The Marauder Bomber is a military jet aircraft in use by Khalite, a design imported from another nation.
Chassis: Marauder Bomber Crew: Pilot, Navigator, Bombardier, Nose Gunner, Tail Gunner, Turret Gunner Powerplant: 4 x J79-CS Afterburning Ramjet Weight: 41 Metric Tons empty Length: 19.2m Wingspan: 24.6m Height: 4.8m with landing gear down Max Speed: 1,800kph Operational Ceiling: 41,000 Meters with jet engines Operational Range: 15,000 kilometers Main Armament: 2 x nose turret Autocannons, 2 x rear turret Heavy Bolters, 2 x dorsal turret Heavy Bolters Secondary Armament: 6,000 pound external payload, 6,000 pound internal payload Main Ammunition: 5,000 rounds Secondary Ammunition: various bombs
Marauder Bombers, with their long range and good maximum payload for their size, are the workhorses of the Rocket Force. They are often based on orbiting spacecraft or, if in a prolonged campaign, on naval airbases established on the ground. Thanks to their capacious fuel tanks and powerful engines, these bases are located far from the frontline, even on another continent.
While capable of fulfilling a variety of roles, they are often used for one of three mission types:
- Strategic bombing: long-range attacks on enemy cities and institutions while operating at high altitudes beyond most anti-aircraft weapons ranges and with Thunderbolt escort. While successful in this role, the Marauder is considered to have too small of a payload to be a truly effective strategic bomber.
- Free range interdiction: squadrons seek targets of opportunity such as supply dumps and convoys, which have been identified by aerial or orbital reconnaissance, before ex-filtrating under cover from friendly fighters. While these missions are not performed in concert with ground troops, they are seen as the most effective use of Marauder bombers.
- Dedicated ground attack and support: Very close assistance of friendly ground forces by engaging specific targets on the front lines. These are seen as the riskiest type of mission, as the bombers must fly at very low altitudes and risk friendly fire. Though adequate, the Marauder is considered to lack the appropriate weaponry for a dedicated ground attack role.
Close support missions have the added difficulty of identifying targets in a constantly-changing battlefield situation, which Khalite commanders solve in a variety of ways. Some regiments use previously-assigned visual markers, such as weapons fire or colored smoke, to designate enemy targets. Others incorporate forward air controllers to guide aircraft onto the targets. These KAF personnel, often experienced pilots themselves, will ride in communications vehicles that allow them to talk directly to the pilots overhead. A third method involves a coordinated withdrawal of ground forces prior to an air strike, decreasing the chance of any friendly fire. This is however a dangerous tactic as it requires disengaging from the enemy.