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I'm wondering if anybody has theories on how the Thunderhawk Transporter carries its cargo through the atmosphere without it being incinerated... I mean I know Land Raiders are tough but I somehow doubt they could deal with being hurled through the atmosphere unprotected... Let alone Rhinos!
The armour and vehicles of space marines are made with layers of different material to give decent protection against different things. Ceramite is a high tech ceramic material which is extremely resistant to heat, way beyond any equivallent we might be able to produce today.
If they can operate on the bottom of an ocean of corrosive chemicals, I'm pretty sure they can survive the head of reentry. Though I must admit, I don't think GW has ever thought of that one..
Also, do thunderhawks have void shields? If they do.. it seems likely those might protect the cargo as well.
I know they're supposed to be made of incredibly hard stuff, but a rhino can easily be taken out by an autocannon, I can't imagine it getting through Emperor knows how much superheated air without being turned into slag
I agree wit the above post, I picture Ceramite to be more fire resistant than the material we use on our space shuttles to deflect heat, and maybe they drop into atmosphere at a much slower speed than we are able to do now, without the need for all the heat shielding.
If you think about it Drop Pods were built for slamming a unit of marines, or dreadnaught, or weapon pod into the planet for quick invasion tactics, while the thunderhawks are more like helicopter haulers for the support gear.
ceramite tiles are meant for heat, not protection. So one can assume that its a fine mixture of both, causing it to be durable, yet vulnerable to ARMOUR piercing rounds. An autocannon might not be so weak as you might think.
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Also, just because something is heat resistant doesn't mean it's terribly good with kinetic damage.. Ceramite might be hugely good as a heat damper, but maybe it's really brittle and shatters when struck. We just don't know.
Autocannons may look like the kind of light rapid fire cannons we have today, but who knows what the rounds are made of..
what if it is really good UNTIL it is brought into atmosphere... and the heat of entering atmo makes it brittle?
Ceramite is probably like the fire retardant stuff on spacecraft today, just better designed. As it heats up, it dries and becomes brittle and then shatters and breaks of when the rhino lands. The rhino probably doesn't just smash into the surface but has some reverse thrusters or the suchlike to stop it getting damaged.
Also, the rhino is as weak fluff wise as it is in the game. Fluff wise, a rhino is twice the size as the model is compared to a marine because logicaly it would have to be to fit a tactical squad in it.
Autocannons chew through armough because they use AP bullets with a higher callibre than tank rounds today. A bolter alone fires .75 callibre HE rounds with nuclear cores that blow a hole 2ft in diametre in a IG standard trooper.
PS If you want a fluff correct army try out movie marines. They were in a white dwarf once and cost roughly 150-200pts per model and are nigh invincible.
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Has anyone seen the show on the winning entry for a privately made spaceship? The contest went on for about ten years I guess, offering a prize to anyone capable of making a vessel that could carry a man into space, return to earth, and be ready to fly again in less than 2 weeks. The prize was one a year or two ago. Obviously the sponsors wish to buy the design and begin commercial space flights.
The winning craft was made of fabric. A special fabric, stiffened until it was like fiberglas mind you, but it was fabric. They worried about heat upon reentry until they discovered that the craft's shape, and a different angle in decent made heat-shielding unneccesary. Only entering like a meteor does a craft require heat-shielding. Leave it to the public to do something better than NASA.
So, It might be that heat isn't even a problem if entry is done correctly. Now, seeing as how the Imperium is stuck circa 1945 in their war technology in numerous ways, I wouldn't trust them to have figured this out.
Since massive flares of superheated air upon reentry is a much cooler visual, I would just say that the ceramite does the trick and not worry about it any further unless you are in desperate need of spelling it out.
And I have to agree with the Mantis when he said - "Though I must admit, I don't think GW has ever thought of that one.."
Thunderhawks have void shields. They're intrasystem capable; they can fight in or outside an atmosphere, which means they need some kind of barrier in order to do so.
Since they're literally the cream of the Imperium's fighter ship crop, and so heavily armed and armoured that they could take a squadron of lesser interceptors solo and win, I think I'm fairly safe in saying that whatever the hell they're made of is tough enough to survive repeated re-entry over and over and over. Not just ceramite. Those guys are pure adamantium, and they make battleships out of adamantium.
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