The Thunderhawk gunship is used by the Imperialist Alliance and the Alliance of Nations as their primary means of deploying forces during combat as well as their primary source of air support. The Thunderhawk gunship is often considered the lynchpin of any Space Marine Chapter, as it is able to fulfill many combat roles. The Thunderhawk is fully capable of functioning as an orbital drop ship, a heavy ground attack gunship, or as a bomber. The aircraft is able to quickly carry Space Marine forces from orbiting starships down into the midst of a battle, while at the same time providing supporting fire against enemy ground or air targets. Even though the Thunderhawk is a large vehicle, it is controlled with a relatively small crew, which includes the pilot, co-pilot, gunner, and navigator.