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Assault cannon

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Space Marine Assault Cannon[3]

The assault cannon is a heavy, automatic anti-personnel weapon commonly used by Terminator armoured Space Marines.


Its most notable feature is its incredibly high rate of fire, easily eclipsing that of the autocannon it replaced. It is a medium-calibre rotary autocannon, with 6 barrels cycled by an electric motor past a single chamber.[Needs Citation]

The weapon was developed after the Horus Heresy as a replacement for the autocannon and Rotor Cannon, which had been a common heavy weapon on Terminator suits until then.[1] Introduced during the mark 3a phase of Terminator armour development, this weapon is the standard alternative to the heavy flamer as a squad's special weapon. Its design has changed little, retaining the distinctively long, cylindrical, rotating barrels.[Needs Citation]

Although it lacks the range of the autocannon and many other heavy weapons, the assault cannon is a fearsome weapon when used in the close range role it was designed for. The weapon is prone to overheating and jams due to its high rate of fire - the number of rounds fired per second are counted in the hundreds. The barrels and other firing components are made of a heat-dispersing ceramic/metallic alloy, helping the weapon to withstand the intense heat generated by its high rate of fire. Despite this, the barrels still reach temperatures of over 300°. Due to the high rate of wear on the barrels, the barrels are replaced after every mission. Motor and barrel failure are common problems with the assault cannon, making the weapon prone to jamming during sustained bursts. The weight and complexity of the mechanism, and the heavy recoil generated means that the assault cannon requires a stable firing platform. The weapon is not considered man portable, however the powerful servos, recoil compensators and stabilizers built into Terminator armour allows the elite Astartes Terminator squads to carry the weapon into battle. The assault cannon is well suited to the battlefield role of Terminator squads, providing a massive rate of fire which often compensates for the enemies' vast superiority in numbers. In confined environments providing long corridors of fire, such as space hulks and hive worlds, the assault cannon is invaluable.[Needs Citation]

The high rate of fire makes the assault cannon unsuitable for extended engagements when used by Terminators, as the ammunition carried is quickly exhausted. This drawback is negated in vehicle and Dreadnought mountings, where ammunition storage capacity is far greater. The standard ammunition fired is a cased round, comprising a dense metallic core covered in a non-metallic composite sheath with a diamantine tip. This provides excellent penetration capabilities against light and personal armour.[Needs Citation]

It has long been reported by the Astartes that the assault cannon's massive rate of fire can allow it to chew through armour that would normally be impenetrable to a weapon of its calibre. Extensive testing by the Adeptus Mechanicus supported this observation, and Astartes targeting doctrines have been officially amended to recognize this attribute. The logistic shortcomings of the assault cannon are far outweighed by its destructiveness in combat and its effect on enemy morale.[Needs Citation]

Known Patterns


An Ultramarines Land Speeder with an assault cannon.



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