The Marauder Bomber is the Imperial Navy's primary atmospheric heavy bomber. When a target is too small or too defended to destroy from orbit, but too far behind enemy lines to be reached by infantry or artillery, the Marauders get called in. Like other Imperial Navy aircraft, they can make an attack from an orbiting mother-ship, or from ground-based airstrips if space is too dangerous or the campaign starts to run long. They can deploy in support of infantry, but are most often turned loose into enemy territory to bomb whatever targets they happen to find there.
In appearance, the Marauder is basically every World War II bomber, but IN SPACE; it mounts a twin lascannon turret in the nose and twin heavy bolters in the dorsal and rear turrets for self-defense. Its four massive engines and fuel tanks give it intercontinental range, and it's so big that it's a Lord of War super-heavy flyer.
For 360 points the Marauder Bomber brings a somewhat lackluster choice of 3x 12d6 4+ mortal wounds, or 3x 10d6 3+ mortal wounds for its bombing run on top of its complement of defensive armaments.
The Imperial Navy developed the Destroyer variant of the Marauder during the Second War for Armageddon, as the Orks' air superiority meant that missions could only be flown at night and close to the ground. The twin-linked lascannons in the nose were replaced with six autocannons and an advanced ground-targeting system, the tail turret was equipped with two assault cannons instead of heavy bolters, and the bomb payload was reduced in order to gain the capacity to carry eight missiles. Though it lacked the payload to be a proper strategic bomber, the Marauder Destroyer was successful on Armageddon and elsewhere since then as a close air support bomber. It was so successful, in fact, that fluff says it is currently the Imperial Navy's primary bomber. So, basically, this variant of the vanilla Marauder has outstripped its parent design.
On the table these are yet another high performance all rounder available to modern Imperial Guard. A Marauder Destroyer can shoot no less than 13 different targets every single turn, with a good chance of severely wounding at least half of them with every weapon having at least AP 1. When focusing on a single target, the MD is a legitimate threat to Knights, Greater Demons and even Warhound titans with its infinite supply of S8 AP2 2d6 picking the highest Damage missiles. It will also sweep fairly tough infantry with 12 autocannon shots and its one shot bomb cluster causing up to 12 mortal wounds on a 4+. It's not too shabby in regards to its survivability with the standard vehicle profile ( T7, 3+ save) with a healthy 20 wounds and a permanent -1 to hit for anything shooting at it without dedicated anti air weapons. The only drawback is its lacklustre bs 4+ which goes down sharply as it takes damage.
Only produced for Forge World's Aeronautica Imperialis game, the Marauder Vigilant is a command and control aircraft that replaces the dorsal turret and bomb bay with advanced surveillance and control systems while also switching the lascannons with heavy bolters. As a more specialized plane outfitted with relatively expensive equipment, the Marauder Vigilant is an uncommon variant of the Marauder Bomber and is specialized to perform high altitude strategic surveillance of enemy positions, movements, bases, and other targets.
The aircraft like all Marauder varieties is usually based on an orbiting starship, and can operate in the vacuum of space as well as in a planet's atmosphere. During a prolonged Imperial campaign, Imperial Navy airbases can be established on the ground, yet due to the Marauder's extreme range they are normally based safely behind the front, sometimes even on another continent from the frontlines. During ground assault missions, the Marauder Vigilant will send coordinates and pic-captures of enemy bases and other targets to the campaign's commanders, allowing the Imperial Navy's bomber wings to strike with greater accuracy or Imperial Guard regiments to develop new strategies to counter enemy movements or to plan attacks on enemy bases and other strategic installations.
Whilst originally not meant to fight enemy aircraft or units, some select experienced Marauder pilots (Aka, those Jackasses who watched way too many Top Gun on a repeated session) would try to accompany the ground forces to better coordinate these follow-on air strikes for their fellow flyers.
Another Aeronautica Imperialis-only variant, the Marauder Colossus loses the dorsal turret to accommodate one massive Colossus bunker-busting melta bomb. The Marauder Colossus is yet another uncommon variant of the Marauder Bomber and is specialized to perform high altitude strategic bombings of heavily fortified enemy positions and fortified structures such as bunkers and more extensive subterranean facilities. Essentially, when there is one particular bunker that proved too much of a pain in the ass for an Imperial Commander, he/she would be the one who would call in the Marauder Colossus to erase that bunker to kingdom come. Like the Deathstrike Missile Launcher, it only fires once. But the moment it fires, every enemy of man must watch out for this can of whoop-ass!
Seriously, this bomb it carries is so ridiculous that some has considered it as a mini-Cyclonic Torpedo as the bomb is heavy enough (Read: 10 tons of explosive goodness) that it could turn a Baneblade inside out and even tear a Titan a new asshole.
During a prolonged Imperial campaign, Imperial Navy airbases can be established on the ground, yet due to the Marauder's extreme range these aircraft are normally based safely behind the front, sometimes even on another continent from the frontlines. During ground assault missions, Imperial Guard forces will mark the enemy's positions with colored flares, allowing the Imperial Navy's bomber wings to strike with even greater accuracy.