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The Thunderbolt heavy fighter is one of the three main types of fighter aircraft employed by the Imperial Navy.
Like the Lightning strike fighter it is an intra-atmosphere craft though primarily designed as an atmospheric fightercraft, rather than a starfighter like the Fury interceptor.
The Imperium typically employs Thunderbolts as air superiority/strike fighters and Lightnings as reconnaissance aircraft, interceptors, and escort fighters. As an air superiority craft the Thunderbolt is better armed and armoured than the Lightning with two nose mounted twin-linked Autocannon and a twin-linked Lascannon as well as the option to carry either four Hellstrike Missiles or four Bombs, but it has a slower top speed. It is also equipped with vector-thrust engine for an enhanced maneuverability and STOL/VTOL capability.
The Thunderbolt's production patterns are present on most Imperial industrial worlds. Unusually for the heavily disorganized Imperium of Man the design is universally standardized, without the vast proliferation of slightly divergent variants and patterns common throughout much of the Imperium's technological base and the undoubtedly nightmarish logistical complications they entail.
The Thunderbolt is a very reliable machine, with individual aircraft commonly remaining in service for more than a century.
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