The Shark Assault Boat (top) is the Imperial Navy’s standard Assault Boat. Typically 55 metres in length the Shark consists primarily of a large engine and an armoured troop compartment that is studded with magnetic clamps and Melta Charges. When the Shark reaches an enemy ship, the clamps latch on to the enemy hull as the charges, in concert with las-breachers, blast a hole through which assault troops can storm the vessel. Consequently, nearly all patterns of the Shark carry only defensive weapons with most of the space within the hull dedicated to armour, engines, or carrying capacity. Tactically, Sharks are often accompanied by fighters to help the assault craft breach an enemy vessel’s defences. To enable this tactic, the assault boats typically have engines capable of matching a starfighter’s acceleration, although they are harder to maneuver. Sharks are never seen on anything smaller than a Battleship-sized carrier, and even then only at significant cost.
Starhawk bombers (bottom) are larger, slower craft, designed to carry a heavy payload of plasma bombs and armour-piercing missiles, for use against enemy capital ships. Crewed by a pilot, co-pilot, tech-priest (plus acolytes), various turret gunners and a logistics officer, a standard Starhawk features limited sleeping quarters, chemical toilets and even an automated medical unit inside its hull. Armed with a multitude of short-range turret-mounted defence weapons, used to fend off enemy starfighters, a lone Starhawk can wreak havoc among enemy fighter squadrons before swooping in to deliver a crippling missile strike on an enemy capital ship. On rare occasions, Starhawks can be modified to carry and launch a very small number of anti-starship torpedoes.