"Your logic and... perseverance... are compelling. Request granted. Archaeocopter deployment approved."
- – Magos Dominus Bartolomus finally accepting the skitarii's requests for flyers after long negotiations
The Archaeopter is the first exclusive Adeptus Mechanicus flyer in 8th Ed. From what we know, it comes in transport, gunship and bomber varieties, though more info will be released in the future. Design-wise it, like the overwhelming majority of Imperial aircraft, appears to be a real-world helicopter airframe that's exchanged its rotors for wings, albeit this time around the wings are a bit... unconventional.
It is considered as the workhorse of the Mechanicum, the aircraft has been at the forefront of Tech-Priest expansion for millennia. The aircraft is an agile, fixed-wing aircraft. Piloted by a Pteraxii whose legs and scapuli superior are hardwired into its controls, the nano-carbon fibre-weave of the Archaeopter's wings is capable of morphing - a property it shares with Pteraxii flight packs. This affords great manoeuvrability and enables it to operate within changing pressures.
Its ornithopter design is quite unique in the Imperium of Man in comparison to many of the boxy designs of flyers of the Space Marines or the Guard. Its appearance suggests yet another Dune reference in 40k, while its name is a combination of Archaeotech/Archaeopteryx and Ornithopter.
The vanilla variant of the family that is nothing more than a ground attack aircraft. It is armed with 2x Cognis Heavy Stubbers, 2x Phosphor Blasters, and supposedly a Twin-Linked Lascannon hanging off the back. It is essentially the gunship of the Archaeopters.
The Archaeopter Stratoraptor can also be upgraded with chaff launchers to thwart incoming enemy fire. If you're after a dogfighter to clear the skies of enemy aircraft or some aerial fire support against ground targets, look no further than the Archaeopter Stratoraptor. It is possibly, the closest thing the Imperium would get to an attack helicopter analogue
Ha ha! That means I could sexually identify as an Archaeopter! *BLAM*, anyways, the Stratorapter is a support unit first and foremost and is by far, the most adaptable and flexible birb of the lot.
Crunchwise, it pretty much behaves like the fluff. This thing is your attack helicopter. Your Cognis Heavy Stubbers are complemented by two Heavy Phosphor Blasters and a Twin Cognis Lascannon. Indeed, the weapons are all made to wipe the floor with any priority targets in comparison to the Fusilave's carpet bombing. You'll certainly want the Chaff Launchers on this since you are bristling with a lot of guns. Alternate take this is the best allrounder flyer as it is not dependent on your opponent's list like the Fusilave.
As taking the command uplink allows access to the strat that turns off auras which seems strong in certain matchups. Consider that this strat works on units while they are within 6", so if the plane goes down your CP's are wasted, but it is only 1 CP so it may be worth it as a fire magnet albeit a flimsy one. However, one downside when it goes outside of 'hover' mode is that it always fire at -1 BS, because it lacks any rule that will allow it to move and fire without penalty. The ways to mitigate this is the base codex stratagem for ignore movement penalties (1CP), the new stratagem for +1 to hit rolls against non-FLY enemy units (1CP), or the Mars specific canticle. With 9th Edition coming, this maybe fixed due to the removal of hit penalties for vehicles using Heavy weapons.
The bomber variant of the family, has a circular rack of bombs mounted in the ass, which means that the Fusilave shares the same design philosophy as the Swooping Hawks and the Skystalkers. It's just like a metal pigeon, just with more explosives.
The Archaeopter Fusilave is armed with no fewer than four Cognis Heavy Stubbers as well as the aforementioned bomb rack of Tectomagnic Munitions which it can drop on enemy ground forces from above. Archaeopter Fusilaves are great options for countering enemy assaults, blunting their advances with bombing runs that are equally destructive and disruptive. In contrast to the Stratoraptor, which can target-lock specific or very important targets, the Fusilave is based more on dealing with entire horde armies via a well-saturated carpet bomb. As such, this makes the Fusilave only viable when in 'fly' mode as making your bomber in 'hover' mode would just turn it into a bullet magnet.
Tabletop wise, it is what you expect. Your guns are improved negligibly to four separate Cognis Heavy Stubbers, but you also get the bombs. Every turn after moving, you get to roll up to 10d6 worth of dice on any enemy units you flew over (with monsters and vehicles acting as 3d6), with every 4+ resulting in a mortal wound. It is actually much more of a support and board control unit than a pure damage dealer platform. It will allow you to control enemy movement, deal a few mortal wounds here and there, and later if that thing does survive, grab an objective in hover mode.
One good advantage about the tectomagnic munitions is that, unlike traditional bombs of other factions, this thing isn't a one-use pony and have a nifty trick to halve enemy mobility with a stratagem. You can choose an enemy squad that is closing with your shooting units and it likely won't charge, while you shoot them with impunity. The bomb itself will deal solid 5 Mortal Wounds to a unit of monstrous creatures like Necron Wraiths. Target of stratagem and target of bombs may not be the same, you just have to fly over. Maximum effect of stratagem will be on fast land targets, like bikes, dragoons, rhinos, all land transports, daemon engines, large squads of advancing infantry like ork mobs.
Troop transport used for Explorator duties. Transports up to 6 Secutarii, Electro Priest, Tech Priest or Skitarii kiddies into a combat zones, so for all intents and purposes, it's a flying Chimera, a Flymera if you would.
Comes armed with two Cognis Heavy Stubbers and a twin-linked Cognis Heavy Stubber with which it can lay down covering fire and not much else. The Archaeopter Transvector can also be upgraded with Chaff Launchers to thwart incoming enemy fire. Its speed, agility and the freedom of the skies grant the Archaeopter Transvector a pretty good advantage in quickly flying over and dropping off its load, before flapping away to safety. Due to its wings, it is not as fast as other conventional Imperial VTOL carriers like the Valkyries, but it is far more maneuvrable as a result. This probably makes it a superior troop transport in extremely rough terrain such as mountain cliffs or canyons, places where the need for a flexible wing design is apparent.
Crunchwise, this is obviously the transport option, though its capacity of 6 Skitarii, Secutarii, Techpriest or Electropriest models is weak when compared to the Skorpius Dunerider especially when it comes to cost-per-unit capacity and overall toughness. Its armament is rather meagre with two Cognis Heavy Stubbers and a Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber.
These ones will absolutely benefit from Chaff Launchers, as it gives you a slightly better chance at withstanding the anti-aircraft fire so you can drop your pack. The Command Uplink would also see use as you'll already have this at the front lines. Note that secutarii are minimum units of 10 so good proofreading GW. Despite its overall fragility, it is the only transport flyer the Cogboys are gonna get so you might as well take it.