assault vehicles get planetside though? Do the troops have to secure a landing zone where such equipment can be unloaded and (in the case of the aircraft) set up for atmospheric operations? Looking at the lexicanum page it doesn't look like Valkyries are capable of orbital flight but… maybe I'm missing something somewhere? Thoughts anyone?
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IIRC, the Valkyre (and its variants) has a very limited aerospace capacity. So the troopship enters low orbit, and the Valkyre/Vulture/Sky Talon can cover the rest.
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I had thought that was the case, but I see specific mentions on the page for thunderbolts and lightning saying they have a limited capacity to operate in space. I don't see anything like that on the Valyrie's page, though I do see a similar entry for the Valkyries abiility to operate in a hostile environment by using an onboard oxygen supply. It could simply be a mistake in the article though since I don't currently have access to the Imperial Armour entry for Valkyries.
use grav chutes, it is a jetpack like device that basically only provides enough thrust to slow down their fall. They are good for limited use and normally used by elysians to drop in from valkyries (going from low orbit would probably use more fuel then the thing can carry). I recently used them in test run for my next campaign and they work well.
I just looked up the Valkyrie entry in Imperial Armour Volume One. The relevant sentence is "The Valkyrie is an atmospheric aircraft and cannot operate in the vacuum of space, although it can be sealed against hostile environments." Maybe it can still drop from LEO? Or do you mean a carrier would get low enough to actually be hovering in the atmosphere? That would be… really really cool (although not really useful for covert drops I would think) but isn't particulary useful for the mission I'm planning since the regiment is acting as mercs for a Rogue Trader and are deploying from his Dauntless, not a carrier, which I doubt would be capable of those kind of operations.
The other side of this argument would be pointing out that the Dictator was originally used to support ground assaults as a sort of mobile airbase; but I think it would probably more be deploying fighters that escorted shuttles down to the surface. A thought though.
You might need an Argus Lighter or Aquila Lander if you intend to get in and out of the atmosphere at will.
The grav chutes used by drop infantry and their light vehicles cannot be used from immense heights, but are instead essentially a high tech parachute.
Ive not come across anything that says the imperial guard use dropships to deploy valkyries from, but ive come across plenty that says that aeronautica assets can be deployed from low orbit because of their rocket engines:
"Like the Lightning, the Thunderbolt is equipped with a Promethium-fueled rocket engine, maneuvering thrusters and an ablative ventral surface that provides it with a limited trans-atmospheric operations capability. However, this capability was provided only for transportation and deployment from an Imperial Navy starship into a planetary atmosphere and was not intended for space combat, which means the Thunderbolt is not a true starfighter, a role normally filled by the Fury space superiority fighter"
What this means is that a Navy vessel can show up in orbit and deploy aeronautica to the planets atmosphere to clear a landing zone for drop ships. Once these have landed and set up a forward base, valkyries and other assets can be deployed to then fly drop troops into location and then grav-chute them out.
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And to add something from a GW source:
"Valkyries are capable of atmospheric insertion, being launched from Imperial Navy carriers in low orbit. Such formations are at great risk from interception by enemy fighters during these operations, for the Valkyrie is much less manoeuvrable in space. As such, assault formations are often accompanied by Imperial Navy fighter squadrons in order to defend them against enemy fighters. Organisationally, most Valkyrie formations are part of the Imperial Navy and based on Naval assault carriers. They are called on to transport infantry regiments and rarely serve alongside a ground-based army beyond the scope of a single campaign."
If you are looking for an example of perfect teamplay between Valkyries and drop troops, you may also want to check out this strike force datasheet:
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The Shark assault boat listed in Rogue trader: Battlefleet Koronus carries 50 troops and operates in squadrons of eight for a total of 400 troops per trip to the surface. This is just about a company. An Orbital carrier with 2 launch bays configured with all assault boats (Somewhat unlikely but it works for concept!) could land 48 landers in a single sortie! This would land 2400 infantry on the ground in one wave! According to the Battlefleet gothic fluff this was the original purpose of the Dictator class cruiser but it was later fitted to use standard starfighters and bombers.
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Lunatas post is very good. The concept that Valkyries can descend from orbit is quite awesome but I imagine that the imperium prefere to set up a base of operations on the ground before making great drops
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I imagine it goes something like this:
A firebase is secured on the ground, either because there's already an Imperial presence or through a light orbital bombardment. Dropships and little cargo things like the Arvus Lighter ferry men and gear down to the surface; this could easily include Valkyries that have been disassembled. From this firebase, the Valkyries can take off to transport the troops to the battlefield.
There's a Valkyrie variant known as a Sky Talon that trades troop capacity for the ability to carry either a Tauros or two Drop Sentinels. I also think I read somewhere that there's a grav-chute equivalent for vehicles, but I might just be crazy.
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